Triathlon transition: What you need to avoid

The triathlon transition is an integral part of the race. As time continues to flow when transitioning, every second is important for your overall performance. This especially stands true if you fall into the elite categories

Nonetheless, there are a few pitfalls that you should avoid during the transition, for a seamless race experience and the best possible results. 

The 6 “don’ts” of the triathlon transition

1. Don’t be dependent on others, for anything

It goes without saying, not having your own basic equipment to deal with unexpected occurrences is a big mistake. This mostly stands for the cycling segment and your bicycle. To be honest, curiously, it isn’t very rare to enter the triathlon transition area with a flat tire. That’s why it’s important to have your own pump; as well as all the necessary tools for changing a tire, patching up a tire hole, etc.

Also, silly as it may sound, you need to bring some toilet paper with you, so that you don’t depend on other athletes or volunteers to offer you some in a time of need. They’ll probably be caught up in the ‘heat of the moment’, so they may not be able to help you. 

2. Don’t keep your personal space in the transition area messy

The next in our list of things to avoid in the transition area is having a messy box; and an overall messy personal space. There’s no reason not to make the most of the space that the race organizers have so thoughtfully offered you. Therefore, arrange your equipment and space in such a way that it will be hard to forget anything essential during the triathlon transition.

3. Don’t have more than the essentials in your basket

Oftentimes, athletes — especially first-timers — over-analyze all the different possible scenarios that may occur during triathlon transition; while keeping an inexhaustible mental list with everything they’re going to need during the race. Also, many are influenced by the equipment other athletes carry in the transition area. In fact, this affects them so much that they end up having much more stuff in their basket than they really need.

To help you avoid the aforementioned mistakes, let’s go over a few basic examples below; so that you’ll know what you need to have in your basket. 😉

Sunscreen and body glide

We know firsthand that a triathlon race can last for hours; often in difficult weather conditions — extreme heat, sun, rain, etc. For this reason, it’s necessary to apply sunscreen — preferably waterproof and long-lasting — as well as body glide, as needed. However, keep in mind that applying a reasonable quantity right before the race will be enough to keep everything under control until the end of the race. Of course, there are athletes with certain skin sensitivities that need to repeat the application during the race. If you’re not one of them, don’t overdo it.

Energy products

Almost all triathletes are stressed about their nourishment and hydration during the race; so, they fill their basket with enough isotonic drinks, gels, gummy candies, and energy bars to feed an army. Needless to say, don’t put in your basket more than you’re going to need. Also, don’t forget that the race organizers will provide you with extra energy products at the gas stations — or pit stops — if you need any.

How about towels?

As you know, during the triathlon transitions, that is, from one segment to another, the clock is still ticking; thus, the time spent in the transition area must be as short as possible. Hence, in this case, equipment like towels may be overrated. Most athletes choose not to even use socks, let alone a towel. On the other hand, it’s important that your feet are clean and dry, to avoid blisters; so if you think that you may need a towel, a small one will suffice.

4. Don’t rush to leave the transition area

The time you spend in the transition area is valuable, so you shouldn’t waste a minute; instead, you should be fast, but not so fast as to make mistakes. As you may have noticed, a very typical example of this would be the athlete who moves strategically in the triathlon transition; that is, with swift, premeditated movements. And, yet, after they wear their equipment and start the running leg, they forget to take off their helmet. 🤷‍♀️
If you’re forgetful, why not conjure up a shortlist of the things to do while in the transition area?

5. Don’t try new moves on the day of the race

The whole transition consists of almost mechanical movements — which, ideally, you know well from your preparation period. Now, if you succumb to the temptation and try something new on the day of the race — anything that deviates from your usual routine — will most likely lead to either wasting more time or even forgetting to pick up items that you’ll need later on.

6. Don’t ignore the rules of the transition area

Finally, it’s crucial not to violate any rules set by the organization; both inside, and outside the transition area. Remember that these rules are there for a reason, and everyone has to follow them. Besides, it would be a pity to have made such an effort and get ‘punished’ for violating a race rule; e.g., at what point in the transition you can get on the bike.

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Mind your transition

To conclude, the triathlon transition is a part of the race that needs special attention, as many things can go wrong while you’re there. But you have nothing to worry about! Just keep the points we’ve discussed in this article in mind, to avoid unexpected setbacks that would have otherwise cost you time and effort in the race.

Triathlon transition: What you need to avoid was last modified: August 1st, 2022 by Marilena Kokkinou