Triathlon Series – 10 Tips For A Speedy Transition: Micheal Lyons

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Trying to always cut short your timing in your triathlon race? Not sure how? Maybe you are wasting time on the crucial transition phase.

In this series for triathlon, Michael Lyons, who is a veteran podium finisher triathlete, is going to share with us his winning tips for a fast transition phase. Find out how to reduce your risk of triathlon injuries here


1. Be a minimalist?

The fewer tasks you have to do in the transition area, the faster you will go. Skip the socks and get rid of anything you don’t absolutely need. Clutter will slow you down in a triathlon.

2. Bike shoes in the pedals

Coasting down the course at 20 kph while you put your feet in your shoes will move you far ahead of your competitors who are sitting on his bottom in T1 doing the same task. Set your bike up in the transition area with your shoes attached to the pedals (some people use rubber bands looped between the heels and frame, holding the shoes horizontal, but I don’t find this necessary).

On leaving T1, pedal with your feet on top of your shoes. Once you are cruising at speed, coast and slip your feet into your shoes, Right shoe first, then pedal to increase speed and then cruise while your getting the left foot in. Keep your eyes ahead on the road, not down on your feet. On the return, slip your feet out of your shoes before you reach T2. Learn this skill first on an indoor trainer before taking it out on the open road or even better, practice in an empty car bike – both your T1 and T2.

3. One outfit for all occasions?

Start the swim with your full bike/run outfit under your wetsuit if competing in cold climates or as is for the tropics. A one piece tri-suit is ideal. Any clothing changes will add lots of time in a triathlon.


4. Attach your stuff to your bike

Handling small items wastes times. Everything you need on the bike course should be attached to your bike. Tape gels to the frame, water bottles should already be on board, sunglasses looped to a cable, spare tube in a seat pack and CO2 cartridge taped to the seat post.

5. Speed laces and baby powder/vaseline

Tying your running shoe laces in a bow takes time. Eliminate this step using lace locks or speed laces. To help your feet slide smoothly into your running shoes, prime them with a sprinkling of baby powder or a thin layer of Vaseline around the entry points. I also use Vaseline around the inside of the toebox and heel area to prevent blisters as I run sockless for anything shorter than a 70.3. Putting on socks will loose you a podium spot or personal best time so get in the habit of training sockless regularly to condition your feet.


6. Practice your plan?

Have a plan of exactly what you are going to do and practice it over and over again until you are fast with no mistakes. Practice it physically several times in training and then rehearse it mentally several times on the race morning. By the time you are in transition on race day, you should be moving on autopilot. Never try something new on the race day of your triathlon.

7. Run with your bike

The distance from rack to mount line can be considerable at large triathlons. By running safely and quickly with your bike, it is easy to fly over this distance. Run upright with good form on the left side of your bike, holding your seat or preferably your handlebar stem with your right hand. Your left arm swings by your side. Hold the bike upright to go straight and lean it to the side to turn. Once again, Practice in an empty parking lot.

8. Speed over the mount/dismount line

Learn a dismount to cruise over this line without losing any momentum. In the race you will be doing this in bare feet but initially learn and practice this skill wearing running shoes. Don’t unstrap your helmet until you rack your bike.

9. Navigation

Losing your car in a large car park is quite easy, you can have a similar experience in a large transition area. Note where your rack spot is and how to find it from the swim exit and bike entrance. From your rack, know where the bike and run exits are and the quickest route to them. Some people bring a bright object like a fluorescent towel, to mark their spot so its easily seen from a distance. Take a mental snapshot of your position, and recall that snapshot as you are exiting the swim.

10. Grab what you need and go into T2

Put on your hat and fuel belt whilst you are running. It is always faster to complete your tasks moving down the course rather than standing in front of your rack. Perpetual motion is the name of the game !

My quickest transition is 36 seconds, drop me an email and ask me how I did it.