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The Triathlon Rulebook

The Triathlon Rulebook

Triathlon is a pretty cool sport, and I’ve been doing it for about 10 years now. My friends are all triathletes. My career is racing and coaching triathlon. My entire life is triathlon. With that being said, triathletes deserve a little teasing. Before you get too offended, remember that this list is all in good fun. I break the majority of these “rules” at some point every year.

  1. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Triathlon is just a sport. There are a lot of things that are more important in the world… like basically everything. Have fun, laugh at yourself, and don’t send me hate mail when something on this list offends you!


  1. Don’t brag about your racing to your non-triathlete friends. Trust me, they really don’t care. Even though your friends probably care about you, they definitely don’t care that much about your racing. If they seem like they care, they are probably pretending in order to be nice.


  1. Wear some pants over that compression. You can wear your compression socks with those cargo shorts, but you better be wearing some sandals and a race visor to go with it. If you are going to go full tri-nerd, you might as well do it right.


  1. Don’t bring your water bottle to a restaurant. They have cups at literally every restaurant in the world. They even have water that they can pour into those cups. The wait staff doesn’t need to know you are an athlete. Plus, your water bottle is probably moldy and bringing it into a restaurant is disgusting.


  1. Take your workout clothes off after your workout. When I work out, I sweat a lot. Maybe some people sweat a lot less than me, but the second I finish my session, I need to get out of my work out clothes. There is nothing grosser than sitting in your soiled bibs for 3 hours after your session.


  1. Rub off those race numbers after the race. Nothing says “I’m really bad at showering” like leaving your race numbers on for 3 weeks after the race. I know you think it’s a badge of honor, but the rest of the world sees you as a homeless person that exercises.


  1. Stop training in your race kit. I’ll admit, I don’t have a good reason for this rule. It’s more of a style tip. Wear your race kit on race day. Wear a swimsuit to the pool. Wear a cycling jersey when you cycle, and wear running shorts when you run. With this being said, plenty of people have seen me running shirtless in tri shorts and compression socks. I guess we all have a little tri-nerd in us.


  1. Wear bib shorts on the bike. There are still a lot of people out there that prefer cycling shorts, but I think that’s because they haven’t tried bibs yet. Besides getting rid of that lower back sunburn, the triathlete’s equivalent of the tramp stamp, bibs are super comfortable and typically reduce the wear and tear on your private parts. Plus they make you look like a real cyclist, and that’s cool too.


  1. Support local and independent races. We all know that Ironman puts on fantastic events. But there are so many other great events in the world. Many of these great independent events are going away because triathletes are only choosing to race with the Ironman brand. Some great independent events are Savageman in Maryland, Toughman in New York and Wildflower in California. Although, it looks like Wildflower will be no more in 2017. Let’s hope it comes back!


  1. Stop “getting aero” on the bike path. Riding on the bike path can be safe and convenient. Riding hard, and especially riding hard in the aerobars, is not safe to do on the bike path. Have some respect for the other people using the path, and ride easy with your hands on the brakes. Move onto the road when it is time to do the real work.


AJ Baucco is an established long course professional triathlete from Cleveland, Ohio. He founded AJ Baucco Coaching LLC, which currently coaches nearly 50 age group triathletes from all over the country. He also runs an age group triathlon team called the “Baucco Squad”. In 2014, AJ Baucco was crowned the first ever Kona Beer Mile Champion. He has since been given legendary status on the Big Island.

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