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Don’t Make These 10 Transition Mistakes!

Don’t Make These 10 Transition Mistakes!

I think I may have said this before but I have been to the start of a triathlon/half marathon/marathon/duathlon/aquabike about 75+ times to date. The vast majority of these events have been triathlon and I want to share with you some of the mistakes I’ve made over my many years of racing so that you don’t make the same ones yourself. Some of these are completely silly and the fault was mine for lack of planning, others were made out of sheer lack of experience. Some of these will make you laugh, but my goal is to present you with what NOT TO DO if you want to have a successful triathlon!

T1 -Swim to Bike

1. Getting out of the water and not knowing where SWIM IN is located. This means you didn’t do your homework ahead of time by surveying the entire race scene. Always do a sweep of the course and the transition scene either the day before race day or the morning of. Know your entries and exits well!

2. Not standing on a towel to get the rocks and dirt off the bottoms of your feet in T1. I’m a huge fan of quickly dipping your feet in a small bucket too. Rocks and dirt on the bottoms of your feet make for a very uncomfortable bike leg, especially if you’re not wearing socks. Trust me, I’ve done this and it sucks!

3. Using rubber bands to secure your cycling shoes to the pedals then getting on the bike and the bands won’t break. For all you flying mount and dismount folks-make sure you use really skinny rubber bands that break easily! You don’t want to start pedaling and have them wrap around the crank arms. Not only is this a huge waste of time, but it can cause you to crash. Remember THIN rubber bands that can break easily!

4. Not having your sunglasses and helmet ready to grab and go! Plan to your T1 like this: first stand on your towel and wipe your feet, second is putting on cycling shoes, third is helmet, fourth is sunglasses. Have everything laid out and visible!

5. Putting on socks and gloves on during a Sprint tri- huge waste of time! Don’t even think about it. My first novice race I wasted almost 30 seconds trying to put gloves on. You don’t need them! It’s only a 12 mile bike ride in most cases.

6. Running out of the pool to someone else’s bike that is the same as yours.Mark your stuff! If you’re not allowed to put anything on the bike racks, put a pink or bright colored towel on the ground that you will recognize from afar. Find a landmark across from or near your row of bikes or count the rows and know where yours is. Remember the bikes next to yours as well.

T2 -Bike to Run

1. Dismounting the bike after the dismount line! I’ve gotten yelled at many times for this but I don’t think anyone ever gave me a penalty. Know where that line is ahead of time and be sure not to go past it! Don’t risk getting a 2 minute penalty as this can cost you a podium finish.

2. Throwing your empty gu packaging on the ground as you leave T2.Definitely don’t get caught throwing trash- you can get a penalty for this!

3. Not having your race belt on when leaving T2. Or it’s upside down. Once I was about 200 yards into the run and realized I forgot my race belt with my race number. I had to run back and get it and it literally cost me a podium finish (4th place instead of 2nd) Leave your race belt inside your running shoes so you can’t forget it. As soon as you rack your bike, put your race belt on, then your running shoes, then your cap and sunglasses. Use this same order every time. (No, you don’t need socks for a Sprint, especially if you are going for time!)

4. Not covering your running shoes in T2 with plastic if it’s looking like it might rain. I’ve come back from the bike leg to T2 and found my shoes completely drenched and overflowing with water. This made for a super slushy run and I got a few nasty blisters. Cover your shoes if you think it might rain. It’s much more pleasant putting on dry shoes, trust me!

5. Don’t put your gu, gel, or snickers bar inside your running shoes- it makes for a really uncomfortable run if you forget they are in there and put your shoes on anyway. I ran a whole 10K with a Snickers bar between my toes. It ruined my orthotic insert and it was hard to get all the sticky out of the bottoms.

I hope you find these tips useful and that you don’t make these same mistakes that I have made over the years. Although, looking back, all of it was truly a blast and I’m so thankful for these lessons!

Have you thought about hiring a coach for your next iron distance event? Click the purple box below and fill in your contact info for a FREE 15 min chat with me to talk about your race goals!

Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

USA Cycling Coach

ACSM Certified Trainer


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