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17 Triathlon Terms Every Triathlete Needs to Know

New to the sport or a seasoned triathlete with many races under your belt, here are 17 triathlon terms every triathlete should know

From training terms to lingo you’ll hear out at the race site, the world of triathlon truly does have a language of its own. In honor of this year marking the 17th time we celebrate triathletes of all skill levels coming together at The Rookie Tri, here are 17 triathlon terms every triathlete needs to know that will have you graduating from a novice triathlete to a pro in no time.

  1. Aid Stations – Strategically located stations to help you replenish during the race. They usually have water, hydration drinks, and depending on the distance, can also have gels or chews. See where the run course aid station is located at The Rookie Tri.

    Athlete getting body marked on race morning of Rookie Tri

    Rookie Tri athlete getting body marked on race morning.

  2. Body Marking – In a race, you will be required to wear your race number on your body, the upper arm, and the back of the lower leg. Before a race, there will be designated “Body Markers,” volunteers who write your race number on your body with either a permanent marker or applying a temporary tattoo peel-off number.
  3. Brick – back-to-back workouts of the tri disciplines. Traditionally, a bike and run, smushed together like on race day. But it can really be any combination of two of the disciplines.
  4. Cadence – Also, known as RPM, or revolutions per minute, cadence means the rhythm of your swim stroke, bike pedal stroke, or run turnover as your feet hit the ground. Measured in “revolutions” per minute.
  5. Derailleur – A system on a mountain bike, road bike or triathlon bike made of up sprockets and a chain with a method to move the chain from one to the other to cause the shifting of gears.
  6. DNF – Acronym for “Did Not Finish” (the race).

    Perfecting the dolphin dive into Decker Lake

    Perfecting the dolphin dive into Decker Lake.

  7. Dolphin Dive – a way to enter the water in a swim start where the water is shallow in order to start swimming right away.
  8. Fartlek – The definition of the Swedish word Fartlek is ‘speed play’ in English. Involves training at different paces and speeds within one training session and can be applied to all three triathlon disciplines; swimming, cycling and running.
  9. Ladder – an interval workout with progressively increasing then decreasing distances at each interval. For example, run fast for 400m, jog for 200m, run for 800m, jog for 200m, run for 1200m, jog for 200m, run for 800m, jog for 200m, run for 400m, jog for 200m. (BeginnerTriathlete.com)
  10. Open Water Swim (OWS) – swimming in a natural body of water (lake, river, ocean, bay)
  11. Podium – the first 3 competitors in each age group. I “podium’d”. Boom!
  12. PR – Acronym for “personal record.”
  13. Race Number Belt – A belt where you can attach your race number. This is helpful for putting on your number after the swim. You clip the belt around your waist with your number to the back (on the bike), and then when you run, you rotate your number to the front.

    Professional timing gives you accurate results as soon as you cross the finish line.

    Professional timing gives you accurate results as soon as you cross the finish line!

  14. Taper – The period of time before a race where you slow down the frequency and intensity of the workouts in order to give your body time to recover and rest before the event.
  15. Timing Chip – Usually handed out in race packets and is to be worn around your ankle during your tri. When you pass over certain points during a race, the timing chip registers your time for the official race results.
  16. Transition – Two time periods within a triathlon. T1 is the period of time between the swim and bike; T2 is the period of time between the bike and the run. Transition is also the physical area in the race where you will transition from one sport to another.
  17. Wetsuit “Legal” – a triathlon where the water is cold enough to wear a wetsuit, as often set forth in the USAT rules.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of some of the most common, essential triathlon terms used by athletes. Try them out during your Rooke Tri training and you’ll be ready to chat with the pros!

Why You Need To Be Training for Transitions

Make worrying about transitions a thing of the past when you use these time-saving tips for triathlon transitions

A quick and easy transition is an important skill to save time during your triathlon. However, it is often overlooked during the training process. These transition techniques should be practiced during your training leading up to your upcoming tri to save time and reduce any stress you may be feeling about tackling transition on the morning of your race.

