T2: Transition from Bike to Run

The transition from bike to run is an important aspect of any triathlon race. Your training should mimic what will happen on race day. There are three aspects of a good transition that should be incorporated in the training program. This includes brick training, riding into transition and preparing the equipment before the race. The transition area sometimes becomes a traffic jam when some triathletes race to pick up time in the final minutes of the bike stage. Practice will help provide a smooth, quick and relatively safe transition from bike to run.

Add Brick Workouts to the Training Program

Brick workouts should be incorporated into triathlon training at least one day each week. It includes a short moderate run immediately following a ride. The purpose is to train your body to adjust from cycling to running. Cycling is a repetitive motion where the legs are constantly turning. The legs must adjust to carrying full body weight when beginning the run. Incorporating brick workouts in your training will help the legs acclimate to the change.

Prepare for Running During the Ride

With a mile left in the ride, it is a good time to begin preparations for the run stage. Pedal in a standing position for 100 meters. This will put full body weight on the legs. Pushing the heels down will help stretch calf muscles, important muscles for running. You could loosen up the shoulders by shaking out your arms, one at a time of course. It is also good to lower the gear and pedal with a faster cadence to loosen the leg muscles. I like to unbuckle the shoes when the transition area comes into view and finish the ride with my feet on top. This saves time when dismounting the bike. The final mile of the ride is also a good time to drink and replace fluids. Run preparations during the final mile of the bike will become more instinctive when incorporated in training.

Organize Your Transition Area

Preparing the transition area before the race will help you make a smooth transition. I generally lay a small towel along side of the bike, a good place to store running gear. It will not be disturbed as long as it does not interfere with other bicycles. Once you rack the bike and remove the helmet get your running shoes on. I recommend using spring clips on the laces. You could find tying shoes more difficult and time consuming after riding hard. The race belt, cap and sunglasses can be carried as you run out of the transition area.

Start the Run at Moderate Pace

The legs could feel a little heavy in the early part of the run. Therefore, the beginning of the run should not be at full pace. You will pay for the mistake before the run is over. The run should be progressive building up speed in the first mile. This will allow the legs to adjust to running. You will finish the race with a stronger more comfortable pace.

Professional triathletes appear to move through the transition area very quickly. It is something they practice as part of their training. It is as important for you to practice good transitions before the race.

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