Dolphin Dive1 of 11
Triathlon has its origin in the waters off the island of Oahu, and many coastal triathlons around the world still feature an ocean swim as part of their race. Depending on the conditions, getting past the breaking waves can be a physically demanding task. Dolphin diving is the action of diving over inbound waves as you're heading out into open water. Beginners typically will choose to swim under them to save energy, but more advanced triathletes will hone this seconds-saving technique to gain an edge on race day.
Brick2 of 11
A brick is simply a bike-run workout (hence the BR in BRick) where athletes go for a training ride and immediately hop off and head out for a run. All triathletes know how tough running after the bike can be—your legs are sluggish, heavy and typically unresponsive to a change of pace. Developing this skill in training can help you overcome the sensation and perform better on race day.
140.6 (and 70.3)3 of 11
If you've ever done an IRONMAN, you'll never forget these numbers. If you haven't, you're probably scratching your head. The number 140.6 (and half of it for 70.3) represents the combined distances of an IRONMAN: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run. What it doesn't represent, though, are the are thousands of training miles an IRONMAN triathlete puts in to be physically ready for such a demanding race.
Age Grouper4 of 11
Age groupers are the amateur athletes at any given triathlon—a.k.a. the non-pros. They are generally organized into divisions broken out by age and gender (men, 40-44, for example). Age groupers are separated to promote fair competition between similar athletes, and oftentimes these divisions can become extremely competitive. In IRONMAN races, winning your age group generally guarantees you a coveted slot at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
T1 and T25 of 11
No, we're not speaking in computer language. The "T" simply represents "transition" in triathlon. T1 is the transition between the swim and the bike legs when athletes change out of their wetsuit and head out on their bike. T2 is the transition between the bike and run legs when athletes (you guessed it) change out of their bike gear and head out on the run. There is, however, an exclusive T3 on race day when athletes transition from race mode to party mode when they cross the finish line.
M-Dot6 of 11
The "M-Dot" is the insider way to describe the IRONMAN logo. It's the iconic emblem of the brand and represents both the 140.6 and 70.3 versions of the race. Many triathletes decide to tattoo an M-Dot on their calf muscle or shoulder as a badge of honor after completing their iron-distance event. Unlike other brands' logos, the M-Dot has come to represent not only the race, but the training and lifestyle IRONMAN requires to cross the finish line.
Mass Start7 of 11
A mass start is when all the athletes casually enter the water at the same time and organize themselves along row of kayaks or buoys before the gun goes off. If you've ever wondered what it's like to swim with 2,000 of your closest friends, this video is a great example of a mass start. This style can take some serious practice and mental fortitude in the water—many triathletes find it overwhelming and the most stressful part of their race.
Wetsuit Stripper8 of 11
We promise, this isn't what it sounds like. A wetsuit stripper is someone who volunteers to help athletes exiting the swim course out of their wetsuit as fast possible. Generally, one volunteer will unzip the back of your wetsuit and pull the upper down to your waist while another volunteer pulls the rest of the wetsuit off as you lie on the ground. If you've ever tried to get out of a wetsuit by yourself, you know how much of a help these volunteers are.
Penalty Tent9 of 11
The penalty tent in triathlon is the equivalent to a time out when you misbehaved as a kid. If you are caught littering, drafting, blocking or making any of the other infractions that are against the rules while on the course, you may be flagged by a referee and required to spend a few minutes at the next penalty tent. There's nothing more frustrating than standing on the side of the road, watching your competition (and PR) roll by—be sure to check the updated rules each year to keep yourself in the clear.
Body Marking10 of 11
It's true, triathletes love ink (just ask Heather Jackson). But unlike the aforementioned M-Dot tattoos, body marking is a temporary adornment. Generally your age and race number is marked on your calf and shoulder in transition during race check-in. This not only gives race officials more info but allows you to size up any of your fellow age-groupers you may encounter out on the course as well.