Know Your Way Around

Having an idea of the layout of the transition area of your tri beforehand is especially crucial on race day. Reviewing the course maps will eliminate any uncertainties you have and should be done in the days leading up to your race. Take it a step further and arrive at the race site early to do a pre-race walkthrough in transition.  Get familiar with the flow of transition during your walkthrough.  Make a point to identify where you will swim in, bike out, bike in and run out.

Athlete getting her gear set up in transitions before the racePlan Your Gear

Know what gear you will be using first will help you determine how to layout your gear when you arrive at the race site. If your goal is to improve your overall race time, you will need to be organized in your transition layout. Another common mistake we see athletes make is bringing too much stuff. Only bring what you need to avoid losing any items, or having items in the way to slow you down. Layout your items in the order you use them to save time when you arrive in transition during the race.

Practice

Practicing your transitions is the best way to be prepared come race day. Set up a practice transition area wherever you find an open space like in your driveway, or an empty track. This will give you the opportunity to time yourself and see how long the swim to bike transition will take, as well as the bike to run. Determine which time-saving techniques you’ll use such as deciding to have your shoes already clipped into your bike, or where to place your helmet for easy access. Practice putting on and removing shoes, and mounting your bike while keeping your rhythm. Layout your gear to get in and out of transition in the least amount of time possible.

Only Bring the Essentials

Getting into gear in the transition area

Only bring what you need to avoid losing any items, or having items in the way to slow you down. Along with completing a gear check to make sure you have all the items you need, take some time to make sure your gear is functioning properly. The idea is to have everything ready to go when you run into transition during your tri.

The best way to get good at anything is practice, practice, PRACTICE! Training for transitions ultimately determines how well you can tackle them on the day of your race. Use these tips for your upcoming tri to improve your race time, or maybe even PR!

Kicking Off the 2020 Texas Tri Series

The 2020 Texas Tri Series is underway!

The 2020 Texas Tri Series consists of four triathlons that take place in and around the Austin area. You can participate in the Texas Tri Series (for free!) as an athlete or a volunteer. The first step is completing  The Rookie Tri on Sunday, May 3rd.

The events range from short distance, aka, sprint distance to half distances. There are many volunteer roles and ways to participate. This is a great event to complete with family, friends, and even your kids. To participate, you must register or volunteer for all four events in the Texas Tri Series.

In addition to all the awesome goodies you get at each event in the series, you will get some awesome rewards for completing the series. Each series finisher will receive a 2020 Texas Tri Series finisher medal and a finisher item. Timing is not being tracked for the 2020 Texas Tri Series.

The series is composed of four events


The Rookie Triathlon

  • Sunday, May 3rd
  • Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park
  • Short distance, aka, Sprint distance (300m swim, 11.2-mile bike, 2-mile run)
  • Relay, aquabike, and virtual options

CapTex Tri

Incredible views from the streets of Downtown Austin on the CapTex Tri course!

  • Monday, May 25th
  • Via Mathias (Auditorium) Shores
  • Super Sprint distance (.25-mile swim, 6.3-mile bike, 3.1-mile run)
  • Sprint distance (.46-mile swim, 12.3-mile bike, 3.1-mile run)
  • International distance (.93-mile swim, 24.3-mile bike, 6.2-mile run)
  • Relay and aquabike options

Jack’s Generic Triathlon

  • Sunday, August 23rd
  • Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park
  • Sprint distance (600m swim, 11.2-mile bike, 5K run)
  • Relay, aquabike, and virtual options

Kerrville Triathlon Festival

Kerrville Tri is the final event of the Texas Tri Series

  • Saturday, September 26th, and Sunday, September 27th
  • Kerrville, Texas (Nimitz Lake and Louise Hays Park) Kerrville Triathlon Festival is the final Texas Tri Series event.
  • Sprint distance (500m swim,14.5-mile bike, 5K run)
  • Quarter distance (1000m swim, 29-mile bike, 6.4-mile run)
  • Half distance (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run)
  • Relay (sprint and half) and aquabike (quarter and half) options

Rookie Mistakes Triathletes Make on Race Morning

Get a good night’s rest before your upcoming tri with this as your guide to avoid making these rookie mistakes on race morning!

