Triathlon is a dynamic and challenging sport. When one thinks broadly of the sport, what comes to mind is swimming, running and cycling — obviously. However, the transitions between each leg are very important parts of the competition. Effective transitions are paramount to a serious competitor’s success. It is the moments between legs that really separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s take a look at some ways that triathletes can optimize their transitions.
Don’t Lose the Bike!
A common issue during the water to cycle transition (the first, known as T-1), is wasted time looking for the bike. When you emerge from the water, the last thing you want to do is spend extra time looking for your bike. Shifting from water to solid ground can be disorienting, but you don’t to compound any delays by wondering the row of cycles looking for yours.
The way to avoid this is to get to the race early and very consciously choose where you are going to place it. Let this position cement itself into your memory. As you step out of the water, you should already have your eyes on where your bike is. No one is going to move it, so be confidant about where you’ve placed in and you’ll have a smooth T-1.
The Little Things
There are few little tips that can shave some time off your first transition. These little tricks may not make a huge difference, but for elite level competitors, they can be helpful. For example, don’t put your sunglasses on until you’ve already mounted your bike. Once you are rolling, you can lower you sunglasses. Often, shades can be secured in the vent holes on your helmet, so sliding them down after you’re astride and on your way is easy. If your helmet and sunglasses aren’t compatible, you can secure the glasses to your bike frame with tape or velcro.
Also, try using elastic laces. Shoe laces can be tricky to tie, especially when your heart rate is up and adrenaline is flowing. Substitute your normal laces for elastic ones will allow you to slip your shoes on and off easily. To that same end, try and forgo socks. Not worrying about socks can help insure a quick transition from water to land.
These are just a few tips to expediting your transition times. Experiment with these and see if they make you feel faster!