As keen Triathlete, you’re probably always looking for ways to become faster and more efficient. You probably read expert tips, do drills, intervals, and speed work, and do race-day simulation workouts. You practice as much as you can in order to shave off some valuable time during triathlons. The smarter you train and the stronger you race, the more you can improve.
But there might be one aspect of triathlons that you’re forgetting about in your need for speed: the triathlon transition. The transitions are the portions of the race between the sports where you quickly prepare for the next sport. The first is between swimming and biking and the second is between biking and running.
Master the triathlon transition and you could shave minutes off of your time. It might just be what you need to beat your competitors.
Use these five easy steps to master your triathlon transition.
Practice while Training
The most effective way to ensure that you can go through your triathlon transition smoothly is to practice ahead of time, during your training. Your training sessions will largely focus on biking, running, and swimming, but don’t forget to spend a bit of time on your transitions, too. Set up a transition area and run through the motions. Place everything exactly where they’re going to be in the race. Practice between brick workouts so you’ll get used to the mental and physical feelings of going through your triathlon transition while you’re out of breath and your body feels heavy. This will help you get comfortable and build muscle memory until the tasks are second nature to you. This way you won’t be frazzled and slow yourself down once it’s time to do it for real.
While you’re at the race site, before the triathlon has begun, take some time to scope out the transition area so you can get familiar with the layout. Learn exactly where your spot will be located. Look at the signs. Be sure you know where to get in and out of the area. Visualize your dress rehearsals. When you’re deprived of oxygen and exhausted mid-race, the transition area can become dizzying and confusing, so get acquainted with it ahead of time.
Proper Set Up
Get your triathlon transition area set up properly. Find your spot, place your bike on the rack by the nose of its seat. Ensure your bike number is on the bike. Pump your tires to the proper PSI, and make sure it’s stocked with nutrition and fluids. Set up your mat near your bike. For ease of transition, place your biking gear toward the front of the mat and your running gear by the back, since you’ll need your biking gear first.
Aim for Simplicity
The name of the game for quick transitions is simplicity. You don’t want your area to be too crowded and tight or it’ll become too difficult to navigate and you’ll end up wasting time. Only place on your mat the bare minimum essentials that you’re going to need. Leave the all the unnecessary items behind, use our Triathlon check lists for advice - put your bag or triathlonbox to the side of transition out of the way of other competitors. Space is limited so remember that less is more.
There’s no doubt about it, triathlon transitions can be stressful. The one thing that can slow you down, and also possibly get you hurt, is freaking out. You could crash your bike while mounting or dismounting, forget everything you’ve practiced, and freeze. Remember to keep calm, breathe, and go through the motions without panicking. Don’t let your nerves get to you.