3 Steps to Make Your Triathlon Transition Effortless

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  • Matt Cook
  • |
  • May 11, 2017 9:00:00 AM

3-Steps-to-Make-Your-Triathlon-Transition-Effortless.jpgDid you know that your triathlon transition time is included in your overall race time? If you perform well in the swimming, cycling, and running portions, but take too long to change your clothes, you could end up with a disappointing time. To get a good time in your next triathlon, it’s important to pay attention to your transition time. Here are three steps to make your triathlon transition effortless on race day.

1. Practice Your Transition

When you’re training for a triathlon, you spend a lot of time training for the three individual disciplines. Many training plans have you swim twice a week, bike twice a week, and run twice a week. After all that practice, your skills will improve. However, you may not be including any transition practice in your routine. You need to practice something to get better at it, and that applies to transitions, too.

The easiest way to practice your transitions is to include them in your brick workouts. If you’re not doing brick workouts yet, it’s time to start. During brick workouts, you train disciplines one after another, which simulates the real race. Brick workouts are usually bike/run, but you should also practice the transition between swimming and biking. After you finish your first workout, change your clothes and equipment, just like you would during a real race, and move on to the second workout.

Transitions can be clumsy and slow at first, but in no time, you’ll become more efficient. If you’re having trouble improving your transition time, try filming yourself during your transitions. You can then look at the video to see inefficiencies or errors that are slowing you down. 

2. Wear Multi-Purpose Clothing

Are you wearing different clothing for each leg of the race? Changing all of your clothes between each leg takes a lot of time, and it’s not necessary. To save time during your transitions, wear multi-purpose clothing. When your clothing is suitable for more than one leg of the race, you have one less thing to worry about in the transition zone.

Swapping your current racing clothes for a tri suit is an easy way to save time in the transition zone. Tri suits are designed specifically for triathlons, and they’re available in both one- and two-piece models. These suits are designed to be used for all legs of the triathlon. After you finish the swim portion of the race, you can hop on your bike in your tri suit, and when it’s time to run, you can keep wearing your tri suit. This saves a lot of time.

If you don’t want to wear a tri suit, try to choose other clothing that can be used for more than one leg of the race. For example, if you’re wearing a pair of cycling shorts for the bike leg, and switching to a pair of running shorts for the running leg, find a pair of shorts that works well for both. Cycling shorts with removable padding are a good choice.

3. Don’t Rush

When you’re in the transition zone, it’s tempting to rush and to try to get through the zone as quickly as possible. Rushing can actually slow you down since you’re more likely to make mistakes when you’re in a hurry. If you’re moving so quickly that you’re dropping things or forgetting to put on important gear, you’re just going to slow yourself down.

Instead of rushing, calmly and steadily work through your transition routine. Pace yourself, and make sure you do everything right the first time. If you did enough triathlon transition practice during training, you should be on autopilot during your transition.

Topics: Triathlon Training


Matt Cook

Matt Cook

Father of 3 and former competitive swimmer, Matt completed his first Ironman 70.3 in 2013 in Muskoka. He has since completed another 70.3 and is planning on doing a full Ironman in 2016 or 2017. Matt took up triathlons for the challenge, to relax and to just to stay in shape so he can enjoy life with his family.

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