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The Ultimate Guide to the Triathlon Transition

The Ultimate Guide to the Triathlon Transition

Every. Second. Counts. When you’re competing in a triathlon, losing time during a transition can be the difference maker in being on the podium or standing in the audience. This Ultimate Guide to the Triathlete Transition will make sure you can leave it all out there in the race!

two people racing

We know that most of your training is going to be spent on running, swimming, and biking. But it’s worth sitting down and thinking about your transitions. At the bare minimum you should practice them once or twice. Adrenaline is pumping when you get out of the water. Having a routine will keep the nerves calm and make sure mistakes are minimized. 

What it all comes down to is preparation!

What is a transition?

For newbies, this may be the last thing you worry about. It might not even cross your mind until you’re frantically searching for your helmet or you can’t get your fingers to double knot your laces. The last thing you need is your laces coming untied (cough* Lock Laces).

All races aren’t made the same!

Some transition areas are well-prepared while others might feel like a free-for-all. Some are bigger or smaller than others. The important thing to remember is making your small transition zone as neat and tidy as possible to ensure that you’re ready to jump right into your transition routine.

Setting up Your transition area

Transition area triathlete


Have you ever walked into a parking garage and realized you don’t remember where you parked your car? You don’t want the gut punch feeling at your first race. The first thing to do when you get to the transition zone to set up, is to get a feel for where your transition area is located. Knowing exactly where you need to go, when you get out of the water, is the half the battle.

Setting up your gear

When you’re practicing for your transitions, get a feel for the order of operations. You’ll rack your bike up on the pole by hanging it by the seat. Then by your back wheel you can set up your equipment. You can place your running gear on one side of the tire and biking gear on the other side of the tire.

Laying things out in a way that makes sense is important. Don’t keep things rolled up in a bag that you’ll have to sort through. Avoid time wasters! Replace your traditional laces with Lock Laces, the shoe lace designed for triathlete transitions and races. Your laces won’t come undone and you won’t have to worry about tying them during the transition. Cinch the lock up and be on your way!

Shop Lock Laces

Double Check Everything.

  1. Snacks are out and ready!
  2. You’re water bottles are filled and ready to go!
  3. Prior to showing up for the race, make sure your tires are inflated to the correct pressure and your bike chain is lubricated! Check to make sure your brakes are fully functional and your bike is in the gear you want for the start of the race!
  4. Shoes have Lock Laces installed and the tension has been tested and practiced with!

running to water

Transition 1: Swim to Bike

Getting out of the water

Swim as far as you can. Don’t be tempted to start walking too early. It will cost you precious seconds. You can swim faster than you can walk through water. Figure out the shortest line from the water to your transition area.

Take off your wetsuit

As your running out of the water, place your googles on your head and pull your arms from the wetsuit. Let the wetsuit dangle as you run to the transition zone. Wait until you get to your transition area to start pulling off the rest of the suit.

Once you’re in your zone, pull down the wetsuit and peel it off. Step out of it and place the suit under your bike. Remove your goggles and cap. Be sure that you place your suit and gear in your area to avoid a penalty.

Swap out

Place your helmet on your head and get any nutrition loaded up into your pockets. Get on your bike shoes and sunglasses. Drop your bike from the pole and roll your bike out from under the pole!

Getting to the Mount Line

Jog with your bike on your side. Do not get on your bike until you pass the mount line. Run past the mount line with your bike and jump on in the least congested area!

Transition 2: Bike to Run


Different from mounting your bike, when you dismount, you must dismount BEFORE the line. This will make sure you don’t run anyone over! Run alongside your bike as you make your way back to your transition area. Rack your bike in the same direction that it was when you started.

Swap Out

Place your helmet and any gear under the bike. Avoid anything falling into someone else’s area. That will cause a littering penalty. Pocket any of your nutrition foods. Clip on your race belt or your race number. Put on your sock if you wear them. Slide on your running shoes and cinch up your Lock Laces.

Lacing up Lock Laces

Exiting to run

Jog from the transition area to the starting line and get moving on your run. Pace yourself from the beginning.

Why wear elastic laces?

Elastic laces in a triathlon are a huge help. Using a lace like Lock Laces that are designed for triathletes will help in more than one way.

  • Don’t have to worry about trying to tie your shoes with shaky hands.
  • Elastic laces naturally allow for feet to swell in your shoe during your run.
  • Lock Laces can be easily loosened and tightened without having to be untied and retied
  • They will save you time during T2
  • You can easily slip in and out of your shoes at any moment but don’t have to worry about compression. 

To sum it up

Practice makes perfect. The first time you work on your transition shouldn’t be when you running out of the water at your race. Practice and rehearse your transition so that your brain doesn’t even have to think when you get to the transition zone. You may not win a race at the transition area but you can sure as heck lose one.

Shop Lock Laces 



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