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Quick Transitions

By Joan Scrivanich | April 21, 2015, 5:47 p.m. (ET)

transitionsWe all want faster times at our next race. Think about how much training you have to do in order to speed up in the swim, bike or run portions of your next race. You need to plan the right workouts at the right time in order to peak for your A race. Now think about the work required to have a smooth and efficient transition. The work required to get your transition times down is easier compared to the work that’s required for getting faster in the other disciplines. Faster transitions in a triathlon will give you a faster overall race time; it’s “free speed” during your race. And those seconds you save could mean a place on the podium.

So what are some ways for you to get through transition quickly? Transitions are not something you can just put off and figure out on race day. A smooth transition requires practice to gain both efficiency and familiarity. All of these tips should be practiced during training, before attempting it during a race.

It’s All About Efficiency
Put out only what you need, in the order you need it, and no more. Keep the rest in your transition bag. Don’t worry about it looking pretty and Instagram perfect, think about keeping it ready to use when needed.

Look For Landmarks
While setting up before the race, make sure you look for landmarks and count which row you’re in so you know exactly where to go. You should also know where all exits and entries are. If you have the choice of where to rack your bike, choose a spot that’s easy to get to and not very crowded.

Run, Don’t Walk
The clock doesn’t stop when you get out of the water, so run out of the water while also peeling off your wetsuit down to your hips. During T2, run through transition with your bike while holding it by its saddle.

Let Your Feet Go Naked
If you can get by without wearing socks, then that will definitely save you time. But if you do need to wear socks, scrunch or roll them up so that you can easily pull them on.

Embrace Your Inner Cowboy
A flying mount and dismount will be the quickest way to get on and off your bike. DO NOT attempt this on race day if you’re not comfortable or haven’t already practiced it. On race day, get on and off your bike the best way you know how.

Joan Scrivanich, M.A., CSCS is a USA Triathlon and USA Track & Field Certified Coach as well as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. She has a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Columbia University and has been an endurance athlete for 25 years, which has included competing at a division I college in both cross country and track. Joan’s coaching career started in the health care field while working at the top NYC hospitals in cardiac rehabilitation and research. She now coaches triathletes and runners full time while also coaching fitness clients and freelance writing. Find out more about Joan and her coaching with Rise Endurance LLC at

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.