Triathlon a to z

The F4L – A to Z of Triathlon (part 2)

Posted on Posted in Coach's Diary

Last week I started the F4L Triathlon Coaching "A to Z of Triathlon". 

It actually got the record number of site hits apart from the article with:

Kona & Lance Armstrong

Better keep going then and finish the mission.  So where did I get too?  Oh yes, "I"


Ironman - God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid.  Ironman Triathlons must have taken him completely by surprise!  Yes folks... you can be an Ironman if you complete a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and then run 42.2km (also know as a marathon).  If you do it really quickly you can qualify to do it at the World Championships on the Island of Hawaii.  

ITU - International Triathlon Union.  The worldwide governing body of the sport of Triathlon.

Inspiration - I think Triathletes are an inspirational bunch... don't you?


Jorgenson - Gwen Jorgenson, Olympic Champion in Rio 2016.  Possibly the longest legs in the sport... certainly the fastest!  

Journey - is the destination... (I do like a good quote, and this one is from the Peaceful Warrior)... probably sums up Ironman and Triathlon.


Kona, Hawaii - where the Ironman Wold Championships have been held since 1981.  Prior to that they were held on one of the smaller Hawaiian Islands, Oahu.


Lycra - now I have got to be honest I was struggling with L.  Lycra... all triathletes love it... some sleep in it!


Mallorca - an iconic place to train in Europe... and where we hold our Triathlon Camp in April.

Marathon - 42.2km - its called a marathon as a Greek soldier ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens.  He had fought in the battle.  Arrived in Athens, declared, "We have won!" and died.  Soldier's name was (probably!) Pheidippides.  Yep, 'Marathon' is easier to say!

Multisports - generic term for events similar to Triathlon that involve different disciplines.  For example:  Duathlon (Run - Bike - Run), Aquathlon (Swim - Run), Adventure Racing (Swim - Mountain Bike - Kayak - Run), Triathlon (swim - bike - run) 

Mount - getting on the bike after the swim leg of the Triathlon.  Similar to dismount... but in reverse!



Nutrition - Another key discipline in Triathlon... especially in Ironman racing.  Get your nutrition wrong and it can go very wrong.

Noosa - An iconic race in Triathlon history, held annually in Queensland, Australia.  Its been there since 1983, and is part of a Multisports Festival.


Olympics - weirdly, Triathlon has only been part of the Olympics since Sydney in 2000.  Weird, in my opinion, as it epitomises the Olympics

Olympic distance - also know as the Standard Distance - 1500m Swim - 40km cycle - 10km run


Puncture - same as a flat... it sucks!

Practice - often something that gets forgotten by Triathletes.  Its not just about being fit and able to ride in a straight line.  You have to practice skills.  Be it cornering, swimming in a straight line, nutrition, transitions, mounts and dismounts... all sorts of skills... need to be practiced.  

Perseverance - you need this in Triathlon.  According to Wikipedia: Perseverance is persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.  Yep, that's Triathlon.


Queen K Highway - ok I was REALLY struggling with Q... but the Queen K is an iconic piece of the Ironman Hawaii route.


Run - usually comes after the Bike ride in a Triathlon.  The range of the run distance is from 5km in a Sprint to a marathon in an Ironman

Repeats - commonly used in training.  Repeats are the number of times you do a particular interval.  

Recovery - the time between intervals.  Or the period of time after a race... best use this time to rest up, chill out and set yourself another target.


Swimming - one of the disciplines in Triathlon.  Ranging from 750m in a Sprint Triathlon through to 3.8km in an Ironman.

Sunglasses - you got to look cool!  They also serve a purpose... protect your eyes from the sun, wind, rain (yes rain) and the flies!   

Skills - those little things we need to practice all the time.

Snowsill - Emma Snowsill, Olympic Gold Medallist in 2008 (Beijing).  Definitely not the longest legs in Triathlon, but when at her best, they were the fastest.

Sprint - A shorter distance Triathlon... 750m swim - 20km cycle - 5km run

Spirig -  Nicola Spirig, Olympic Gold Medallist in 2012 (London), had a baby, then gains Olympic Silver in Rio (2016)...


Training - essential if you want to perform in Triathlon

Transition - the bit between the swim and bike and then the bike and run

Taper - very easy to get wrong.  This is the period of time leading into a bigger event, where you allow the body to adapt. 


Uniform - you have to look cool!  Club and team outfits designed specifically for the sport.


Vaseline - an Iron distance athletes best friend!  Used to avoid chaffing, wetsuit rubs and helps slide the foot into your shoe.

Volunteers - these essential people help most triathlon events run as smoothly as they do!


Wetsuit - used for the swim when the water is cold.

Waves - splitting of age groups when there are lots of entrants so that not everyone sets off at the same time.


Xterra - the off-road version of triathlon.


Yellow card - if you get caught drafting, the referee may give you a yellow card... this means report to penalty box.  

Yokohama - one of the longest standing Triathlons on the ITU circuit

Yoda - the nickname given to this triathlon coach by his athletes.


Zones (Heart Rate / Power) - coaches use these to help athletes training.  Working in the right zones is critical for athletes to develop their performance, but also enables athletes to not overdo their training.

BOOM!  A full A to Z of Triathlon - not necessarily complete.

Paul is a British Triathlon Federation Level 3 Coach based in Western Australia.  Paul is also an IRONMAN Certified Coach and a Triathlon Australia Development Coach.

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