How to improve your transitions

Seconds saved or lost in transition might be the difference between the top step of the podium and second place. Or missing that prized qualification slot. The skills required for fast transitions can be learned and practiced so they become second nature.  

  • For example start practicing running with your bike holding the seat so that you can steer it in a straight line. Probably the quickest win is to be able to take your feet out of your shoes when entering T2 as you transition from bike to run. This enables you to run much faster with the bike. Practice taking your feet out of the shoes and pedaling the last 50m to transition, swinging one leg over the saddle so both feet are the same side of the bike and dismounting and running all in one smooth motion.
  • Don’t get stuck in your wet suit! The newer wetsuits and high end models have thinner panels in the legs and arms for quick exits. Start to get out of your wetsuit as you run stripping it down to your waist. A tip here is once you have exited the swim simply put your goggles on your head, while you get your arms out of the suit. Holding your goggles in your hand significantly increases the risk of dropping them and losing valuable seconds
  • Do as much as you can on the move. In triathlon the more you can do on the move the less time you will waste. For example, on exiting T2 put your gels in your pockets and your visor on your head as you start the run. As soon as you have your shoes on start moving through T2.

Simple guidelines to having a smooth transitions:

  • Make sure everything that you need for T1 and T2 is packed carefully in your transition bags.
  • Put your bike in an easy gear so it’s easy to pedal quickly away from the mount line.
  • Remember where they are placed on the transition racks.
  • Practice walking from the swim exit to T1 so you can find your bag easily.
  • Walk through T1 to where your bike is racked – pick some reference point so you know where to find it (e.g 2nd rack / 3rd section).
  • Practice walking from the bike racking area in T2 to find your T2 bag so on race day you know where it is pegged.
  • Use sped laces suchs as Greeper laces.
  • Stay calm.

Transition skills can be practiced. It is often said that Age Groupers practice until they get it right whereas Pros practice so they don’t get it wrong. 

By David Hunt, Certified Trisutto Coach

Headline photo by Mike Bermingham

Posted on 3rd Mar 2024