Transitions – what are they and how can you improve?

Most triathletes spend the bulk of their training time focused on the three events: swimming, cycling, and running. But the transition between each event also requires specific training. Each triathlon has two transitions: a swim-to-bike (T1) and a bike-to-run (T2).  If you have never been shown what to do in a transition it can be very daunting! Knowing what to do in transtion is important to ensure you have a good race, PLUS a good transition can improve your position and can even save you minutes on your overall time! So here are some basic tips to help you perfect your transitions. To learn more try one of our beginner training programs.

Setting up your transition

  • Your gear should be located on the RIGHT HAND side of your bike. So whether you rack by your saddle or bars, always set up your gear on the right.
  • If you don’t already have them – invest in a pair of elastic laces for your runners! Replace your normal laces with elastic ones and presto – you will be in and out of transition in no time!
  • Another good tip is to sprinkle the inside of your shows with baby powder.  This helps them slide on easier and soaks up any moisture.
  • Line your gear up in the order you will be using it. Ie bike shoes, runners and helmet on top.  Place sun glasses in your helmet if you are wearing them, and always have your helmet unbuckled and straps out to make it easier to put straight on.


Transition 1 (T1): Swim to Bike

Coming out of the swim

  • Stay calm in your transition! There’s nothing worse than not being able to get out of your wetsuit, fumbling around, or dropping your helmet. You want a fast transition, but you also want it to go smoothly.
  • Don’t touch your bike until you have done up your helmet.  It is illegal, so you could get disqualified!
  • Once you have your helmet secure, put your bike shoes on (if they aren’t already clipped onto your bike) and you are ready to roll!
  • Un-rack your bike and run with it on your right-hand side, holding your seat with your right hand.
  • Your bike should already be set in an easy gear, run your bike out to the mount line and jump on. REMEMBER, you can’t jump on your bike until you past the mounting line. There are many ways of mounting your bike, but this needs to be shown and practiced.  (join one of our  beginner training programs to learn how the pro’s do it!)


Transition 2 (T2): Bike to Run

  • Slow down ready to dismount at the dismount line. Remember, you must have both feet on the ground BEFORE the dismount line.
  • Keep your helmet fastened until your bike is racked back where you began.
  • Rack your bike, and take off your helmet – do this FIRST to avoid running out with it still on your head! Put on your runners (if not already on).  If you don’t have elastic laces then you need to get some ASAP!
  • If wearing a hat on the run, don’t put it on in transition – just grab it and go! It’s quicker to put on while running.  (more seconds you will save!)
  • And last but not least – enjoy crossing the finishing line! It’s all about the photo, so remember to smile!

Remember, a good transition takes practice and time to master, use these tips and tricks and practice, practice, practice.

Want to learn more?

Join our specifically designed beginner training programs.

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