You’ve spent months training for your next triathlon. You’ve run sneaker burning distances. You’ve “outswam” some fish. You’ve practiced your biking so much you and your bike have virtually morphed into one machine. You feel ready. No, you know you are ready. You have a foolproof plan of how you’re going to ace the triathlon.
But are you sure your plan is foolproof? If you haven’t taken the time to plan your transition stages, all your training, planning, and preparation will go down the drain.
Transition Stages – No Time to Rest
Many times triathletes see the transition areas and think of a rest area. My friend, if that is you, you best change your view of the transition area. Let me give you a definition of transition so as to put things in perspective.
Transition: the process of getting from one state or stage to another.
A transition is a process, and a process definitely doesn’t mean stopping to smell the roses (and definitely not your socks as you change). The transition stage is a critical part of your race and you need to treat it with the same gravity you put on the swim, cycle, and running stages. In all honesty, a triathlon is not a 3 stage race, it’s a 4 stage race if you count the transition stages – after all, the clock doesn’t stop ticking just because you are changing.
As you can see from the meaning of transition and what takes place in the transition areas, it definitely is no time to rest.
Tips on How to Perfect Your Transition
As you well know, a triathlon is a 3 discipline endurance race. This means each stage must have its own set of equipment – because of the nature of the next event and, most of the times, the previous event makes your attire unbearable. This is why a triathlon always has a transition area. Here are a few tips to help you minimize the time spent in the transition area by maximizing your efficiency in the process.
1. Make Yourself Familiar with the Transition Area
Part of your pre-race preparations must include familiarizing yourself with the transition area. A casual look from afar won’t cut it, and a simple look around won’t be beneficial either. To be efficient in your transitions, you will need to know the transition areas like the back of your hand, if not better. Walk around, note where things are placed, and practice your transitions. Note everything about the transition area, including the entrance and exit.
2. Mark Your Territory
The swim event is the toughest challenge in the triathlon. Coupled with the effect of coming out of the water at full speed – it can be quite disorienting. But there is no time to stop, check your bearings, and look for your number among the hundreds if not thousands of bicycles waiting for their riders. This is why you need to place a unique marker in your transition area. The event rules may not permit a neon sign with your name on it but you can look for a brightly colored and unique towel or helmet to mark your bike with. The main thing is to be able to find your transition area in as little time as possible.
3. Minimalism is not Just for Monks
The 2 transitions you will have to make in the triathlon event will require different sets of equipment. But you need to keep in mind that a triathlon is not a normal swim, biking, or running event where you leisurely walk in with all your finest regalia. Changing is a part of this race and that means you have to be a minimalist in what you transition into. Do you really need socks for the biking stage? Ditch them.
The fewer things you have to do at the transition station, the faster you leave. Another trick you can use at the T1 is to leave your biking shoes in the pedals so that you don’t have to stop for shoes – you can put them on while you are coasting out of the station.
4. Practice the Transition – Over and Over
You’ve practiced your swim, your biking, and your running stages a thousand times and more. Why not do the same for the transition stage of the race? The transition stage is not just a part of the race that you leave to fate – you have to perfect your transitions. This means you have to practice to the full every element of the transition stages, everything. Time your practice runs so as to have an idea of how much time you spend, and like the other aspects of the race, work on cutting down that time.
5. Transition on the Move
Do as many things as you can while running. For example, you can start removing your swimsuit while you’re on the run, or put on your fuel belt while you’re running.
Transition Yourself to Success
There you have it – the transition stages are not to be taken lightly. They are critical stages of every triathlon and should be treated accordingly. Go ahead and transition yourself to success.