April 6, 2018
Triathlon, it’s all about the swimming, cycling and running, right? But have you ever heard of the fourth discipline? It might only last a fraction of the entire race but the transition is often an undervalued part of both training and racing. Executing a fast and efficient transition doesn’t only save you time but allows you to shift between each leg of the race in a calm state of mind, allowing you to focus on the race and not on whether you have forgotten your nutrition or race number! As the season approaches with Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon on the 26th and 27th May, the first stage of the Castle Triathlon Series, it’s now the perfect time to start testing, practising and refining your transition! As always, every athlete has their preferred transition method but in this blog, I’ll be giving you five top tips on how to execute a well drilled and fast transition!
Tip 1: Test, Practice and Refine
Simulating a race scenario is a key part of all triathlon training, and going through transition motions are a central part of this. From unzipping your wetsuit to mounting and dismounting your bike, every time you practise, it’s a step closer to being more efficient and faster come race day. If you’re just starting out in triathlon, don’t feel as if you have to start by jumping on your bike. Build up to that level of skill and over time with race experience, you might even be faster than the Brownlee brothers!
Tip 2: Minimise your transition tasks
Minimising your transition tasks doesn’t mean compromising on vital equipment and nutrition. Instead, it’s all about efficiency and simplifying the whole process so that once you come to your transition area, you only have a few tasks to execute rather than a dozen! When exiting the water, take your goggles and swim hat off and as you run towards transition, start to peel off your wetsuit so that once you get to your transition area, it’s just a matter of taking the bottom half off. When it comes to bike tools and nutrition, ensure it’s already strapped to your bike, eliminating another transition task.
Tip 3: Cycling and Running shoes, elastics are the way to go!
A triathlete’s best friend in transition, elastics are the best way to speed up your transition in both T-1 and T-2. When it comes to the swim to bike transition (T-1), you can use elastics to attach your triathlon cycling shoes to your bike. This allows you to mount or jump on your bike without running with your shoes on, avoiding damaged cleats and speeding up your transition. When it comes to the bike to run transition (T-2), elastic laces are your go-to method to get you onto the last leg of the race even faster. A simple slide in the shoe and pull on the elastic laces and you’ll be passing your fellow competitors in a flash before starting the run.
Tip 4: Know your race course, including the transition area!
I myself have been guilty of not knowing the race course, thinking that I can just follow the competitor in front of me. Obviously if you did this in transition, chances are, you would find yourself quite far away from your own transition area! So when it comes to the race course, ensure that you know each part of the race, whether that be the number of swim laps, transition entry and exit points, or even the bike elevation. This will ensure that come race day you are prepared mentally to race, keeping you calm and efficient in transition.
Tip 5: Mentally prepare before each transition zone.
If you’ve accomplished Tip 4, then Tip 5 should come with ease. Whether you’re exiting the swim or dismounting the bike, now is the time to focus on the transition and put the practice and memorisation into effect. By doing this I’ve found that it also helps me to not dwell on the previous part of the race and stay positive, especially if it wasn’t going quite to plan. Positivity and adaptability are key strengths in all types of racing, so if something goes wrong in transition, or during any part of the race, do your best to remain adaptable to the situation and enjoy the race!
I wish you the speediest of transitions and good luck in your 2018 triathlon adventures!