Faster Transitions

  • Posted on
  • By Eric Turner

Coach Eric is back with 3 questions to ask yourself for faster transitions.

I love transitions. Wanna talk about free speed? With a little practice you can really cut down those transition times and it won’t set you back the price of race wheels (but you should still buy race wheels ).  People always bulk at the fact that I practice transitions. I practice them, I visualize them, I even video myself doing them (and make my wife video them in races). I do all of this to get better at them and if you want to be better at them, you should do these things too. As you are doing these things, here’s three questions to ask yourself.


1. What do I HAVE to do? This list is actually really short. The only thing you HAVE to do is put your helmet on. There’s some things you really should do, like put on your running shoes, but in reality you don’t even have to take off your wetsuit. I like to think about this, then look at all the other things as “options”. They might be necessary options, like putting on socks, but they are options and they might change depending on your race distance or you level of competitiveness. Once you have this list of options, you start to look at the things you can live without. I never train with socks, so I never race with socks. If you wanna ditch the sock option, start building some sockless training into your program. But maybe you really need socks, so for the options you decide you want to keep, let’s run them through question 2 and 3…

2. What can you do while you’re moving? I tuck my glasses into my BTA system, and I don’t put them on until I’ve well cleared the mount line. It seems silly, but it saves a couple seconds. Watch an ITU race, where transitions mean a lot, those guys are not fiddling around with their glasses in T1, they’re doing it while the roll. My other hack here is in T2. I take my race belt and connect it to my hat, I fold the bill of my hat into the back and have my gel flask inside. Once I rack my bike, I slip on my shoes and grab my hat, with everything attached. As I roll out of T1 I am pulling my gel flask out of my hat and putting it in my jersey, then I’m unclipping my number belt from my hat and throwing my hat on my head and my number belt around my waist. I make sure to keep my number belt out in front as I run and fumble with it, cause you never know when you’re gonna pass a photographer (ok and so race officials see it).

3. Where can you optimize? Here’s a pro tip. Learn how to high step out of the legs of your wetsuit, while you are putting on your helmet. That’s optimization for ya. You can see things like this a lot if you video your transitions and review the video. Look for times you are only doing one thing and ask yourself what else you could be doing. I can’t tell you how many times I watch people run into T1 with their wetsuit all the way on. You probably have a nice jog from the beach to your bike, GET THAT WETSUIT DOWN!! At least get your arms out and get the thing down to your butt, it should be half off before you even get to T1.

I know transition is different for everyone, but hopefully these three questions give you a framework to look at your transitions and cut down on some valuable seconds. If that doesn’t work, here is a nice set of race wheel you can purchase!