10 Tips to speed up your transitions and save time in a triathlon
Triathlon is not just sport involving swimming, cycling and running. You also need to be able to switch between the 3 quickly and efficiently yet it's something nearly all novice and intermediate athletes never consider. Fortunately it's not very hard to get good at and these 10 tips will help you get well on to the way to slick and effortless triathlon transitions.
The one part of triathlon that nobody really practices but can cause the most stress during the race is the transition. Your heart will be racing after swimming and cycling, thereíll be people running around you, thereíll be a lot of noise and all of this going on while youíre trying to think about what youíre doing!
Here are 10 top tips for a faster transition:
1.††††† If you can rack your bike anywhere then pick something near to a landmark you can easily see (a tree or a sponsorís banner are very useful). If you have to put your bike in a specific spot then try and get a feel for that area: are you in line with any landmarks, how far from the end of the row are you etc.
2††† Walk/jog the transition. Jog from the swim exit to your bike. Count the number of rows so you know exactly which one to go to when you come out of the water. Then jog to the bike exit and make sure you know where the mount/dismount line is. Go back to your bike and then jog the route to the run exit. The number of people at races who go the wrong way through transition is incredible and itís so unnecessary.
3.†††††† Rest your helmet upside down, pointing towards you and with the straps open and lying outside. You can put it on your tri-bars if you have them or on the floor. Put your sunglasses in your helmet with the arms open. If youíre using a race belt then rest this across your helmet so you can grab each end, reach behind you, clip it on and turn it around.
4.††††† If youíre going to use gels for the race then put them in your helmet ready to put in your pockets after swimming.
5.††††† The pros can mount their bikes with their shoes already attached to the pedals which, though not terribly hard, if you want to do it you MUST practice before hand. If you donít want to do it (or want to cycle in trainers) then make sure your bike shoes are open so you can get your feet in easily. Itís a good idea to put some talcum powder in them to help your feet dry after the swim.
6.††††† The best time saving tip is elastic laces. Put them on your running shoes before the race (make sure to run in them at least once before hand too) and youíll be able to get your feet into your shoes in moments.
During the race
7.†††† If itís a wetsuit swim, get your wetsuit down to your waist BEFORE you take your hat and goggles off (youíll find it hard to get your wetsuit down with something in your hands!)
8.††††† Try to stay calm and donít panic as you run to your bike. Your heart rate is probably going to be through the roof after swimming so keeping a clear head is vital
9.†††††† Donít try multi-tasking unless youíve practiced it. The pros can take their wetsuit off and put their helmet on at the same time but unless youíre confident you can do it then get your wetsuit off first. Then put your race belt, sunglasses, helmet and bike shoes on (that order tends to work best).
10.† If youíre wearing clipless pedals then consider about 500m from the transition taking your feet out of your bike shoes, leaving them attached to your pedals. Do one foot at a time, release the straps, pull your foot out and rest it on top of your shoe and cycle the rest of the way like this. Just donít let the straps get caught in the chain. This way you can get off your bike and run easily into transition.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darren Evans has been competing in triathlons for nearly 10 years and has gained a great deal of experience in that time. He is now the owner of TriExercise, a running and triathlon specialist retailer in South Wales. Check out the website where you can find many of the best products on the market (he only stocks what he would use himself!) and some great buying guides, including one on how to pick the right triathlon wetsuit for you (which is a dark art in itself!).