Training & Tips

First off, congratulations on challenging yourself to try something new. Even our elites had to start somewhere!

We are proud to welcome all athletes to the World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi - we have races for all ages and abilities, including dedicated waves for athletes of determination, and you can race as an individual (where you take on the swim, the cycle and the run back to back) or you can buddy up with friends and compete as a relay team (which each person does one discipline). Find more information on the race distances available, and sign up for our age group races here.

To help you on your journey to your first triathlon, download our week-by-week training programmes developed specifically for first-time athletes. 



Here are some key definitions to get you started.

Triathlon: Triathlon is sport comprising of 3 disciplines raced one after the other - it starts with a swim leg, then transitions onto a cycle leg and finishes with a run.

Duathlon: Duathlon is a sport comprising of 2 disciplines races one after the other - it starts with a  run leg, then transitions onto a cycle leg and finishes with another run.

Start Waves: Smaller groups of athletes that begin the race every few minutes. Waves are usually determined by age group and gender. Wave starts are more common in races where a large number of athletes are competing.

Swim Leg: The part of the race where the athlete swims. The swim leg is the start of the race and it ends once you exit the water before entering the transition area. The swim route is marked out using buoys.

Sighting: Raising the head during swimming to look for landmarks or buoys that mark the swim course.

Buoy: A floating device that marks the course of the swim leg.

Transition Area: A defined area in which an athlete stores their bicycle and various other equipment. This is where the change over from swimming to cycling and cycling to running occur. The transition from swim and bike is referred to as T1 and that between the bike and run is referred to as T2. The overall race time includes time spent in T1 and T2.

Bike Leg: Part of the race course where the bike is to be ridden. The bike course starts at the Mount Line and finishes at the Dismount Line.

Mount Line: A designated line at the exit from transition after which athletes are to mount their bicycles and ride. The Mount Line will be clearly identified by flags/line/Technical Official, or combinations thereof.

Dismount Line: A clearly marked designated line at the entrance to Transition from the bike course before which athletes are to dismount their bikes fully and walk/run to the bike racks.

Drafting: A technique where two or more cyclists, cycle in a in a close group to reduce the effect of drag by using the front bicycle’s slipstream. Reminder, the World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is a NON-DRAFT legal event.

Run Course: Part of the race course where the athlete is to run or walk. The run course commences at the exit from the Transition Area and finishes at the Finish Line.

Splits: The time that it takes to complete a specific distance. In triathlon splits are usually given for the swim, bike and run legs. Splits can also be given for the two transitions (T1 & T2) and for various portions of the three individual legs.

Cut Off: Each category has three disciplines, (swim, bike, run). Within these disciplines, there is a cut off time to ensure the event runs smoothly and there’s no delay to other race start times taking place that day.

Team vs. Individual: You can sign up for all of our age group races as either an individual where you complete all three legs (swim, bike, run) of the race. Alternatively, you can sign up as a team. This is where you buddy up for 1 or 2 other people, and take a leg of the race each in a relay format.


Can I do a triathlon?

With some time and training, anyone can do a triathlon. The World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi is designed to be a mass participation event with distances catering to both novice and experienced triathletes.

The shortest distance is the Super Sprint which is a great option for first-timers. To complete the Super-Sprint you need to be able to swim 15 lengths of a 25m pool, be able to cycle for around 30 minutes and then jog 15-20 minutes. You can also enter the event as part of a team and choose one or two of the disciplines, depending on your team size (min 2- max 3).


What do I need to bring?

Tri-suit / swimsuit Bike Trainers Wetsuit
Goggles Bike helmet   Towel
  Bike Pump   Sun screen
  Race belt / safety pins   Gels / nutrition
  Shorts & t-shirt*   Sun glasses
  Trainers or bike shoes   Vaselin
  Hydration   Flip flops


* If you're not wearing a tri-suit. If you wear a tri-suit, you will wear it for all 3 legs of your race.


What items will I get in my race pack?

The following items will be provided for you in your race pack:

  • Race Number (you must wear this during the bike and run portion of your race)
  • Swim cap (you must wear the event swim cap. The colour of your cap corresponds to the race wave that you are in)
  • Athlete Identification Pack including supporter sticker (these are stickers which you will stick on your bike, your helmet and you bag. There will also be a sticker for your biggest fan!)
  • Event Branded backpack
  • Finishers Medal
  • Online certificate
  • Wristband
  • Athletes' guide
  • On-course nutrition
  • Prize-giving
  • Secure bag storage zone


Where can I find my results and race photos?

Results will be shared here shortly after your race, along with your complimentary race photo! Make sure your race number is always visible to ensure you can find your photos later online.On the bike, your number must be behind you, on your run, it must be pulled around to the front. Hence why a race belt is easier that using safety pins.


Do I get a medal?

You’ve done it! You have completed your first of many triathlons and you have the hardware to prove it. Every race finisher will be given a unique World Triathlon Abu Dhabi 2023 medal.


Share your photos with WTS Abu Dhabi

Don’t forget to tag us in your pictures (#WTSAbuDhabi and @WTSAbuDhabi) so we can like, love and share your triathlon experience! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


Our Top Tips

  • Make sure you attend the race briefing. This is where you’ll find out all the necessary information about your race and it is compulsory for all athletes.
  • Be sure to read your Athlete Guide thoroughly 
  • If you are taking part in the Sprint or Olympic distance, come along to ‘swim familiarization’ the day before your race.
  • Don’t try anything new on race day. A good rule is – train the way you’d like to race, and race the way you’ve trained. This is especially important when it comes to your hydration and nutrition.
  • Arrive at the race start with plenty of time. Allow extra time for traffic, parking, pumping up your bike tires etc. It is normal to feel nervous (even the pros get race-day nerves!) – you don’t want the added stress of running late to add to your nerves!
  • If you are nervous about the swim, wearing a wetsuit will give you more buoyancy. However, be sure to practice in it before the race – wetsuits can feel quite restrictive and take a bit of getting used to. Please also note that while Abu Dhabi is usually an wetsuit-optional swim, if the water temperature is over a certain amount, wetsuits will not be allowed so you should be comfortable swimming with and without a wetsuit.
  • Make sure you apply plenty of water-proof sunscreen before your race. You can even keep an extra tube of sunscreen in your transition area.
  • Abu Dhabi is a rolling start, which means you will enter the water in very small groups of 3 – 6 people. If you are a nervous swimmer, we would recommend starting at the back of your ‘race wave’ to avoid faster swimmers coming up behind you and knocking you.
  • Before the race, make sure you’re comfortable handling your bike. Practice left and right turns, as well as taking your water bottle out of the holder, drinking, and putting it back in the holder, all while you’re cycling at a consistent pace. Drafting is also a word you will hear a lot in triathlon – the World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is a NON-DRAFT race, which means you are not allowed to cycle close to the person in front. This does not apply to the swim or the bike leg.
  • Make sure that you know how many laps of the bike and run course you need to do to complete your race category. You will be responsible for counting them! If you don’t complete all of the laps, you will be disqualified. And of course, you don’t want to do any extras!
  • Make sure you hydrate on the bike and the run legs. You will need to bring your own hydration on the bike (put a water bottle on your bike – make sure you practice drinking while you’re cycling!). On the run, there will be multiple ‘aid stations’ – don’t skip them! 
  • Don’t take your wristband off until you have checked your bike out – the officials will only let you remove the bike which has the corresponding race number to your wristband.
  • Enjoy yourself! And be sure to SMILE as you cross the finish line, so you’re finish photo looks as amazing as you are!