Making Faster Triathlon Transitions

Transition Set Up Photo Courtesy Rob JohnstonHere are some simple steps to help you make faster transitions during a triathlon.  Wither this is your first triathlon or you’ve reached a point that your life is defined by your training and pursuit of the podium, making a fast transition is important. It is the one area where minutes can be shaved off your time and you can have the satisfaction that you’ve minimized the loafing time.  With any event it is the after event thoughts that plague, “why didn’t I push it harder on the bike or the run? Could I have been faster in my transitions?”

Practice, practice, practice.  A week before the race may not be the time to start practicing your transitions, but I suspect for the majority of folks that’s when it happens.  When your training and doing bricks (run to bike or visa versa) set your self up a mini transition area and see  what works for you.

Set your bike up and remember where you’ve parked it, some folks have used balloons or luggage ties – something colorful to draw attention to your spot. If you are on asphalt colored chalk is a good way to mark where your bike is.  Trim your bib number and then tape your bid number on your bike on the seat post to keep things aerodynamic and make sure you can ride without it flapping, rubbing, or annoying you.

Layout your towel – this really isn’t for drying off after the swim its for marking your territory and keeping your feet clean and comfy while you get your shoes on and off. Layout your helmet and glasses. Put your running shoes on top of your bib and racebelt so it doesn’t blow away. Have your socks, hat, and what ever race food you plan on taking with you in a neat and sequential order.
If you are running without socks, put body glide on the heals of both shoes to prevent any hotspots.

T1 – getting out of the swim a lot people are dizzy and wobbly so be cautious.
Getting out the wetsuit: before getting out of the water – pull the neck of your wetsuit and get a good gulp of water down the front, this will eliminate some of the vacuum and stickiness.  Pull your zip, remove the arms in quick fashion and kick out your legs while keeping one leg on the wetsuit.

Always put your helmet on first, then glasses, bib number (turned around to the back) and shoes. For the serious folks have your shoes clipped in and ready to go and use a rubber band to keep them parallel for easy mounting and slide the shoes on while on the move – this takes some practice. Here’s a good video on making a fast T1 transition

T2 – on entry remove your feet from the shoes and leave them on the bike, run along, park the bike, remove helmet and put on your running shoes, adding a little talc powder will help in getting sweaty feet into the socks and shoes, tighten laces, turn your bib number around and off you go.  Watch the video on making a fast T2 transition.

Your Thoughts:

  • What has helped you in transitions?
  • What advise would you give first time triathletes on making efficient transitions?
  • Socks/ no socks?
  • Do you worry about fast transitions in Half or Full Ironman triathlons?

2 Replies to “Making Faster Triathlon Transitions”

  1. Keeping your cycling shoes actually attached to the pedals let’s you get out of transition faster and get into your cleats AFTER T1

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