Glossary of Triathlon Training Terms

Aerobic endurance

The ability of the heart and lungs, to work for a long period of time without tiring.

Aerobic exercise

Extended durations of training done at a low intensity


With oxygen


Without oxygen

Anaerobic exercise

Short durations of training done at high intensity

Aero bars

Bars that clip to handlebars of a bike enabling the rider to achieve an aerodynamic position

"off" a time

The start time of the next repetition

Active recovery

Recovering whilst moving at low intensity

Anaerobic threshold (AT)

The point lactic acid starts to accumulate in muscles

Back to back

One discipline straight after another


Training two or more disciplines after eachother


Measurement used to describe speed of revolution or cycle

Dismount line

The point from which a triathlete or duathlete dismounts their bike


Using the slipstream of another athlete

Dynamic stretches

Stretching whilst moving

Feed station

Area where competitors can take a drink


Varying speeds, distances and intensities.

Hitting the wall

The point where a competitor can no longer proceed due to insufficient energy


A distance of triathlon (3.8k swim, 180k bike, 42k run)

Interval training

Brief bouts of high intensity movement followed by low intensity recovery period

Lactate threshold

The highest intensity rate which you can sustain (up to 30 mins) without building lactic acid

Metabolic rate

The body's energy expenditure per unit of time

Mount line

The point from which a triathlete or duathlete mounts their bike

Muscular endurance

The ability of a muscle/s to work without tiring

Negative split

Speed or intensity increase


Personal best


Periods of training


Combination of strength and speed.


Training method that builds in duration, distance or intensity and then reduces again.


Revolutions per minute


A single movement

Race belt

An elastic band what clips round the waist to which a race number gets pinned


Registering a line of travel by looking at a particular point whilst swimming.


A series of repetitions


Cadence of a bike

Static recovery

Recovering whilst stationary

Static stretches

Stretching whilst stationary

Standard (or Olympic) distance

Describes a distance of triathlon (approx 1500m swim, 25 mile bike, 6 mile run)


A time given to a proportion of training or racing

Sprint distance

Describes a distance of triathlon (approx 400m swim, 15 mile bike, 3 mile run)


Speed or intensity increase by a set distance


Changing area between swim and bike legs


Changing area between bike and run legs

Transition area

A designated area used in a triathlon where transferal of disciplines takes place


Pace of activity

TT (or time trial)

An individual’s race against the clock

TT (or time trial) bike

A specifically designed bike designed for riding in an aerodynamic position


The point that must be exceeded to begin producing a given effect or result.

Vo2 max

The highest rate at which oxygen can be taken up and used during exercise


A group of swimmers

'Washing machine' effect

The turbulence generated by a mass of open water swimmers


Half Ironman distance (1.9k swim, 90k bike, 21k run) Refers to number of miles.