Even after all the training and metal preparation you’ve put in for the day of the race, there are still things that can go wrong on race morning. We all know how chaotic race morning of a triathlon can be, but have no fear! Follow these few simple strategies to help your race day go much smoother when you avoid making these rookie mistakes on race morning.

1. Getting to Race Site Late

Get to the race site early so you have time to familiarize yourself with the transition areas and layout of the course. Arriving late will increase your pre-race jitters and take away the fun of race morning with your fellow athletes.

Rookie Mistakes Triathletes Make on Race Morning. Group yoga with fellow athletes at Rookie Tri

Warming up, overlooking Decker Lake!

2. Not Warming Up

At Rookie Tri, we have a group warm-up led by professional trainers to help make sure your body is properly warmed up for the race. This is important, so be sure to plan to have some time to get a warm-up in and get that blooding pumping before your tri!

3. Bringing More Than you Have to

Brining more items means to keep track of and more chance of losing an item. Avoid this common mistake and keep it simple by only bringing what you absolutely need.

Good looking gear set up on race morning

Tri gear set up in T1!

4. Forgetting Gear

You’d be surprised at how often folks forget their running shoes or helmet on race morning. This will cause you unnecessary stress, so have a checklist, or use ours!

5. Starting in the Wrong Gear

Being familiar with the course will help you determine which gear you should start the bike leg in. Starting in the right gear will help maximize your power right away and set you up for success throughout the bike portion.

Athlete drinking water from one of the aid stations on course

Quick stop to hydrate at one of the aid stations!

6. Forgetting to Hydrate

Staying hydrated during your upcoming tri will ultimately determine how well you perform during the race. Determine how much fluids your body requires during training, so you don’t drink too much or too little on the day of your race.

7. Forgetting Sunscreen

You can’t avoid the Texas heat, but you can avoid the mistake of getting sun damage to your skin during a triathlon. Apply sunscreen on race morning before you get to the site. (This should also be done during your training!!)

8. Forgetting the FUN

Celebrating at the finish line party

After all, you signed up to have a great experience with friends and family around you. This should be easy with the infectious energy the athletes bring to The Rookie Tri who are always willing to help a fellow athlete if needed.

Use this as your guide for your next tri to avoid these common rookie mistakes triathletes on race morning and set yourself up for a fun-filled, hassle-free race morning!

Rookie Mistakes Triathletes Make During Training

Get more bang for your buck during your upcoming tri by addressing these rookie mistakes triathletes make during training

This year we celebrate 17 years of swim-bike-run fun at the 17th Annual Rookie Tri on May 3, 2020. We have seen just about everything you can think of in those 17 years, but we still see athletes make the same mistakes time and time again. Don’t let these mistakes get in your way of making progress on your training journey. Use this list to avoid the most common training mistakes made by triathletes to help your future race mornings go off without a hitch!

1. Selecting the Wrong Race

Go short before you go long. Your first triathlon is a learning experience, so ease yourself into the sport by completing a short distance tri like Rookie Tri. Once you’ve found your race, train for the distance you signed up for. The training leading up to the race will give you an idea of what to expect during the tri and help you determine which areas require more training.

2. Failing to Have a Training Plan

Training hard and logging those miles!

Now what? Find a training plan! We know it’s tough to find time to train for three different sports, so make it easier on yourself by finding a free online training plan. There are tons of free training plans created by professional coaches to guide you during your training. Using a training plan will ensure you divide up the training as needed to have you race-day ready.

3. Not Learning to Pace

Overexerting yourself at the start of the race will hurt you during the rest of the race. Pacing yourself throughout training is the best way to know your pace for each discipline. Practicing pacing is key to a strong finish and successful race.

4. Not Training Your Weakness

Ignoring your least favorite portion during your training will only hurt you on race day. It’s natural to avoid training your least favorite discipline and spend the majority of your time on your strongest. Improve your performance on race day by preparing for your least favorite discipline to eliminate any uncertainties you have.

