When we go to races it always amazes us how much time people spend in transition.
It's like they think their time stops in transition. News flash: It doesn't!
When we first started doing triathlons transition quickly become one of our favorite parts of the race, and we have both landed higher podium spots after being slower on the swim, bike and run simply because of a fast transition!
So what does a perfect transition look like?
The transition set up
We position what we need first closest to our feet. Anything you need for the bike is closest to you when you get to transition, that way it's gone when you are ready for your run gear.
At the front, bike shoes are opened all the way and either on the ground or already clipped into the pedals.
Helmet resting upside down on the bike is fastest if it'll stay, with the straps open, not tucked into the helmet. You can also rest your helmet upside on top of your bike shoes if it won't stay on your bike. Sunglasses, if worn, also open inside the helmet with the arms sticking up and easy to grab.
At the back, run shoes are as open as possible. Hat, sunglasses and race belt are in a pile easy to grab. These can all be sorted out and put on while moving!
Socks are rolled or folded open in half so you are only sliding "half the sock" over your foot, then unfolding the rest onto your foot. This is much faster when feet are wet!
The transition movements
Before the race starts always walk/jog your transition route, pausing at your stuff and thinking through the actions you'll take when you arrive at your spot.
A fast transition begins as the previous discipline ends. You want to have a plan for the exact actions you'll take as soon as you cross the timing mat into transition.
As you are running to your spot from the swim go through the order you'll be putting on your helmet, sunglasses and shoes. As you finish the bike think through the order you'll put socks and shoes on.
I think: Right, right, left, left, grab, go!
Meaning: Right sock, right shoe. Left sock, left shoe, grab the bundle and run!
Many people waste time getting their hat and race belt all situated standing in transition, when really this can very easily be done while moving through transition.
As you return to transition, everything gets tossed as far back as possible. When I finish a race, my helmet, goggles, swim cap and anything else carried are in a piled almost directly under the transition rack bar.
Like every part of a triathlon, the key to a fast transition is to practice! Whether that's practicing while doing a brick workout, or taking specific time to set up a transition space and run through it a few times, practice will make you faster.
When you first begin practicing go slow. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast!
Do you have a good transition tip? Share it with us!