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Tips For Faster Transitions In Your Next Triathlon

Tips for faster Transitions in your next triathlon

Regardless of the distance you compete at, transitions are a crucial part of the race during a triathlon. We all know that guy who uses T1 as a breakfast break, uses the bathroom, wanders around shopping for his next bike, and finally finds his bike. He comes back for T2, has a wonderful 3 course dinner, changes everything from his clothing to his hair color, puts on his shoes, and goes for a lovely walk towards the transition exit. Now, I’m hoping this isn’t you spending 40 minutes in transition, but if you are even spending 6-20 minutes in transition, these tips will help you cruise through in far less time at your next race!

Most of executing a quick transition comes down to having a plan and executing that plan. Here are 5 things to use in your transition plan at your next race.

1. Walk transition

When you arrive at the race to rack your bike, most athletes head to their number, throw their bike on, and call it good. They snap a couple photos of their bike on the rack, find the exit, and won’t see that bike again until they are in transition during the race. Spending a few extra minutes around the transition area can make a big difference when your head is still spinning during the race. Head to the swim-in and from there find the quickest way to your bike. Which lane through transition will be fastest? Where is the best footing in that lane? Before finding which lane to take, check each end of the rack your bike is on. Does someone have a super easy to spot neon bike? This will be way easier to find during the race than reading numbers on the ends of the rack. After your route to your bike is complete, practice it a couple times. Then do the same for your way out of transition!

2. Make a plan for the moment you arrive at your bike

Alright so you made it to your bike…now what? Too many athletes will stand there mesmerized by the daunting task of putting on socks, or starting their bike computer, and they end up twiddling their thumbs until fate decides what they should do next. Do not let this be you! Create a plan that simplifies the order. When you arrive at your bike in T1, or to drop off your bike for T2, you need to know exactly what the next step is. Get as specific as you can, do not stop at socks on, then shoes. Which sock will go on first? Which shoe will go on first? Have an order for every single item that goes into your transition and you will be faster on race day!

3. Create a layout that works for your plan!

You now have a plan but does your layout in transition set you up for success in that

plan? The next step in a fast transition is setting up the layout at your bike to mirror your plan that you created! Whatever is going on first should be closest to you/the isle between racks. Last items should be in the back. This way you are never working over any items and knocking things around or misplacing anything. Set a towel down, and line up your items side by side, front to back, first to last.

4. Practice

So now you have your layout set, and your plan on how you will attack each and every item you have with you, and just like the other 3 disciplines, you need to practice. My favorite place to practice is an empty parking lot. Use the parking rows as pretend bike rack lanes and lay down chalk for a dismount line or use a crack in the road. Start just outside the lane that you are set up at, come down your lane to your car and your transition set up like it will be in the race, and go through it at race speed. Finish transition 1, head to the bike mount line, and practice your mount. This is another area to make sure you know how you will attack this part of transition. What side is easier for you to mount on? Are you able to do a flying mount, or will you step over? Try a few different things until you find the one that works for you. If you are going to try a flying mount, start with your seat lower and slowly move it up to your position as you grow in your ability. Remember to take out any rear hydration as you learn too. Once you have your mount down, ride around for a minute, and head back to your transition. Head to the mount/dismount line set up and practice dismounting your bike is just like mounting, you need to use a style of dismount you are confident in. Whether it be a flying dismount or standing, practice making it faster! Dismount your bike and practice transition 2 at race speed. Repeat all of this for 30 minutes 1 or 2 times per month and you will see a big difference in your speed through each transition.

5. Kick Hard!

It’s race day! You are coming to the swim exit, you see the arch and you are finally almost out of the water! Now comes the part where you stumble, dizzy and not quite with it through transition with Jell-O legs right? Wrong! You can be with it, you can do more than stumble your way through transition. All you need to do is kick! You know… that thing you always tend to forget to do? During your swim, you are bringing all the blood into your arms to fuel your muscle movement. Once you hit those last few buoys, it’s time to get that blood back into your legs where it will stay for the rest of the race. Focus on a strong and consistent kick for the final few minutes of the swim, and you will hit land with better legs, and a clear mind to execute the plan you have created and practiced!

Now that you have all the tools you need to crush your transitions in your next race, go out, make that plan, and get after it!

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