Do less for more time with these tips to improve transition, triathlon’s fourth skill

By Ea Francisco | Photo by Pat Mateo

Some people think that triathlon only has three disciplines, but what they don’t know is that there’s another hidden one. The fourth discipline that many triathletes tend to neglect is transition. It may seem like an insignificant thing for some, but it’s just as important as the other three. Some people unknowingly take forever in the transition areas, but here’s how you can avoid being that person.

Be Minimalistic

The best way to improve your transition is to lessen the tasks you need to do. Figure out the things you need to do, the things you can do while biking or running, and the things you don’t need to do. There are many ways you can limit your actions in a transition station. At T-1, you can attach all the things you need on your bike beforehand, even your shoes. If you want, you can even invest in shoes with elastic laces so that you don’t have to waste time tying. You can even get a tri suit, so you don’t have to put on clothes. Some things like drying yourself off or refueling can either be done on-the-go or not at all. Things like putting on your belt or shades can be done while in motion.

Have a Plan

Before a race, you should already know what you’re going to do and in what order you plan on doing things. Don’t just figure it out on the day itself, but practice before the race. You can cut the time you spend by multitasking. There are little things you can do that make a difference such as not holding onto your cap and goggles the whole time or if you need to take off items, do them while running. Also, place them in order of the events. Put your cycling gear in front of your running gear for easier access.

Efficient Mount and Dismount

One way you can improve your transition is to run with your bike. To do this, run on the left side of your bike opposite the side with the gears. This is to protect both your legs and your bike components. Also, you can learn techniques like the cyclocross mount and dismount. This requires some practice but once you get the hang of it, it keeps your momentum going.

Time doesn’t stop when you’re transitioning, so it’s important to be aware of how much time you spend here. In a close call race, it still counts for seconds and minutes into your time. There are other waves in the race, so you can’t be too comfortable. That one second difference could have been your time spent in transition.