Triathlon Transition Tips

Article written by Poseidon Triathlon Coach, Jim Brown 

Practice – Both mentally and physically. It’s much easier and quicker to shave a minute or even more off your overall time than to try to improve your swim, bike or run by the same amount.  You can improve your transition times by this much with just an hour or two of practicing. In contrast, it could take as a long as an entire season (or longer) to shave a minute off a 750m swim or a 5K run. Visualizing a quick, clean transition before the race and at the end of your swim and bike legs can help your performance.

Get in Gear Put your bike in the right gear for the course before you rack. You won’t want to be in a high gear if there’s a big hill ready to greet you immediately out of T2! Do your course recon first!

Make your transition spot a clutter free zone –For sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, you don’t need socks or a lot of other clutter. Eliminating unnecessary items will help you and others around you.

Bike shoes in the pedals – Put on your bike shoes while riding the course at 18 mi/hr instead of standing still in transition. (Unless T1 exits is on a big hill!) You can clip your shoes into place with rubber bands. There are lots of Youtube videos demonstrating this technique.

Run with your bike – After putting your helmet on, run upright with good form on the left side of your bike holding your seat with your right hand.

Flying Mount – Learn a flying mount & dismount. It’s good to practice on a trainer or a soft track surface first. There are lots of Youtube videos demonstrating this technique.

Your bike is your Sherpa—Tape Gels, and sunglasses (sometimes they’ll fit on the outside of your helmet), and whatever else you may need to your bike.  It’s a waste of time to rummage around the transition area looking for these items and packing them for the ride.

T1 and T2 are not fitting rooms – Any clothing changes, especially on a wet body takes lots of time. Triathlon suits are designed for swimming, biking and running, so you shouldn’t need to change clothes.

Location, Location, Location – Know where your bike is located, where the bike and run exits are, and the quickest route to them.  In huge transition areas, it’s sometimes a good idea to use a bright colored marker (I’ve seen balloons, teddy bears, old swim caps, chalk marks, etc.) to help you find your bike.

Stand up/Spin up/Stretch—The last few minutes on the bike should prepare you for the run. Stand up and pedal in a high gear first for a minute or two to shunt blood from your quadriceps to other muscles in your legs.  Stretch out your hamstrings and calf muscles, to get them ready to run.  Spin up in an easy gear at high cadence (90), which helps activate your neuromuscular system for running.

Use lace locks or speed laces (and body glide/baby powder)—Tying shoe laces takes time. Body glide or baby powder put in your shoe ahead of time can allow for quick foot entry into your shoe. It’s also faster to put on your shoes while standing as opposed to sitting down and getting up.   All of these race items can be found at CK SPORTS, located at 121 and Custer in McKinney.

Hit the road fastIn T2, grab what you need and go. Put on your hat, fuel, and race belt/bib while you are running.  Even if you are running slightly slower through transition, it’s better than standing still.


Never try anything new on race day!

ATTEND THE TRANSITION CLINIC AT CK SPORTS ON TUESDAY, MAY 15TH AT 6:30PM.  They are located at 8880 State Highway 121, McKinney, TX 75070

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