Do you ever practice or think about Transitions? Sure, you do your swim, bike & run training, but do you ever “train” or practice your transitions? Do you look to see what the athletes with the fastest transition times spend vs. what time you spend in transitions and then think about how you can trim off seconds on your time? Maybe you can skip putting socks on (practice running with no socks first!) I know it’s only seconds and not much of a big deal compared to swim, bike & run times. But someday, it may be the difference between on the podium and not being on the podium. In my case, it was the difference for winning the whole event.
Washington Sprint 2017: The water quality of the Pamlico River wasn’t good enough to swim in so this year’s event was changed to a Duathlon format. I knew there were some pretty fast runners in the event, so my goal was to stay near them in the first run (0.5 miles), put as much distance on them as I could in the bike and try to hold them off in the final 5K. I was in 6th Place going into T1 but with the fastest T1 transition time, I left the Transition Area in 2nd Place. It was a nice mental boost having a quick transition and I quickly passed the fastest runner on the bike. I was able to build about a 2 minute lead on the bike over the next 2 competitors. Now came the final run. I made a note of the time as I reached the midpoint of the “out & back” run. I had about a 40 second lead. I had no idea if that was enough but I was definitely worried as 2 runners running together tend to push each other. I had to push myself and kept telling myself they were getting closer and catching me. I was running scared. In the end, I was able to cross the finish line in 1st place. The margin of victory: 15 seconds. My total transition time was 35 seconds. What was the total transition time of the 2nd place athlete? 1:12 which is a difference of 37 seconds! His transition time cost him the win!
Don’t let your transition time cost you. Practice it. Ask others how they do it. Try new things and you will be faster. It’s not much time, but someday it may make a difference. My brother, Brian, taught me all he learned in his first 5 years of triathlon. I’m very thankful that he impressed on me the importance of a quick transition time. It really isn’t that hard if you get in the habit of being quick, efficient and stingy with every second. In this case, it gave me my 1st win in a Duathlon!