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Train for the Transition

Can the significance of the transition be overlooked with the assumption that if you swim, bike and run fast enough you'll have what it takes to dominate your competition?

If you answered "yes" to this question you're probably right.  If you answered "no" than you are probably right, too.  The point being that "yes" swimming, biking and running faster than your competition can compensate for inefficient transitions but "no" you'll never achieve your fastest times until you learn to perfect your transition.  The marginal seconds that can be trimmed off each transition can have a significant impact on your overall finish time.

So, how can you improve your transition execution?  Here are 5 simple tips that will help you minimize the time you spend in transition:
1. Establish a Routine.  Determine the fastest sequence for you to change equipment and then focus on Tip #2.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice.  You probably spend hours on your bike, in the pool and pounding the pavement.  How much time do you spend each week transition training?  Plan small blocks of time (5-10mins) on a regular basis to practice your transition skills.  Organize your equipment as if it was a live transition sequence and then go through the motions of the inter-swim-bike and inter-bike-run transitions.  Use the routine you established (see Tip #1) and perfect it.

3. Arrive Early.  Get to the race site early enough to scope out the transition area.  Also, some smaller triathlons are first-come first-serve races that assign no specific transition area.  Get there first and you'll have your choice of transition real estate.

4. Understand the Transition Area.  Some transition areas are more complex than others.  Be sure to understand the layout and flow of the transition area so that there is no confusion concerning entry and exit routes.

5. Organize your Transition Space.  Optimally organize your transition space by placing all equipment in easy to access positions in the sequence they are needed.  Eliminate digging through bags or fumbling through messy transition space to find equipment.

These 5 tips are brief examples of ways to improve your transition performance, but remember that the underlying premise is to be aware of the significance of the transition and actively seek to improve your transition efficiency.  Trim seconds or minutes off your overall time with a streamlined transition.


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