Triathlon Transition Tactics, by Coach Kirsten Sweetland

How To Tackle the Transition Zone

Whether you are new to triathlon or an experienced veteran, coming into transition can be a stressful time in the race. Many of you may have experienced “race brain” where you are in fight or flight mode and your critical thinking goes down the drain! It’s important to approach the transition zone in a calm state. The more you try and rush, the more likely it is that you will fumble and wind up slower than if you had taken your time!

Try and find a focal point. When you are setting up you transition before the race, look around and find something that will help you locate your row while you are running into the transition zone. Make sure it’s not another athlete’s bike or something that may be gone by the time you get there. Take a second to look around and make sure you have a good mental image of your general area. This will pay off big time when you are coming in with sky rocketed heart rate!

It helps to remove the top half of your wetsuit while you are running to transition. After that, remove your cap and goggles while you run as well. Once you locate your bike, drop your cap and goggles immediately to free up your hands to start removing your wetsuit. If you are really ambitious, you can put your helmet on while you kick your wetsuit off with your feet! But the most important thing is to make sure you do what is well within your comfort level. Stay calm as you buckle your helmet. If you are comfortable putting your cycling shoes on while you ride, that’s great! If not, make sure you run cautiously to avoid a slip n slide!

Take time to practice in a parking lot. Try jumping on your bike! This may be more attainable than you once thought! The more you practice, the more familiar it will become and stress levels should decline. The race most likely won’t be won in transition, but it could be lost!

And remember: practice, practice, practice!

Coach Kirsten

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