PRE-RACE, PRACTICING TRANSITION & TRANSITION SETUP
- Practice ahead of time - We have included multiple sessions specifically for you to practice the Swim-Bike and Bike-Run transitions. It’s vital to go through the motions of each transition before you do it in a race. That way you know what to expect and can switch into autopilot while your heart is pounding and the adrenaline is pumping.
- Work on the layout of your transition area. Think chronologically. Put all of your bike gear in front of your run gear since you will be heading out on the bike before you run. That way you’re not moving your run shoes around trying to get your bike shoes or helmet during the race.
- Keep your transition area clean. Only layout the items you absolutely need so you don’t have to go searching for your sunglasses or running shoes in a pile of equipment. Bring a bag to put any extra gear that you won’t
need so it can be stashed out of the way.
- Recon, visualize and practice your race transition on site. Walk through the transition area the way you will run through it during the race. Figure out where you enter and exit the transition area for each T1 and T2 so you know where you’re going during the race. Figure out some landmarks like rack numbers or sides of the transition zone so you can orient yourself when you run into the transition area and know where to go to find your stuff. You can also invest in a bright or unique towel that stands out so your area is easier to find.
DURING THE RACE
- Stay calm. Running around frantically isn’t fast. Slow down and think about what you’re doing and where you need to be going. Think about smooth movements when taking off your wetsuit or putting on your shoes. There is a reason the Navy SEALS say “Slow is Smooth. Smooth is fast.”
- Take one last glance around your area before grabbing your bike and starting the bike leg. You don’t want to forget your sunglasses or an important gel for the bike or the run. An easy way to avoid the sunglasses issue is to stash them in your helmet while setting up your transition area
- Laugh at yourself if you make a mistake. If you drop your sunglasses, or have any issue you getting your shoes on getting upset won’t solve that problem any faster. If you want to get the most out of yourself you have to enjoy what you are doing!
If you’re racing in a wetsuit then you should do a swim workout in your wetsuit at least four times during training, so that during Swim-Bike Transition practice sessions you can practice taking it off. It’s a lot harder than you think!
- On days where you have a bike workout right after swimming, have your bike set up near by. (If not you can get the first few steps down without your bike.)
- Set up your bike shoes, helmet, glasses and towel as you would in T1. After exiting the water, remove your wetsuit as quickly (and calmly) as you can.
- Next wipe off your feet with your towel so they are dry, this will make putting your socks on easier, or if you don’t use socks it will make getting your feet into your shoes easier.
- Next put on your helmet, buckle it and put on your sunglasses. At this point you would grab your bike and walk out of (an imaginary) T1 before mounting. When possible, it is good to practice mounting your bike like you would coming out of T1. The more comfortable you get mounting your bike in cycling shoes (or with shoes already attached to your pedals) the more relaxed you can stay on race day.
- Note: Most people lose time in transition because they are stressed and try to rush everything. Focus on maintaining calm and relaxed when practicing your transitions, and come race day you will be less likely to panic and make a mistake
The bike to run transition is generally easier for people, but that does not mean you shouldn’t practice!
- On days you have a run workout the same day as a bike workout ideally you will go directly from the bike to your run, but if that doesn’t work for timing that is okay, just practice this transition after you finish your bike workout.
- Since you have to walk your bike through
T2 you should consider leaving your shoes clipped into your pedals and walking barefoot through T2 since many cycling cleat are very hard to walk in.
- Once you are off your bike you have to remember to put your bike, helmet and any other accessories you aren’t taking with you on the run in your specific transition spot.
- You can just mark a spot against a wall as your spot and practice leaning your bike up, removing your helmet and putting it in a neat pile next to your bike.
- You will then need to practice getting your running shoes on as quickly as possible, so if you can get them on without the need to sit down this will speed things up.
- At this point you can head out of your practice T2 and start running!