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Triathlon Glossary

Posted by: on August, 14 2014

Found on Ironman.com

From fartleks to bonking, stay on top of the conversation with our regularly-updated list.

Ever wish you had a quick resource to pick up some common triathlon terms that are frequently thrown around by veterans, but sometimes confuse newbies? Look no further! Here are some common triathlon terms to add to your vocabulary. An asterisk designates a term specific to IRONMAN-branded events.

The IRONMAN Run Glossary

5K: 3.1 mile run or race. Generally the distance in a Sprint triathlon.

10K: 6.2 mile run or race. Generally the distance in an Olympic triathlon.

aerobic: This term is used to define the intensity of a run that is primarily conversational at a slow, easy pace. Generally, you burn more fat as a fuel and produce less “painful” lactic acid.

anaerobic: High intensity pace that allows lactic acid to build up, and can generally not be sustained much longer than a 10K.

elastic laces: The “stretchy” laces many triathletes have on their shoes to allow easy and fast entry into the shoe without having to tie a knot.

fartlek: A style of running that is “random” or variably paced. For example, a fartlek run might involve running five miles on a trail, and sprinting at various intervals throughout the run. Also known as “speedplay.”

hill repeats: When a runner runs up a hill to increase their strength, and down at an easy, recovery pace. Also used in cycling.

hitting the wall: Generally happens about mile 20 of a marathon due to depletion of carbohydrate. A drop in blood sugar leads to immediate fatigue and loss of energy. (Also called a “bonk.”)

intervals: Short, fast repeats of 30 seconds to five minutes, interspersed with easy walking or jogging in between each effort.

marathon: 26.2 miles. Generally the distance in an IRONMAN triathlon (a half-marathon is the distance in an IRONMAN 70.3 event.)

negative split: Running the second half of a run faster than the first half.

pickups: Short accelerations performed during the run, generally to stretch out the legs and prepare them for speedwork or a run. Usually 10-30 seconds long.

plyometrics: Jumping, bounding, hopping or other explosive movements designed to train the body for reducing ground contact time.

pronation: The inward roll of the foot as the arch collapses after the foot strikes the ground. Overpronation is excessive inward rolling due to weak support, which can cause many running injuries.

runner’s high: An intense feeling of exhilaration that can occur during a run, usually due to the release of endorphins.

splits: in running, refers to your times at mile markers or other pre-planned distance markers.

strides: Similar to pick-ups, but usually performed as intervals (i.e. a set of 8 strides to warm up prior to a race).

supination: Opposite of pronation. Outward rolling of foot after foot strike. Less common, but also a cause of running injuries.

tempo runs: Sustained effort training runs, usually 20 to 30 minutes in length, at 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than 10K race pace.