Triathlon Tran­si­tion Ex­e­cu­tion

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - WARM-UP -

Ex­e­cut­ing a fast tran­si­tion re­quires per­fect prac­tice. Re­hears­ing the steps you will take ev­ery time in the tran­si­tion area makes your tran­si­tion ha­bit­ual and au­to­matic. Prac­tic­ing the same rou­tine mul­ti­ple times helps stream­line and op­ti­mize each step, re­sult­ing in a faster tran­si­tion. Us­ing time, ac­cu­racy and ef­fort when eval­u­at­ing your tran­si­tions will of­fer ob­jec­tive data on whether you are im­prov­ing.

The next step to­ward per­fect­ing your tran­si­tions is ex­e­cut­ing them at race pace. The stress of race ef­fort makes it harder to think through what you are do­ing, so it be­comes im­por­tant for your move­ments to be in­stinc­tual and au­to­matic. In­cor­po­rat­ing tran­si­tion prac­tice in short, in­tense brick work­outs is a great way to per­form nu­mer­ous tran­si­tions at race pace be­fore race day. The goal of per­fect prac­tice is to re­peat an au­to­matic, smooth and fast tran­si­tion rou­tine that you don’t need to think about.

Tips for setup and ex­e­cu­tion:

• Place your hel­met on the bars of your bike, so you don’t need to bend over and reach all the way to the ground to re­trieve it. Fly­ing mounts and dis­mounts save a lot of time in tran­si­tion. A great way to get com­fort­able with the fly­ing mount and dis­mount is to prac­tice with run­ning shoes on your bike, rather than cy­cling shoes. Re­mov­ing the chal­lenge of clip­ping in and out can help you get com­fort­able throw­ing your leg over the bike. It also is eas­ier to dis­mount and run with shoes on than it is in bare feet. Once you are con­fi­dent do­ing this in run­ning shoes, you are ready to trans­fer the skills quickly in bike shoes. • An­other tip to speed up your tran­si­tion is to mount and dis­mount three steps away from the mount line. Many ath­letes choose to stop right at the mount line to get on their bike. Run­ning past the mount line, and the po­ten­tial traf­fic jam that is form­ing, is a great way to get clear of traf­fic. • Use elas­tics to hold your bike shoes flat when your shoes are clipped into your ped­als. This makes it eas­ier to slide your feet into them af­ter you mount your bike. If you wear glasses, ei­ther hang them on your bars or put them in­side your hel­met to re­mind you to put them on your face be­fore you run to the mount line. • When you are at a race, get to know the tran­si­tion area. Look for land­marks that will al­low you to find your bike when you run in from the swim or off the bike. The day be­fore the race, walk through the tran­si­tion area to re­hearse the direc­tion you travel for both T1 and T2. This will help you get your bear­ings and set land­marks to find your bike when you are stressed by rac­ing. • •

Find­ing free speed in the tran­si­tion area is a mat­ter of plan­ning and prac­tic­ing. Put your tran­si­tions to the test in train­ing. Watch­ing the top ITU ath­letes per­form tran­si­tions is a great way to learn how fast the ex­change be­tween sports can be and can help op­ti­mize your own triathlon tran­si­tion setup and ex­e­cu­tion.

Me­lanie Mc­quaid is a three-time Xterra world cham­pion and a six-time Iron­man 70.3 and Chal­lenge half-dis­tance cham­pion. She lives in Vic­to­ria.

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