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Coaches Blog

Tune Up your Transitions

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

The off season is a perfect time to work on your transitions. Here are some tips to ensure you don't trip up on race day!

Organization is key. When preparing for your transition, bring only the essentials in with you. Anything you know you won’t need during the race, leave in your car or at home. Eliminating excess items will keep the process streamlined and help you get into and out of transition quickly and with minimal stress. Having a checklist with exactly what you need will help keep you organized and prevent you from forgetting something.

Practice your transitions. Just like you train for each segment of your race, you can train to improve your transitions, too. Practice jumping on and off your bike, mounting and dismounting. Practice running up to your transition “area” and putting on your shoes, helmet and sunglasses. Practice taking off your bike equipment and preparing for your run. Use the transition workout below to help simulate race day. Record it so that you can work to improve your flow and thus your time.

  1. Set up your transition (this can be anywhere)

  2. Do 5-10 burpees - this will simulate the increased heart rate coming out of the water

  3. Immediately transition to your bike gear (if outside- you can run mount the bike)

  4. Do 15 jumping jacks - this simulates your heart rate coming off the bike

  5. Immediately transition to your run gear and run 50 yards

  6. Review your time and the recorded video. What went smoothly, what felt uncomfortable or awkward?

Find what works best for you. With practice your transition times will improve and they will become a rote task on race day.

On race day, the transition area is often a very busy and sometimes confusing place. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the space. Look for a landmark, such as a tree or a flag, near your transition area so it’s easy to locate as you're running to it. But don't use other people's bikes or anything that might get moved!

Know where to find the swim exit, bike out, bike in, and run out. Familiarize yourself with the route you will take from the swim to T1 to your bike to bike out. Do the same for the route from the bike in to T2 to your transition area to run out. Knowing this can save valuable seconds and lots of wasted energy during the race.

With a little preparation and practice, you may be able to shave seconds – or even minutes – off your race time.

Sample list of items you'll need and things to do to make sure you are ready:


  1. Wetsuit

  2. Goggles

  3. Swim Cap

  4. Glide or similar wetsuit friendly lubricant

  5. Pre-race nutrition

  6. Water

  7. Timing chip-Don’t put this on over your wetsuit

  8. Prescription glasses for exit

Bike (T1)

  1. Bike Computer -Don’t forget to turn it on and connect to the GPS so it’s ready to go when you finish the swim

  2. Baby powder in socks or shoes if not wearing socks

  3. Nutrition for bike leg on the bike

  4. Hydration for bike with bottles filled and on the bike

  5. Bike helmet

  6. Sunglasses

  7. Sunscreen

  8. Check your tire pressure- this is especially important if you racked your bike the day before

  9. Check you’re in the right gear on the bike for starting out

Run (T2)

  1. Running Shoes

  2. Socks (don’t forget to add a little baby powder)

  3. Race belt

  4. Nutrition for run

  5. Sunscreen

Spares (just in case)

  1. CO2 cartridges

  2. Tubes in case you have a failure before the race starts

  3. Electrical tape

  4. Sunglasses

  5. Goggles

  6. Towel- I use a towel to lay out as a transition mat

  7. Toilet paper-Just in case the porta potties run out

Your investment in transition practice will pay off come race day!



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