Cyclists demonstrating proper triathlon etiquette

Triathlon Etiquette: The Unwritten Rules

Posted on Posted in blog, Race advice, Uncategorized

Participating in a triathlon is something many sports enthusiasts have on their bucket list. Like most sports events, a triathlon has official rules and then it has those unwritten rules that help ensure good sportsmanship. It is this triathlon etiquette that makes the event enjoyable for all participants. Let’s start at the beginning.


Many triathletes train alone and if this is you, you can skip to the next section. Others, however, have found that training with others who share a common goal help keep them motivated. It also gives them a boost in skill as they work together to help each other improve. During this period of training, triathlon etiquette is already in place. Keep these things in mind.

  • Be on time for group events. Making others wait is a sign of disrespect.
  • Now isn’t the time to compete, help out other participants. The goal is for everyone to improve.
  • Keep your pets at home. Other class members may have allergies or fears.
  • Stay positive. You know how miserable a day can be when someone is always complaining. Try to keep smiling and making positive comments to cheer others on.

During the Race

Two major things will help throughout the day, whether you are racing or resting.

  • Follow all rules. This will help keep things running smoothly for everyone.
  • Give others their space. There will be many participants and space will be at a minimum. Try not to crowd others and give them enough space to stretch and move freely.

Swimming can become dangerous if common courtesy is not observed. Triathlon etiquette for this event includes:

  • Don’t swim over another participant. Passing is around them.
  • Before passing, gently tap the foot of the one you are passing so they aren’t startled.
  • Don’t grab or push others. Keep your hands to yourself and remember that swimming is not a contact sport.

Biking also carries its own set of triathlon etiquette rules that go beyond the official event rules.

  • Always ride on the right and pass on the left. Make sure you let someone know if you are passing them.
  • Leave the headphones behind. It is important to be aware of what is going on around you at all times.
  • Don’t throw your trash away on the route. It can cause an accident if it flies under the wheel of another rider.

Running requires concentration and there are only a couple of unwritten rules. Triathlon etiquette includes:

  • As with biking, run on the right and pass on the left to avoid startling the other runners.
  • Don’t push at water stations. Get your drink and move to the side so others don’t have to wait longer than necessary.

After the Race

Courtesy does not end simply because you have reached the finish line. There are others still finishing and often awards to be passed out. When you have finished:

  • Celebrate but don’t block the finish line for others coming in. Take your celebration to the sidelines.
  • Cheer on those still finishing. There can never be too much moral support.
  • Thank all the volunteers who passed out water and kept things moving smoothly. So often they don’t get the appreciation they deserve.
  • Congratulate freely – remember, everyone who finishes worked hard to do so.
  • Don’t forget yourself. Regardless of whether you came in first, last or somewhere in the middle, you completed the event. Be proud of your accomplishment.

Final Words

Joining with others who share your love of the triathlon can add a dimension to the whole experience you can’t achieve alone. Tailwind Endurance’s triathlon community can give you the sense of community you may otherwise not have in your area. Check out the community and find like-minded individuals for fun, tips, and support throughout your current and future adventures.