A triathlon consists of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines. The most common being swimming, cycling and running. Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion time, including timed transitions between each component.
As a veteran triathlete and USA Triathlon certified coach, Bellevue Club Fitness Director Stacy Munn shares her tips and tricks to a tactical transition.
“Just like swimming, biking and running, practicing transitions will make you a better triathlete. Have a plan, and practice it before your race,” Munn says. “Shaving off 30 seconds in your transition time can make a big difference in your overall standings.”
Transition One: Swim to Bike
• Do a visual walk-through of the full path from exiting the transition “swim in” to your bike, then “bike out.” Studies show that visualizing yourself calmly moving from one step of any routine to another will decrease the amount of unnecessary adrenaline that could distract you.
• Leave your cap and goggles inside the sleeve of your wetsuit when stripping it off as you’re running to the transition area.
• Do not sit down in the transition area to take off your wetsuit or put on your shoes.
• Leave your bike in an appropriate gear when you rack it. Make sure it’s not a hard gear to push.
• Don’t wear your race number on your body during the bike portion unless the race specifies you have to. In most races, you only need a race number on your bike, not your body.
Transition Two: Bike to Run
• Tying your shoes in the transition area takes time. Eliminate this step by using speed laces.
• To help your feet slide into your running shoes smoothly, prime them with baby powder.
• Keep moving along the course while you’re putting on a visor, fuel belt and sunglasses rather than standing in the transition area.
Remember, practiced and smooth transitions can help with a lot more than just your time. Athletes that can transition from one leg to another quickly while conserving energy have a clear advantage going into the next leg.