How should I approach transitions in a triathlon?

Transitions are the “fourth sport” in the multi-sport event. For the elite level athlete, they can be the difference between winning and losing. For most triathletes though, an efficient, fluid, and problem free transition is the goal. There is no quicker way to speed up your triathlon time than to practice your transitions. While the body needs weeks and sometimes months to adapt to swimming, biking and running at a faster pace, transitions can be sped up and valuable time can be saved just by practicing transitions once a week. The keys to a superior transition are: Practice: practice a few quick transitions in the actual transition area the day before the event to ensure you know what to expect on race day. Practice the transition skills listed below occasionally in your training. Preparation: be sure to have all your equipment with you and that it is ready to be used. You should make a list of everything you need to bring to a race, so that you don’t forget anything. Focus: when entering or leaving transition, keep focused on the tasks that need to be completed and what order to complete them in. Location: know where your transition spot is. Landmark it beforehand from the swim exit area and from the bike entry area. Rules: know what the rules are for that specific event and follow them (they are different in different countries). There are several skills necessary for a good transition: Zone Orientation: know all entry and exit points. This will ensure that you pick the best possible spot in transition, and that you know the fastest way to and from your spot from the swim exit and bike entry, and to the bike and run exits. If possible, pick a spot on the end of a rack for your transition as that will make it easier to find, and you won’t have to deal with people on both sides of you fighting for space. Setting Up: organization of your gear for your race is very important. Some of the preparation for this should occur sometime before the race (i.e. not on site, or even that day).

Continue Learning about Sports & Athletic Performance

Sports Physicals 101: Who Needs Them and Why
Sports Physicals 101: Who Needs Them and Why
For many students, the back to school routine usually involves seeing their doctor for a yearly checkup. Once kids reach middle school, high school an...
Read More
My shoulder muscles feel like they are burning, how do I prevent this?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
This burning sensation you are referring to is the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles. As the in...
More Answers
Calories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer Sports
Calories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer SportsCalories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer SportsCalories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer SportsCalories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer Sports
Learn how many calories top athletes might burn playing these summer games.
Start Slideshow
Are Athletes Programmed to Succeed?
Are Athletes Programmed to Succeed?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.