Getting into bike gear in transition

Getting into gear in transition

5. Not Practicing for Transitions

Practicing transitions during training will give you the best idea of how long it takes you to execute transitions on race day. Some athletes leave their shoes clipped into their bike for a quicker transition. Practicing will help you figure out what works best for you in the least amount of time.

6. Not Knowing the Rules

Is your race wetsuit legal? Can you wear headphones? Don’t get disqualified by not knowing the basic rules of triathlon. Look over the USAT rules before starting your training so there are no surprises to throw you off your A-game on race day.

7. Not Doing an Open Water Swim Before Race Morning

Open water is vastly different than pool training. How you do on the swim sets the tone for the rest of your race. Plan some open-water swims into your training so you know exactly what to expect on race day. Go an extra step and get a group of other athletes who are training to do a mock swim with you!

Celebrating at the finish line party!

Whether you started your journey to get in shape or challenge yourself the most important thing to remember during training is to have FUN. Trust your training and enjoy the experience! This should be easy with the infectious energy the athletes bring to The Rookie Tri.

Use this as your guide leading up to your next tri to avoid these common rookie mistakes triathletes make during training. That way you can focus on having a great time and hopefully be inspired to continue your triathlon journey!

2020 Rookie Triathlon Opens Registration

Planning begins as 2020 Rookie Triathlon opens registration

Triathlete crosses the 2019 Rookie Triathlon finish line. Registration for 2020 Rookie Triathlon opens on September 27, 2019.

Rookie Kay Lynn crosses the 2019 Rookie Tri finish line! Credit – Tom Marek

2020 Rookie Triathlon opens registration at the Kerrville Triathlon expo. The 17th annual Rookie Triathlon will take place on Sunday, May 3rd, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northeast Austin. In May 2019, more than 1000 participants completed the first triathlon of their life or the first triathlon of their season. 2020 Rookie Triathlon’s best pricing is available until Tuesday, Oct. 22nd.

“For the last 16 years, thousands of athletes have become triathletes by crossing their first finish line at Rookie Tri,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “We know Year 17 will be the same, people making Rookie Tri the first tri of their life or the first tri of their season.”

For 16 years, thousands have made this beloved event their first triathlon

2020 Rookie Triathlon has three different divisions: Rookie (first or second triathlon ever), Veteran (completed more than two triathlons), and Open. Rookies and Veterans start the swim in their division based on their age group. Two participants enter the water every few seconds. The Open Division allows participants to begin regardless of age, with a mass swim start. Rookie Tri also features Athena and Clydesdale categories. Triathletes who can’t make it to the event can still participate through the virtual Rookie Tri. Participants can complete the virtual 2020 Rookie Triathlon on their own time at their preferred locations.

Participants will receive custom 2020 participant shirts, finisher medals, water bottles, and swim caps. After the race, everyone can enjoy the beer garden (21+), a post-race meal, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing and photography, as well as a great volunteer crew and hundreds of supportive spectators, will make this triathlon memorable for rookies and veterans alike. 

Rookie Tri, an award-winning triathlon, consists of a 300m swim in Decker Lake, an 11.2-mile bike ride in a protected lane around the lake, and a two-mile run through Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. Rookie Tri has aquabike and relay options for race day. The relay team can consist of two or three members and the aquabike completes the swim and the bike only. 

A Few Reasons To Love The Rookie Tri

If you’re interested in getting into triathlons, here are 4 reasons why you’ll love Rookie Tri, and why you should give it a try!

The triathlon community is an exciting place that brings all kinds of people together to share their love of swimming, cycling and running. To make our participants feel more comfortable easing into this world, we created The Rookie Tri. Taking on a sprint distance triathlon as your first tri is a great way to build your self-confidence and hopefully spark your desire to continue your tri journey!  If you don’t already, keep reading for a couple of reasons you will love The Rookie Tri.

Location

Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park

Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park has great running, biking, and hiking trails!

