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Tips To Save Time On Your Triathlon Transition

Updated on November 26, 2012
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer, he ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

Transition: The fourth discipline in a Triathlon

Triathlons pose a unique challenge to Triathletes. To a beginner they lack the fluidity and control that are experienced within each of the main three sporting disciplines. They can often feel very forced and chaotic.

It can take many hours of running, swimming or cycling to take mere seconds from a specific element of the race. However what if you could save yourself some with very little effort within your transition?

Triathlon tips for a faster, smoother triathlon transition for beginner, intermediates and pro's.

Where's your bike? Know where your spot is

Know where your spot is for a quicker, smoother triathlon transition
Know where your spot is for a quicker, smoother triathlon transition | Source

Remember where you left your bike and equipment

Transitions can be very chaotic- especially if you arrive there with a number of other athletes. You will likely have even seen pro-triathletes make mistakes and miss their transition spot in the past.

Pay attention to where you are in transition. Walk through transition before your race so you can visualize your transition spot from you point of entry from the swim and bike and exit onto the bike and run phase of your race.

Never associate your position with someone else's brightly coloured bike, helmet or shoes. What happens if they're ahead of you in the race and you can'y spot their bike in transition?

A Triathlon is not a fashion parade

In theory you only need one outfit for your triathlon. A one piece tri-suit can be worn under a wetsuit, as well as for your bike leg and run. This will save time by having to change clothing throughout your race.

The only exception really has to be for an Ironman where the use of a specific pair of padded cycling shorts would be a significantly more comfortable option for the long bike leg

Keep your transition spot organised and minimal

The image below shows how a position at transition should look. Do you really need anything more than your simple race equipment at your transition spot? NO

If you have too much you potentially can end up interfering with others' race.

Neatness allow you to view everything you need for your race in front of you- you shouldn't need to go rampaging through a kit bag for you sunglasses as the sun look like it might come out.

If you have any nutrition products and drinks bottles to use consider having them attached to your bike securely. It saves them being pushed away during your (or someone else's) transition. It also means that you have access to them once you're into the stability and control of the bike leg.

Keep your area neat and tidy. Organisation is key

How a transition spot should look
How a transition spot should look | Source

Slide that wetsuit off nice and easily!

For a faster swim to run transition consider using some anti-chafe solution on the outside of your wetsuit. Apply to to the lower arms and lower legs- the bits of your tri wetsuit which you have to take extra effort to remove. The anti-chafe solution will ease wetsuit removal and speed up your transition.

Do some cyclocross training for a better transition

Have you ever watched a cyclo-cross race? Cyclocross involves multiple mounts and dismounts of the bike over obstacles and is exceptionally technical. Learning cyclocross style dismounts and re-mounting techniques will help you save seconds while you can race over that white line that shows when you can get on/ off your bike in a smooth, quick manner.

You might just enjoy cyclocross and use it over the winter for training too!

Cyclocross- teaching smooth and efficient mount and dismount technique for Triathlon

Use cyclocross to improve your bike mount and dismount technique and save seconds on your transition
Use cyclocross to improve your bike mount and dismount technique and save seconds on your transition | Source

Do you really need to wear a pair of socks?

By added a pair of socks you add some time to your transition. Consider cycling and running sock free. Most triathlon specific cycling shoes fit like gloves without socks and you might actually find your running shoes feel more like a pair of comfy old slippers without socks too.

The other downside is that when you put a pair of socks onto already wet/ damp feet in transition you end up with a damp pair of socks and this can lead to discomfort and blisters while completing your event.

Practice, practice, practice your transitions

Practice makes perfect. Especially in transition.

Good luck in your next Triathlon

If you have any tips for the perfect transition or feel any of the above doesn't work for you please leave feedback in the comments below.


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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks for the feedback Brainy Bunny. I'm sure your husband will love his first sprint triathlon and the information above should help him stay organised in what may likely be a little chaos for him

    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 6 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      My husband is training for his first triathlon sprint, so I'm going to recommend your hubs to him. Looks like solid advice!