Transition: The Fourth Discipline of Triathlon

by Kim Welk, Team W Coaching

 

There is an additional discipline of triathlon outside of the swim, bike, and run. That discipline is the Transition. Transition as defined means “the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.” The transition in triathlon is used to move from swim to bike and then bike to run and is equally as important as each of the triathlon legs.

Before the race begins, it is important to set up your transition so you can move quickly and efficiently when you arrive. Find a place to rack your bike. If racks are numbered find your designated spot. If racks are not numbered, select a location that works for you. Know where you are in relation to the bike in/out and the run in/out and the fastest route to get there. Find a permanent landmark that will be easy to spot when you come out of the water so you can easily locate your bike. (Note: Permanent on the landmark – cars move!) Rack your bike. Your bike should hang on the transition rack by your seat. If rack is numbered your front wheel should be facing the same direction as the number.

Here is a list of items that are helpful to set up transition:
*Transition Mat/Towel – This will be your staging area
*Bike Pump – Check your A,B,C’s when you arrive (Air, Brakes, Cassette,Chain)
*Gear – Check your bike gear. Are you in the right gear for the terrain at the mount line
*Flat Kit – Should be on your bike (Tube, CO2 cartridge, CO2 adapter, tire lever, tool)
*Hydration/Nutrition – Should be on your bike
*Swim Gear – Body glide to help with wetsuit, items below to take with you to start
*Bike Gear – Layout items below in orderly fashion so you don’t forget anything
*Run Gear – Layout in separate column from bike gear so you don’t mix them up

Once your transition is set-up, take a look at your location. Confirm that your landmark is still relevant, gather your swim gear and head to the swim start.

Here is a list of items that are helpful for the swim:
*Tri Kit/Swimsuit
*Wetsuit
*Watch/Heart Rate Monitor
*Cap (typically provided by the race)
*Goggles (bring lens options depending on light)
*Earplugs (if you use them)
*Timing Chip

 

As you arrive in transition the first time – known as T1 – you have just exited the swim. In this transition your goal is to move from the swim to the bike.

Here is a list of items that are helpful in T1:
*Small towel – your feet will be wet and may have debris
*Check to make sure you still have your timing chip (DO NOT REMOVE)
*Socks (optional) – don’t make race day the first time that you cycle without socks
*Cycling Shoes or Running Shoes if flat pedals
*Helmet – mandatory to race
*Sunglasses (store them in your helmet so they don’t get crushed!)
*Cycling Gloves (optional) but if you are used to riding with them, bring them

Remove your swim items. Place to the side of your transition area so they don’t interfere with what you need access to. Get your biking items on. Make sure your helmet is securely fashioned and head to the bike mount line. Do not get on your bike before the mount line. Enjoy the ride!

 

Welcome to T2. You have just completed the ride, dismounted at the dismount line and are now walking/running with your bike to your transition spot. Remember your landmark! When racking your bike after the ride, it is most efficient to rack by your handle bars. Hang your hoods over the rack. Remove your biking gear and prepare to run.

Here is a list of items that are helpful in T2:
*Socks (you may decide to change socks between bike & run)
*Running Shoes
*Check to make sure you still have your timing chip (DO NOT REMOVE)
*Race Belt/Race Bib
*Hat
*Sunglasses
*Handheld hydration/nutrition (if necessary)

Once you have switched out your bike and run gear. Head to the Run Out and begin your run! You have reached the final leg of the triathlon. Enjoy the run!

After the race is over, take time to reflect on your transitions. Did you have everything that you needed? Did you forget anything? What adjustments can you make to gain efficiency and time at the next race? Build transition practice into your training and develop habits that will allow you to use autopilot on race day. Attend a transition clinic to gain additional tips! Do not hesitate to ask questions. If you have the question, someone else does too! Enjoy the race!! It’s Time to Tri!

 

About Coach Kim Welk

As a lifelong athlete, I believe health and wellness are achievable for anyone through coaching.

From children to adults, helping people achieve health and wellness goals while embracing their lifestyle journey is my passion. I love to observe the impact that owning your health and wellness has on all aspects of your life. I have helped children reached the targeted finish in running and triathlon, and helped adults reach the finish of their first 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Triathlon and more. The support extends beyond the finish line to focus on work-life balance, home-life balance and the ability to see the impact on your day to day performance. I incorporate a “one day…one step” mentality and follow the same philosophy in my daily life.

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