How to perform great triathlon transitions

Posted by William 23/04/2019 0 Comment(s)

How to nail your transitions.


You’ve been training for months for your race season, you’ve managed to whittle your swim, bike, run times down to perfection, you’ve got your nutrition working perfectly - so you really don’t want to risk adding valuable seconds or minutes in a poor transition.

It’s the easiest thing to leave until the last minute but, not only will it add precious time to your overall race result, a poor transition can leave you flustered and knock your positive mindset out of whack for the next stage of the race.

As with the rest of your training, transitions require preparation, and practice. Let’s break it down into two parts: training and on-the-day organisation.


Training days

In training, it’s a good idea to have a number of brick sessions where you practice your transitions. Bike to run is the most obvious and most easy to practice. All you need to do is set up your socks and trainers, and remember to leave your helmet on until your bike is secure!

In Britain, you may not get quite as many opportunities to practice your swim to bike but it really is key – wetsuits can be tricky! And you need to remember that things like watches can get in the way of a quick wetsuit removal. This is a good time to practice bike rack set up, and make sure your helmet goes on last and is fastened before you move your bike. If you plan on using bands to pre-clip your shoes, you must practice this repeatedly to avoid any accidents on race day.


The night before.

Assuming you have your bike checked and ready to go, now is the time to make sure everything is packed. Make a list of everything you need and check it off as you go. It’s good practice to lay it all out on your bed before you pack it and take a picture, and send to a friend so they can check you’re not missing anything. It also means if you wake up at 3am panicking that you’ve forgotten your favourite visor, you can check your picture without unpacking your whole bag.


Race day organisation.

This is key to avoid any mistakes on race day. First and foremost, make sure your bike is racked in the correct spot, facing the correct way, and you know exactly where the entry and exit points are so you don’t get lost during the race. In the busier events, it is so easy to do.

Also check if you can take boxes into transition – it’s great to keep the rain off but most races are very strict about what you can leave in the transition area


T1 order

I usually have the following order at the nose end of my bike, starting from the bottom up:

  1. Cycle shoes with socks in them facing down in case it rains, on top of a plastic bag
  2. Spare clothes if needed eg top / gloves
  3. Towel on top
  4. Water and nutrition to the side for a long race (extra, not what is coming with you)
  5. Helmet on top of towel or on tri bars – this should go on first if possible.

Nutrition and water / Active Root should be already stored on bike along with your repair kit. If you are not allowed to wear race belts in the swim, remember to leave your belt / number here.


T2 order

Behind my T1 pile I have my T2 / Run essentials:

  1. Trainers facing down
  2. For long events (Ironman and longer), rucksack on top of shoes (with food / fuel / clothes)
  3. Visor / Hat on top if wearing
  4. Spare nutrition to the side if needed

Don’t forget to switch your race belt round to the front at this point if needed. And don’t forget a pair of shoes or flip flops to wear out of transition if it’s cold or hard ground, as well as taking your swim cap, goggles and wetsuit with you!


So, what have we missed? Let us know your tips and tricks to nail transition!