As an indoor cycling instructor, you”™re going to find a large percentage of your students dabble in triathlon, or engage in it as a serious sport. Either way, you don”™t want to be embarrassed by using the wrong triathlon-related words or terms in your class when talking to them about triathlon (including the ever-popular pronunciation of triathlon as “triath-a-lon”).

So to help you look better and converse intelligently and confidently with your indoor cycling students who are triathletes, this is Part 3 of a five part series called “Tri-Lingo 101” that will teach you how to use the correct triathlon terms. In this article, you”™ll learn common triathlon run terms. Without further ado, let”™s dive in!

5K: 3.2 mile run or race. Generally the distance in a Sprint triathlon.

10K: 6.4 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.

Chip: a device worn above the ankle or on the shoe that allows timing during a race or event.

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 5 miles on a trail, and sprinting at various intervals throughout the run. Also known as “speedplay”.

Hitting The Wall: Generally happens about mile 20 of a marathon — depletion of carbohydrate and drop in blood sugar leads to immediate fatigue and loss of energy.

Intervals: Short, fast repeats of generally 30 seconds to 5 minutes, interspersed with easy walking or jogging in between each effort.

Marathon: 26.2 miles. Generally the distance in an Ironman triathlon (and a Half-Marathon is the distance in a Half-Ironman, or 70.3, triathlon)

Pick-Ups: 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 or being “in the zone” that can occur during a run, usually due to the release of endorphins.

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.


Ben is a fitness business coach, triathlon author, and sports nutritionist. If you want more videos, aricles and audios about swimming and other triathlon related topics, visit Ben”™s free blog and podcast at . Also be sure to check out Ben”™s endurance sports website Endurance Planet, at and his Rock Star Triathlete Academy, at .  Finally, if you want to learn how to grow your fitness business and make more money, visit Ben”™s fitness business advice website at .


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