The home of Rookie Tri is one of Austin’s known hot spots, Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park aka Decker Lake.  The park is located at 6614 Blue Bluff Road.  On race morning, we always kick-off The Rooke Tri with a group stretch as the sun rises, looking out over Decker Lake. This is a great opportunity for you to get a look at the swim course if you aren’t familiar with the area. Pro tip: If you live around the area and are nervous about the swim portion, get out there and do a mock swim beforehand. For the spectators, there are great spots along the course for friends and family to join you on race day while getting a great view of you throughout the tri!

Different Options

We offer different distances and divisions to make sure all our participants get the most out of their individual race experience. There is an aquabike option for all of our non-runners out there. There is also a relay option, so you have the choice to divide up the tri and have your friends or family complete it with you! Along with these different distances, The Rookie Tri is special because of its separated Rookie (beginners) and Veterans (experienced triathletes) groups.

Everyone’s a Rookie Here

We know how intimidating your first triathlon can be. The Rookie Tri was created to help beginner triathletes dip a toe in before diving straight into a full distance triathlon. As soon as the race begins, everyone’s a Rookie. However, knowing you are completing your first tri along with others who may be new to the sport is not only comforting, but a great opportunity to meet other athletes at your current skill level. Our biggest goal is for the participants to have the most fun possible. That’s easy because we always have the best participants who cheer one another on and help each other out throughout the course, so you’ll feel right at home. 

Finish Line Party

Rookie Tri Finish Line Party

Rookie Tri Participants having a blast at the Finish Line Party

Where else would be better than to celebrate your victory on completing The Rookie Tri than with fellow Rookies? Participants get complimentary hot food and cold drinks waiting for them at the finish line. Also, you’ll receive some other great treats from various vendors. There’s also a beer garden for our 21 and up participants to enjoy! Last but not least, everyone loves the swag toss we do to wrap up the finish line party, although you won’t want it to end!

There are many more reasons to love The Rookie Tri, but here are a few of our favorites we wanted to highlight. Whether it is your first triathlon or your tenth, get ready to have an incredible time at The Rookie Tri.

Rookie Triathlon’s Sweet 16 a Smashing Success

Hundreds introduced to triathlon at Rookie Triathlon’s Sweet 16

On Sunday, May 5th, more than 1000 registrants celebrated Rookie Triathlon‘s Sweet 16 at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in Austin, Texas. Temperatures were ideal for those competing in their first ever triathlon or the first triathlon of their season despite recent severe storms in Central Texas. Rookies, those who participated in their first or second triathlon, consisted of more than half the field.

“The experience of my first triathlon at Rookie Tri is one I won’t forget,” said Lorie Sturgis, who completed her first triathlon in 2:17:52. “The support from spectators, volunteers, and High Five Events was phenomenal and I can’t wait to complete my next triathlon!”

Professional triathlete Pablo Gomez won his first Rookie Triathlon with the time of 45:28. Second and third place went to Justin Arnosky and Jack Cartwright, who crossed the finish line in 46:10 and 46:18 respectively. For the fourth time since 2015, professional triathlete Natasha Van Der Merwe topped the women’s field with a winning time of 49:38. Second place finisher Clare Dasso (54:49) and third place finisher Michelle Bonathan (57:00) rounded out the women’s field.

“I love being at Rookie Tri because many triathletes begin their season out here,” said Gomez, who has completed Rookie Triathlon seven times. “It’s especially great to win a race where Rookies and Veterans can compete on the same course. As always, thanks to High Five Events!”

The Rookie Tri

The Rookie Tri has three different divisions: Rookie (first or second triathlon), Veteran (completed more than two triathlons), and Open. Rookies and Veterans start the swim in their division based on their age group. Two participants enter the water every few seconds. The Open Division allows participants to begin regardless of age, with a mass swim start. Rookie Tri also featured Athena and Clydesdale categories. The inclusion of the categories, which had 114 total participants, created more energy and competition on race day.

