Thursday, 19 December 2013

How to improve your times at the transitions

How to improve your times at the transitions:

In triathlon there are the 3 disciplines but there are also two transitions: the first one between the swim and the bike also called T1 and another one between the bike and the run called T2. In my opinion, and most triathletes will agree with me that, the two transitions are the fourth discipline of the sport! Practice and care are needed to master this time saving discipline.

Why? Most probably because the transitions can make or brake your race! A good performed transition can save for an amateur at least 30 seconds to a minute. For top end athletes it may either bring you closer to victory or cost you too much time.
In comparison to another sport, Formula 1 is rather similar with pitt stops. The fastest pitt stops are between 2-3 seconds, although any mistake from the pilote or the crew and several crucial seconds are lost.

Therefore I will be sharing 9 tips on how to shorten time during transitions:

1. Think ahead and place the gear for the cycling first, then the objects that will be needed for the bike part. Such as shoes, helmet, sunglasses and race number belt.

2. Then set up the gear needed for the run including running shoes, towel (not necessary but very nice), and hat if needed.

3. A towel is very handy not only does it kind off determine your space from your neighbours but it helps to clean the possible dirt and little stones from your feet.

4. Have a habit of putting all the gear always at the exact same place so it becomes a habit for the brain. During the race the succession of movements will therefore be smoother and you will feel less stressed.

5. Clipping the shoes onto the bike (The above video shows how to) and then using an elastic to tie the shoe to the bike is a simple trick that saves at least 10-20 seconds. Most often you see amateurs running with their cycling shoes until they are out of the transition area.
This is not the best idea because: 1. you are breaking the shoes quite badly and will have to replace the clips very often. 2. These shoes are not made for running, therefore they are slow and uncomfortable on the pavement.

6. Using baby powder in both running and cycling shoes will help to slide into the shoes and absorb sweat.

7. For the people racing with wetsuits, a simple trick to remove the suit faster is before putting on the suits is to at the end of the sleeves add some vaseline. This will make the arms and legs more slippery and the suits will drop off more rapidly.

8. When training for a triathlon you should not only focus on the three discipline but also on the the transition. That part of the training comes in two parts, one being the setting up of gear habit and the other being the getting on and off the bike! Which turns out to be an art on itself.
The first video here below shows how to jump on the bike. It does take a bit of time to get used to it, but it does same many important seconds!
The the second video shows how to get off the bike (with a bit of cheering from the parents and friends)
9. In my opinion the first transition feels the heaviest because of the hard muscles who have to adapt from the water on land and also having to catch your breath. In the second transition it is important not to loose focus due to possible fatigue and being uncareful. 

Now with that bit of help you should already be able to save critical seconds and feel a bit more like a true professional!!

"You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime." 
Mark Allen - 6x Ironman Hawaii record holder 

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