|My Ironman Coeur d'Alene layout|
With transition times as low as 30 seconds, it’s one leg of the triathlon that I can brag that I’m FAST at and arrogantly, GOOD AT! From sprint tri’s to Ironman distance, I have the calmest smoothest transitions possible…
I’m about to teach you how you TOO can have amazing transitions. It’s so easy, here’s the trick K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Silly…
Step 1: pack your transition bag the same every single time and put each item in its own special place. Consider the main necessities for each event and only bring what you NEED:
~swim: goggles, swim cap, ear plugs
~run: shoes, socks?, race belt w/number attached, visor?
~bike: shoes, helmet, sunglasses
Pack it at home and be satisfied with it. You don’t need any extra unnecessary junk; just what you NEED.
Step 2: the night before the race lay out your transition just like you will for the race. For a smaller triathlon, you will get to lay out all your gear at your bike. I recommend bringing a small towel or transition mat. Your space is limited so remember, bring only what you NEED. For an Ironman (and some 70.3’s) you will separate your gear into different colored bags and they will be hung for you near a changing tent. Once again though, pack only what you NEED. You'll receive "Special Needs" bags for a full Ironman as well (in this you'll pack extra tubes, extra nutrition, etc for half way on the bike and half way on the run). Lay it ALLLLLL out and ensure you have what you need. If you DO forget something, don't panic! Someone always has extra something for you to borrow. But if follow step 1, you won't forget a thing!
Step 3: know where you are in transition. Do a quick walk through mocking race day; walk from swim to your bike area (note any landmarks to help you easily identify your bike area), to the bike out, note the bike in, and the run out.
Step 4: set it up just like you practiced. With set up, have everything prepared (helmet unlocked and prepped to go on your head, shoe laces open wide for quick foot entry, socks rolled and ready, etc.). Allow me to emphasize once again, only what you NEED. Leave the extra junk in the car!! For the 70.3 and IM, drop your bags off and trust your preparation.
Step 5: transition in action. Peel off your swim gear while en route to your transition area; place it in the back, out of the way. Don’t be the triathlete that just throws your stuff all over the place. Multi-task wherever possible (I put my helmet on WHILE drying off my feet). Stay calm. Pay attention to what you’re doing. Remember the key, Keep It Simple Silly and perfect practice makes perfect performance so practice your transition.
For a 70.3 and IM race with gear bags, dump the bag. I’ve done the dig in it thing and I’ve done the dump it thing. Dumping it makes everything easier to find and there’s always a volunteer to help repack it.
Now, get your booty out of transition!!
Things I have found NOT to make transition any faster:
1 - clipping your bike shoes on the bike for a flying mount. Unless you practice, you’re gonna waste time and get hurt. Practice and perfect this in training before attempting for a race.
2 - eating or drinking. Save that for when you get on the bike. No picnics in transition!
3 - the bucket or milk crate. Why? Just why? It’s bulky and gets in everybody else’s way. Practice putting on socks and shoes standing up. You’re a triathlete, balance should be at the core of your training.
Always always always, incorporate transition training into your training plan. Even if you do a tailgate transition between a swim and bike or a bike and run, lay it all out and practice a legit transition. And if you ever have any questions or are interested in a clinic, contact us!