It’s the first Tuesday of the month and that means it’s Tri Talk Tuesday time! Tri Talk Tuesday is our monthly triathlon blog linkup co-hosted by me, Courtney at The TriGirl Chronicles, and Phaedra at Blisters and Black Toenails. It was a weekly linkup last year and went to monthly in the off-season. Now that we’re rolling along with the tri season, we’re going to go bi-weekly – see the next theme listed at the bottom!
We’ve been through the Swim, the Bike, and the Run in this cycle of Tri Talk Tuesday, so naturally our next topic is the fourth discipline of triathlon: transitions! So today I’m sharing Five Triathlon Transition Tips!
Transitions are called the “fourth discipline of triathlon”, and are a pretty important part of the sport. They count in your race time, and are a skill that you can master. I’m
1. Practice both transitions. You’ll hear everyone say “practice transitions”, but I’m tossing in the word “both“. Why? Because I have a habit of neglecting to practice T1. Before the Columbia Triathlon a few weeks ago, I practiced my transition – the bike-to-run transition – and felt pretty confident about it.
But did I practice the swim-to-bike transition? No. And then I had a disaster of a time getting off my wetsuit and ready for my bike leg. It was seriously awful. So even though it’s a pain to put on that wetsuit just to peel it right off, you really need to practice T1 too!
2.Group it by T1 & T2. Set up your gear according to what you’ll need during T1 and T2, grouped together. I don’t like to be fumbling around with my bike stuff when I’m trying to grab what I need for the run. I like to set up my bike stuff closest to me since I need it first. When you run back to your transition spot, you don’t want to think too hard – you want to grab what you need and go.
I did one race last year that had separate T1 and T2 areas. Even though this was a pain to think through, it made for less fuss during the race. T2 was already grouped together since it was the only stuff on that towel!
3. Prep the stuff on the towel. Get everything ready for a smooth and efficient transition. I open the velcro on my shoes, turn the bike helmet upside-down, open the chin strap, place the sunglasses in an open position, and make sure my bike gloves are ready to slide on with their velcro closures open.
Take a look at this transition set-up photo from last year’s Ironman 70.3 Augusta – it’s not quite as good a set-up as the one at the top of the post from this year – my visor could be upside down and ready to just flip on my head, and the bike helmet is turned over but backwards. I may have tightened up my setup after I snagged my wetsuit and swim stuff off the towel – I think this photo is from early in the morning.
4. Walk through it. This entails three things:
First, make sure you’ve identified the “Swim In”, “Bike Out”, Bike In”, and “Run Out” locations in transition so that you’re not running in the wrong direction from your transition spot.
Second, note what position your rack is – count the racks to your bike from each “In” entrance, or find another way to remember where you are located. Anything but the pretty bike next to yours, because it might not be there when you get out of the water.
Last, take a look at everything on the towel and think through T1 & T2 step-by-step. Taking that moment to think through running in from the swim start, getting ready for the bike, and leaving the transition area, then in and out for the run, can ensure you don’t waste time going the wrong direction and that nothing is left behind.
5. Breathe. During T1 and T2, go quickly but don’t rush around frantically and lose your cool. Take a moment to breathe and be confident. When I feel harried and stressed, I take way more time than when I’m relaxed and confident. It’s all about efficiency!
Last year, I published a really comprehensive triathlon transition checklist – feel free to print it and use it! It’s kind of a kitchen-sink list, and you can see above that I don’t put all those things on my actual transition towel, so it’s more of a “race-day checklist”.
Looking for more triathlon tips? All previous Tri Talk Tuesday posts can be found here.
Have you ever had anything go wrong during a transition?
Remember, Tri Talk Tuesday is going bi-weekly so join us on Tuesday, June 16 for TRIATHLON RACE ETIQUETTE.