Transitions are a unique part of triathlon. They may only last seconds to a few minutes but they become an integral part of the race. Here are three things you can do to speed up your transition.
Wear one outfit. There is no shortage of triathlon race gear on the market. There is literally something for every type of race- hot, cold, short, long, wetsuit, non wetsuit. With the exception of an Ironman where comfort is very important, there should be no need to change clothes during the transitions. Changing is slow, especially if your skin is wet!
2. Shoes on pedals
If the race permits it (sometimes in the age group categories this is not allowed)- learning how to leave your bike shoes on your pedals is a great way to gain speed in both the first and second transitions (T1 and T2). If your shoes are on your pedals you can literally put your helmet on then put your shoes on while you are moving forward on your bike. Coming into T2 you can leave your shoes on your pedals and do the last meters with your feet on top of your shoes. This will save you the time it would take to remove your shoes in the transition area- not to mention eliminating the sketchy practice of running in a bike shoe, which can be quite lethal. This skill takes some practice and is great to learn in the winter months on your wind or turbo trainer where the bike is stationary and it’s safe. If you ride a trainer in the winter months leave your shoes on the pedals all winter and practice going in and out of them on a regular basis. Once you are confident on the trainer, start practicing the skill in a safe environment like an empty parking lot or a grass field.
3. Elastic Laces or Toggles
There should be absolutely no reason to tie up your shoe laces during the second transition. There are plenty of products available that can eliminate the need to do this. Elastic laces have been around for many years as have lace toggles. There are even some shoe manufacturers doing away with laces all together with shoes that act almost like slippers. Tying up laces when you are in hyper race mode is challenging and takes precious time off the clock.
Transitions are short but they can be the difference at the end of the day. Make them part of your practice on a regular basis!