Transitions are one of the most important part of a triathlon. No matter how many miles you log in training, if you forget something important for your transitions, you may be SOL when it comes to race day. Transitions can also make or break you if you are trying to hit a certain finish time or place in your division. The other day I read some transition tips in Bicycling Magazine and I wanted to share:
Get Organized Lay out a small towel and arrange your gear on it according to sport. At the top, put your running shoes, socks, race belt, hat and any nutrition products you’ll take with you for the run. In the middle, position your cycling shoes (if they’re not clipped to your pedals). At the bottom of the towel, place anything you might need in transition, such as fluids and gels.
Rack Your Bike for Speed Rack your bike by the saddle with the handlebar facing out. Place your helmet on the bar faceup with your opened glasses placed inside. When you come into the first transition, put your glasses on first, then your helmet. Grab your bike and go.
Shoe Your Bike Clip your shoes to your bike. After you cross the mount line out of transition, jump onto your bike bringing your feet on top of the shoes and start pedaling. As you reach cruising speed, coast and slip your feet into the shoes, then cinch the straps down. Near the end of the bike leg, loosen the straps and slip your feet out of the shoes coming back into transition.
I have never done this and know that it takes practice. As I was watching the leaders come into transition after the bike last week, I saw many of them pedaling with their feet on top of their shoes. Most elite triathletes also race without socks for both the bike and run. This also takes practice. Do not try to train with socks and just go without on race day. Bad idea!
Grease Your Kicks If you don’t wear socks, De-Boom suggests sprinkling a little baby powder inside your shoes to help your sweaty feet slide into them smoothly. “I also smear a dab of Vaseline around the top of the inside of my running shoes to further ease entry and prevent chafing,” she says.
Stuff on the Run Grab what you need and dash through T2. It’s more efficient to toss on your hat, strap on your fuel belt and stuff gels into your back pocket while you’re trotting out of transition than it is to stand in front of your rack. “The key is to keep moving,” says DeBoom.
See It Happen Dreaming of winning can help you race better. “Visualization is a very important part of the transition process,” DeBoom says. “Play it through your mind as part of your race preparation, so when you get there, it’ll all be automatic.”
What I learned in training for my first triathlon is that it is crucial to practice transitions. You will learn what you need and what you can cut from your routine. The more streamlined you can get it, the better. And practice taking your wetsuit off when it is wet as much as possible. I found that to be the hardest part and also the most exhausting. The more you practice, the less energy you will waste on this on race day.