Triathlon Transition Tips

Triathlon Transition Tips
Every second counts. The poor mans practical transition tips for Triathlons. From swim to bike to run.

One thing you realise very quickly is that when it comes to transitions, every second counts. Look at it this way.

Jogging at 12kph, you are moving at around 3,3m per second

Running at 30kmph you are moving at around 8,3m per second

Triathlon Transition Tips

Waste 30 seconds on your transition and you are having to catch up 100m on the run and about 250m on a bike. Faster transitions is a good way to get ahead of the game. I am not a professional or sponsored triathlete and I should really find a triathlon coach here, but I do participate in triathlons, usually the Warringahs traithlon here and a couple of others and these are my what I think are cheap, simple and practical tips to help you with a faster transition, from experience:

  1. Plan ahead, think through each transition, especially at the end of each stage
  2. Do as little as possible at each change. Common sense but you might have to forgo the bike computer, turning bike lights on or putting on cycling gloves etc. Think through each change, what you really need and do as little as possible
  3. In this vein, get a triathlon one piece suit. Again, putting on a top or shorts etc just adds seconds and is something else to do. I use the 2xu suit which is great.Not cheap thought but if you are lucky like me you can find them on sale at the end of season reduced by 50% or more.(No affiliation to 2XU)
  4. Take a water bottle to rinse your feet after the swim, quick and easy.
  5. Take a towel, put it down next to your bike and lay down everything in a logical order. Make sure there is enough space next to your bike.
  6. Arrive early and get a good spot and space for your change station and bike. Remember where it is. Use a helium balloon if you have to.
  7. Ditch the shoe laces on your bike and running shoes and get the quck draw or elastic laces that can be done up quickly. Cheap addition and make life a lot easier
  8. Make sure you leave your bike in the right gear
  9. Run with your bike, in fact run everywhere as fast as you can in the transition area
  10. Only wear a wetsuit if you really have to. If you do start pealing it off as you leave the water. Use vaseline to make this easier.
  11. If you are fancy and have your shoes attached to your bike, use elastic bands to attach the back to the frame to keep them hoizontal. Easier to put your feet on and less chance of them hitting the ground and coming off the pedal which will waste a lot of time. Can be a finicky set up, but does make life easier. Make sure you can actually get your foot into your shoe while riding!
  12. Take your gels with you, dont try have them in the transition area. Duh..
  13. Start spinning and sit forward if you are not on a triathlon spring bike to prepare your legs for the run
  14. There is a school of thought that suggests getting our of your shoes before you transition. Personally, I think this is a bad plan, you slow down in doing this, then run in socks or barefoot to your station, can damage your feet or get thm full of dirt and thus discomfort on the run. Flipping them off once you get to your station is pretty quick.
  15. Hang your helmet on the bike, so when you start running you can also fit the helmet at the same time
  16. Put your sunnies on your bike, pick them up and put on as soon as you start moving the bike.
  17. Don't bring new stuff, only the tried and tested.
  18. Make sure your chip timer is secure and comfortable
  19. Pin your number on a running belt or spibelt
  20. Be focussed, don't look at what others are doing during the transition

Dont forget:

  • Spare pump
  • Water bottles
  • Cycling shoes
  • Running shoes
  • Spare socks
  • Running cap
  • To charge all the right batteries
  • Mark your stuff, name and phone number
  • Sun screen (if required)
  • Goggles (Check they fit properly)
  • Race number, pinned on a running belt is often easier
  • Helmet and sun glasses
  • GPS watch or bike computer if you have one
  • Gels
  • Towels
  • To cut your toenails

And remember

  • No drafting
  • No headphones
  • No glass bottles in transition area
  • No outside assistance or gear

Good luck and when you done, you might need a massage. You can find them all here.