How to Set Up Triathlon Transitions

Regardless of whether you are a beginner or a professional triathlete, the transition area in a triathlon should always be dealt with properly.

T1 and T2?

Swim to bike [T1] and bike to run [T2] both have their own requirements.

The more you race, the more knowledgeable you become in what you need, like the space and time in a transition area. After doing a couple of races, you will learn not to forget your visor, and you will also learn that you really do not need a huge tub of water for rinsing off your feet. Soon enough, you will conquer your transition areas without any problems.


Triathlon Transition


It is not uncommon to find professional triathletes T1 are bare, except for a race belt.  This is because they believe that simplifying their space is best achieved by having it empty.

They carry with them fuel and fluids on their bikes, shoes clipped on the pedals, helmet dangling on the bars, and their shades tucked into their helmets, or some other area that is easily reachable.

Their T2 area is done similarly but only with the bare necessities — usually just the shoes and a hat. If it is your first triathlon, and not an Ironman, you will not be dealing with a transition area and, instead, you will get a handful of bags to stuff.

T1-Swim to Bike

1. Helmet

2. Sunglasses

3. Bike shoes

4. Race belt

5. Nutrition/hydration/electrolytes

6. Sunscreen

7. Vaseline, gel, or Body Glide

8. Tub with water to rinse feet

9. Transition towel

10. Gloves

Above are ten things you wouldn’t be able to live without in a transition area.  However, there are yet more things you can cram in if you want. Let’s simplify things to make it easier. Items one to five can be taken on your bike. Also, you can make it all easier by placing your sunglasses on your helmet, and place your helmet on your bike’s handles.

Once on your bike, you simply put on your shades and helmet. There are races that require triathletes to ride with their race belt, and you can always have it loose in your helmet, providing easy access. Things will be made a lot easier, especially since you already have your shoes hooked on to the pedals.

When it comes to nutrition, your water bottles should be filled before the race.  Obtain tape gels for your tube top, or even use a bento box to carry all your nutritional needs.

Items six and seven are easy. Use sunscreens that are waterproof and sweat proof, so that it will stay on longer throughout the swim leg. Your gel and Vaseline should also last throughout the race.

As for item eight, it really isn’t that necessary, because race organizers usually set up rinsing areas prior the entering transition.

Item nine is a favorite of mine because it helps me easily locate my bike. It will be much better if you choose a bright colored towel that is easy for you to identify. There is actually no need for you to touch the towel because there is no need to dry off before riding.

T2-Bike to Run

1. Sunglasses/race belt

2. Shoes

3. Socks

4. Hat/visor

5. Nutrition/hydration/electrolytes

You may already be wearing your sunglasses and race belt from the bike transition.



Quickly slip on your shoes, grab your hat and you are already good to go. If you race without any socks on, make sure that your shoes are pre-lubed and this can be done by rubbing Vaseline on the areas where you tend to get blisters. Also, don’t forget to put powder inside the bottom of your shoe before the race starts. On the other hand, if you race wearing socks, always practice slipping on the ones you will race when training. There are always brands of socks that are difficult to slide over wet feet.

Nutrition is always available out on the course and racing will be a lot easier if you can race on what the course offers. Research and train on what will be used on race day. As for salts, those might need to be carried if you use them.  Stuff a few into a small plastic container (NUUN or a film container work well), and off you run!

Good luck!


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