Transition Tactics

May
24

Posted by Coach Ben Dillon

How often are you practicing your “Transition Game Plan?”

When thinking about T1 and T2 (Transition 1 is from swim to bike and Transition 2 is from bike to run), it can get a bit overwhelming.  All of the equipment required for the various segments of the event can be numerous. I’ve found, over the years, that the less complex I made things, the better I was at transitioning. Simplifying transition allowed me to get from the start to the finish much faster. 

Over time my coach and I dialed in my training so that when race day came, I was as fit as I could possibly be. Almost every time, so were my competitors. What made the difference most often were my fast transition times. What made those transitions fast? Practice and repetition in my training honed those crucial skills.

Just like logging all those swim, bike and run hours throughout training, transition practice is extremely important.  Imagine how anxious you would feel showing up for your first triathlon having done no training (and people do just that). Also imagine arriving at your first triathlon without knowing what to do in transition. Your anxiety would be very high.  All of that can be minimized with some consistent practice.

Sit down and visualize all the items you are going to use on race day. Then physically place those items out on the floor into their respective groups. Visualize how you are going to set up your area in transition, then actually do a full dress rehearsal with your kit and swim gear.  Lean your bike up against the wall, put a small towel on the floor with your bike and run gear on it, then methodically go through the process and change from swim to bike. Then go on a short, easy ride and come back and transition from bike to run. 

Do it in a very easy, slow and controlled manner, then repeat these steps 3 or 4 times progressively getting faster, but always maintaining composure.  Research the conditions for your event in advance to ensure you are practicing for race day conditions (wetsuit vs. non-wetsuit legal or socks or no socks for example).

Over the course of the year, my coach would schedule training sessions that would incorporate swim to bike workouts and then bike to run workouts.  Bike to run are called “brick” workouts. These are very important and should not be overlooked! 

Transition practice will be a part of the Team MPI "Give it a Tri" Triathlon Clinics I am holding in Arkadelphia, Arkanasas on June 12, July 16, and August 13 to prepare athletes racing in the DLT Spillway Super Sprint or Degray Lake Sprint Triathlons. Join us for those clinics or other Team MPI clinics and camps, or arrange for a one-on-one coached sessions to hone these and other skills.

Time saved in transition equates to added speed!

~ Coach Ben Dillon

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