6 Ways to Develop Faster Transitions:
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Age group athletes need quick transitions to be competitive at Sprint and Olympic distance racing. Just a few seconds lost in transition might cost an athlete a podium position. Here are some pro techniques you can use to make your transitions faster.
Begin practicing fast transitions now
Too often, athletes wait until the week before the race to practice transitions. That is too late. You need to practice now to execute the fastest transitions possible and have them be second nature.
One way to do this is to include transitions in your brick workouts. Also, set aside some practice time to work exclusively on faster transitions–don’t worry about an aerobic workout that day.
Leave your shoes in the pedals and use rubber bands
Elite athletes leave their shoes in the pedals for the first transition (T1). After exiting the swim, they put on their helmets, grab the bike and run out of the transition area.
In order to keep the crank arms and shoes from rotating and jamming into the ground, they use thin rubber bands to hold the shoes and the crank arms parallel to the ground. They attach one end of the rubber band around the shoe or through the heel loop of the shoe, and the other end to a rear stay on the side of the bike.
Do the same with the other shoe. You will have to experiment to see which locations are best for your rubber bands depending on your shoe size and frame size.
The thin rubber bands easily break away when you mount the bike and begin pedaling with your feet on top of your shoes. Slide your feet in your shoes once you are rolling at a good pace.
Put your sunglasses on while pedaling
Instead of putting your sunglasses on in the transition area, put them on once you are rolling on the bike. If your helmet has front air vents, see if you can secure the sunglasses there.
From the front, it will look like your helmet is wearing sunglasses. If your sunglasses are not secure on your helmet, fasten them to the top of your frame with a small piece of tape.
Use a flying mount and dismount
World Cup racers are going as fast as possible at every moment during a race. They are running relatively hard when they exit T1. They mount their moving bicycle with a flying mount, which looks something like a cowboy jumping onto a galloping horse.
Before they approach the dismount line at T2, they remove both feet from their shoes and continue pedaling in a manner similar to when they began the bike leg. Near the dismount line, they swing one leg back and over the bicycle so it’s behind the other leg on one side of the bicycle. At the dismount line they are off the bike and running to the transition area. This particular move is advanced and takes plenty of practice.
Use elastic laces and no socks
There are elastic laces available at most stores that stock triathlon supplies. Elastic laces allow you to easily slip your feet into your shoes, wasting no time to secure Velcro or old-style lace locks on regular laces.
Before you decide to race with no socks, do a few practice runs at home. Some athletes can run with no socks and not have a single blister. Other athletes will develop hot spots on their feet that eventually bloom into blisters.
On your test run, carry a lubricant such as Body Glide. When you feel a hot spot beginning to develop, stop and apply the lubricant to the shoe surface causing the hot spot. This is the same location you will apply the lubricant on race morning when you set up your transition area.
Use a movie camera
When you are trying to improve your transition speed, have someone record your T1 and T2 in a practice session or during a race. Use a watch and time both transitions. After reviewing for ways to improve, do the transitions repeatedly until you think you have the fastest transition time possible.
If you’re a spectator at an event, tape some of the top age-group and elite racers to see how they’re doing transitions. You may pick up some additional tips.
If you’re looking to get the edge on your competition without additional training, take a look at your transitions. Strategizing where you can save time during transitions is fun and it may even put you on the podium.
Article adapted from Gale Bernhardt. USA Triathlon
This article originally appeared on Active.com