The wetsuit legal 300-meter swim took place in a 70 degree Decker Lake, the 11.2-mile bike course featured rolling hills, and the two-mile run course ran through the park. Participants received custom finisher medals, Sweet 16 shirts and water bottles, swim cap, beer, a post-race meal, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing and photography, as well as a great volunteer crew and hundreds of supportive spectators, made this triathlon memorable for rookies and veterans alike. The Rookie Triathlon participants can see their times here. They can also relive race day by checking out photos from the event on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Rookie Tri would like to thank all of the volunteers for coming out and making today’s event memorable for all triathletes. Their willingness to get up extra early to cheer on and support every participant truly made a difference in their experience. Rookie Triathlon would also like to thank sponsors City Limit Cycles, RunLab Austin, Oskar Blues Brewery, nuun hydration, Ascension Seton, Camp Gladiator, Fleet Feet Austin, Z’Tejas, FinisherPix, the City of Austin, Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, and Travis County EMS.

Rookie Triathlon Puts Final Touches on Sweet 16 Celebration

More than half of the Rookie Triathlon’s Sweet 16 field consists of beginner triathletes

High Five Events is excited to celebrate 16 years of bringing new triathletes or introducing new triathletes to the sport at 2019 The Rookie Triathlon. The event will take place on Sunday, May 5th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. More than 1000 participants will complete the first triathlon of their life or the first triathlon of their season. Everyone will celebrate Rookie Tri’s Sweet 16 at the finish line festival. There will be a beer garden, post-race food, and a Sweet 16 cake!

Loren showing off her well-deserved 2018 Rookie Tri finisher medal and water bottle!

“I registered for Rookie Tri, my first ever triathlon, to push myself and see what I can accomplish,” said Brieann Grissom. “ I had brain surgery twice, most recently in January, and want to challenge my mind and body in a way I typically don’t do!”

The Rookie Tri has three different divisions: Rookie (first or second triathlon), Veteran (completed more than two triathlons), and Open. Rookies and Veterans start the swim in their division based on their age group. 1-2 participants will enter the water every few seconds. The Open Division allows participants to begin regardless of age, with a mass swim start. Rookie Tri is also returning the Athena and Clydesdale categories. The inclusion of the two divisions will create more energy and competition on race day.

“It’s exciting to see Rookie Tri’s continued growth because that means more and more people are getting introduced to triathlon,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “We love seeing first-timers come back and complete Rookie Tri for the second time, making them a veteran for the next year!”

Sweet 16 perks

Participants will receive custom 2019 shirts, finisher medals and water bottles. They’ll also receive swim caps, beer, a post-race meal, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing and photography, as well as a great volunteer crew and hundreds of supportive spectators, will make this triathlon memorable for rookies and veterans alike. Participants and volunteers can register until Saturday. Packet pickup will take place at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in Austin.

Rookie Tri, an award-winning triathlon, consists of a 300m swim in Decker Lake, an 11.2-mile bike ride in a protected lane around the lake, and a two-mile run through Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. Rookie Tri has aquabike and relay options for race day. The relay team can consist of two or three members and the aquabike completes the swim and the bike only. Triathletes who can’t make it to the event can still participate through the virtual Rookie Tri. Participants can complete the Rookie Tri on their own time at their preferred locations.

2019 Athlete Tracking and Live Results

Follow your friends and family with athlete tracking

Support your friends and family at the 16th annual Rookie Triathlon! Show up early, make hilarious signs, and cheer loudly. Then get ready to celebrate at the finish line festival! If you’re at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park or halfway around the globe, use athlete tracking or receive alerts via social media to know where your friends and family are on course.

Live Online Tracking

Watch the leaderboard live on race day! Share this link with family and friends so that they can see Rookie Tri results no matter where they are on this beautiful earth.

Results on Social Media

You can also sign up to get results sent to your social media. Search for your name and set up messages to be sent to your social media. This will keep all of your followers up to date on your Rookie Tri progress. You can also set up text messaging to your spectators so they know when you have completed each part of the event and can be waiting for you at the finish line.

Final Results

Don’t forget to check out the final results and see if you placed in your division!