Quick and Dirty Triathlon Transition Tips – TriCoachGeorgia

Quick and Dirty Triathlon Transition Tips


Transitions are Essential Parts of Triathlons

Trust me, Coach BigBad. I have won and lost races in transition. Indeed, transitions can make or break your race relative to the competition. In this blog we give you a brief review of some tips to help you shorten them up and gain the time that may help you improve your race day performance.

No Substitute for Preparation

Everything starts the week before. Don’t neglect assessing the course if possible. This will help you know about how to dress and gear the bike on race day. Practice all fine (e.g., snapping helmet) and gross (e.g., mounting the bike) motor movements at least three times. The week before, make a check list that will help you prepare on the nights before the race. These are widely available on the interwebs so don’t slack off and come in unprepared. Regardless, here is an example.

Sample Transition and Race Day List

Swim Tri shorts, swimsuit, or tri suit 2 sets of goggles (i.e., one tinted and one normal) Bright-colored towel Wetsuit Bike Bike Helmet Cycling shoes and socks (if wearing) Sunglasses Water bottle(s) Nutrition Tool Kit: tube, CO2, levers, multi-tool Floor pump (pump up your tires before you leave home but leave the pump in your car just in case) Run Running shoes (2 pairs if you have a late start time. One to leave in transition and one to warm up in) Race belt Hat/visor Other Training device (Garmin, Timex, etc.) & heart rate strap Body Glide Sunscreen Vaseline, powder, band-aids Blunt nose scissors for sticker origami Post-race, warm change of clothes.

Day of the Race

On the morning of the race, get there in plenty of time, be mindful of how long it will take to park and set up transition. People take for granted the time spent waiting. Avoid the stress and be an early bird.

Set up transition on a small towel. Make sure you know where your spot is. Some mark their race with some bright materials like xmas tinsel and others use bright chalk on the ground. Rack bike according to your needs and position, knowing which side is necessary (depends on the race) and make sure it is in the proper gear (easy gear if there is a hill leading out of transition)

The Race is On

T1:  Make sure you know where you bike is as state above!  This will save you a lot of time and frustration.  If a wetsuit or skin suit is worn this may sound simple, but remember to TAKE it off (I’ve done the bike portion in a skin suit before, not my finest moment). Stand up while taking it off, this will save time.  Also, what you wear during the swim is what you should wear the WHOLE race (ironman excluded, if desired).  It is WAY harder to put a dry garment on a wet body than you think.

Make sure you put your helmet on and have it buckled before you leave transition (I also have left my helmet in may car so make sure you have this and your cycling shoes).  Either put your shoes on at your bike or have them attached to your bike and put them on after you mount.  Make sure you know where the mount line is and mount your bike only AFTER the line.  If the area is congested, move to the side or up a few feet/yards to get onto your bike.

T2:  Coming into t2, know where the dismount line is and slow down well before you reach this area.  Dismount BEFORE the line.  If you keep your shoes on your bike make sure your feet are out of them. If not, while getting into t2 be careful not to slip on your cleats as you will be in a hurry and still have momentum coming off the bike AND you will be more tired than you think you are.  Head into transition toward you rack (know where this is again)!  From here place everything in their proper spot, take helmet off and grab everything you need for the run, shoes, gels, hat, RACE BELT and have a great run!


Again, preparation and practice will make your life a lot easier on race day. Also it will help with your race time. Hope you all have a great race and we look forward to seeing you out there. #DoYourJob and #ReapWhatYouSow!