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  • Writer's pictureCamille Chief Funlete

4 Transition Tips for Triathlon Newbies

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

This training post is for the beginner triathlete, duathlete and the new to multisport racing persons we connect with daily online and part of our local club.

We want to take a moment to define the triathlon & multisport racing termtransition” because it really has four meanings and is used interchangeable to refer to the following:

4 Things Newbie Triathletes Need To Know About Transition (T1 + T2)

Tri Tip #1: Transitions is an Area

Were your bike and gear are stored throughout the race. Racers return to their assigned transition spot to swap equipment before heading back onto the race course.

Tri Tip #2: Transitions refer to Movement

The act of moving from one sport to immediately performing another during training & in a race.

Tri Tip #3: Transition T1 Is First Change Over of Sports

T1 the fist switch you do in any multisport race. In the case of triathlon, its when an athlete moves from swim → bike or if you are a duathlete — it's the first time you move from running → cycling. T1 'results' also may show up on your race results. Most events and timers have tracking devices on your or your bib that log when you enter and leave this area during a race.

Tri Tip#4: Transition T2Is Second/Last Change Over of Activities

T2 customarily is when you perform your second change over to the final leg of your race. Traditionally in both triathlons & duathlons, T2 is when you move from cycling to running. Your time spent in T2 is tracked by a timing mat that is triggered when you enter/exit Transition area and included in your overall race time.

Female Triathlete exiting Transition at Texas Triathlon Race
photo credit: Billie Long/Kerr County Lead

Transition Is Sometimes Called the Other Secret Discipline of Triathlon & Multisport Events

During a triathlon, transitions are critical. Not only the area where you store/setup gear during a race. They can be difficult, tiring, nerve racking, are timed and can even cost you a race or a podium finish if you are not prepared.

One year out at Rookie Triathlon - A participant sat on a bucket eating a giant cookie as a reward to celebrate making it out the swim and to refuel. #swimbikerunfun

Luckily, there are some strategies to make the transitions easier and save you energy. Start by creating a mental map of your transition area. Second - arrange your gear from bottom to top by what you will need last to first.

Avoid rushing. Athletes should take a leisurely pace through transition. A hurried approach can result in missing essential items or even putting on a helmet too early. Both of these mistakes can cost athletes time, and could lead to disqualification. A better approach is to take your time and be strategic about it. Practice breeds efficiency and calms nerves.

Identify where you're going to park your bike and your gear. Knowing where you'll place your gear and bike is key to maximizing your efficiency in transition. Before your race, practice your route to transition so you can be sure to find your bike. It's also important to know where the exit and entrance are, since both of these areas may not be easily visible.

Walking through the transition area will help you remember where you are at each stage. It's best to try to remember the rows of racking that are near the exit and entry points. This will help you avoid misplacing your gear and causing a littering penalty.

What's next? Check out our Brick Training Blog


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