Triathletes are a strange species: They wear lycra, obsess over numbers, get stressed out when they miss a training session and can't seem to choose just one sport. The popular YouTube video Sh*t Triathletes Say captures their persona well but what the heck does all that gibberish mean?
Whether you want to learn the jargon or just get in on the joke, here's your guide to decoding what triathletes say and why.
"Is this more aero, or this."
Aero is short for aerodynamic. When something or someone is aero, it means that it/they slice efficiently through the wind. This is one of the reasons triathletes wear skin-tight clothes and funny looking helmets—to reduce the amount of material that can get caught by the wind.
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There is also an optimal bike riding position that helps disperse the wind over and around the body to reduce drag. Triathletes are always trying to refine their riding position for optimal aerodynamics.
"I'm doing way less volume now than when I was training for Ironman."
Volume refers to the amount of training triathletes do, or literally the number of miles they run, bike or swim in a given week. Training for an Ironman—the longest of all triathlons with a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run—requires a lot more training volume than preparing for a sprint or Olympic-distance race.
Volume also fluctuates throughout the training cycle. The highest volume occurs at the peak of training while early on there is usually a ramp up period and as they get closer to race day, mileage tapers off.
"It's my offseason."
After a full season of training and racing, triathletes take time off to recover from the high stress of racing. During this period they have more time for other sports and activities.
"Of course I run in Newtons."
Newtons are a popular running shoe designed to mimic the most natural running position.
"I've got a killer brick workout tomorrow."
A brick workout is a training session in which you do two sports back to back. For example, a swim immediately followed by a run, or a bike ride immediately followed by a run. This is beneficial because it helps the body get used to the transition between the disciplines in preparation for doing three back to back sports on race day.
"Sometimes I'll mix up my training with a fartlek run."
Interval training is important for triathletes who want to increase their overall speed. Fartleks are a form of interval training that involves getting their heart rate up for several short segments during a workout. For example, after an easy warm-up, they might sprint for 30 to 60 seconds, then recover with an easy five-minute jog; then repeat for as many times as the training session allows.