Without proper planning, duathlon transitions can feel unnecessarily chaotic. Being well organised, prepared and practised can save you essential minutes and seconds off your final race time.
No matter what level you’re currently you can be a master in Transition. Hone your skills with our Transition Tips.
1. Keep it Simple: The less stuff you have in transition the better. Every item and every action has a time cost.
2. Slow Down: Unless you’re in a draft-legal race you don’t need to sprint through transition. Research shows that heart-rates are at their peak throughout the transitions. You might gain 5-seconds by sprinting, but you’ll fatigue quicker and lose more time later on in the race. You’re also more likely to make silly mistakes when you’re at maximum intensity.
3. The Set-Up: Before your race, allow time to walk around the transition area and study the run-in, bike-out, bike-in and run-out areas. Rehearse each transition:
- Coming in through ‘run-in’ and finding your bike then heading out through ‘bike-out’.
- Entering at ‘bike-in’, finding your place, racking your bike then straight to ‘run-out’.
- Imagine what you’ll be thinking and what it will look like with or without other bikes there.
- Find visual cues (that won’t move) to help you find your place in transition.
- Leave your bike in a suitable gear.
4. Movement Patterns: When you rack your bike before the race, take the opportunity to practice your movements. You should know exactly what you need to do. Put your helmet and glasses on and off several times, and then do the same with your running shoes or number belt so that the movement patterns become etched into your brain.
5. Shoes On Your Bike: If you’re allowed to, keep your bike shoes attached to your pedals rather than wasting time putting them on in the transition zone. Keep them in a horizontal position by looping a thin elastic band around the heel-tab of each shoe and hooking it on a bottle cage or wheel-skewer. When you jump on your bike and pedal, the bands will simply snap. Ride with your feet on top of the shoes until you’re up to speed and then slip your feet in carefully. Practice this several times at home before you try it in a race – it’s not as hard as it sounds.
6. T1 – Run To Bike: Towards the end of the 1st run, mentally rehearse your first transition. Think about where your bike is, as you run the final Kilometre. When you get to your bike, put your helmet on first, get your run shoes off (don’t fling them you will need them again!), grab your bike and go. This can be super quick.
7. T2 – Bike to Run Part 1: Towards the end of the cycle section, start mentally rehearsing your next transition. With around 400 meters to go, pull your feet out of your shoes and ride with your feet on top of them. As you reach the dismount line, you can either stop and dismount. Or perform a moving dismount, where you swing one leg over your top-tube, put your feet on the ground and break into a run while pushing your bike. (You will need to slow right down to jogging pace before you attempt this dismount. Master this at home before you try it in a race).
8. T2 – Bike to Run Part 2: After dismounting from your bike, run towards your spot in transition and do the following tasks in order:
- Rack your bike
- Put your running shoes on
- Take your helmet off
- Jog to the run-out area
The benefits of taking your helmet off last are:
- You avoid a helmet rule violation and
- You can align yourself towards the run-out area as you remove it.
9. Gels, Hats, Glasses, Watches: If you need to pick up other stuff in transition, such as gels or a hat, keep it simple and do it on the move. For example, pick up a fuel belt, start running and then attach it to your waist while you run. This is far quicker than grabbing individual gels and trying to stuff them into your pockets while standing still.
10. Video Yourself: It’s amazing what you see on video sometimes. Best is to have someone film you (and others) at a race. Replay the video, critique and think about how you can get faster.
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