I was dealing with my 2016 Olympics withdrawal symptoms by watching some events using the “On Demand” function offered by my cable service provider. I watched the swim portion of the Women’s Tri (I saw bike and run live) and the whole of the men’s tri. The commentator made an interesting comment during one of them about Triathlon not being a 3 discipline event but rather a 5 discipline event because of the transitions.
That got me to thinking about practicing for transitions as part of one’s triathlon training. Most of us probably include some sort of T2 training when doing a Brick workout of bike and run. Practicing T1 is more difficult but can still be done, even if tri training is limited to a pool. But the practice I was thinking of was T1 or T2 repeat. Repetitive intervals of entering transition, removing the items from the prior discipline and putting on the items needed for the next discipline.
For example, for T1 intervals, set up a bike on a rack (include others if you can) and the other items you will use during transition from swim to bike and then take with you on the bike. If you can set up a bike rack to replicate what you will experience at your race, even better. Use the kid’s bikes or borrow from a neighbor if needed. The more you can replicate your T1 set up, the better the training. To replicate what things will be like when you exit the water, consider putting on your wetsuit and using a hose or sprinkler in the yard to get wet. If you have access to a body of water that will be similar to what you will experience at your race (i.e., ocean, lake, etc.) then do your training there if you can.
Once this is all set up, do a workout of multiple reps of what you will do upon exiting the water, entering T1 and exiting the transition with your bike. Time is not as critical as just doing the same activity over and over and over again. You will learn the best lay out for your items. And, don’t forget to practice the things that might go wrong (Zipper on wetsuit jams, someone messed up your T1/T2 layout of equipment, shoe laces jam up, etc.) so you are prepared for that should it occur at your race. Do the same for T2 with the bike rack set up and the items you will need for the run.
Just like doing interval training for swim, bike, or run, you should do multiple reps of T1 and T2 transition. I do not suggest doing both trainings on the same day but certainly it is possible to do the two different transition training workouts in the same week/micro cycle.
This is the best way to become proficient at your transitions and shave a few seconds off you total competition time. It is also a good way to practice something new before introducing it into a race situation.
For more information about interval training for T1 and T2 or Triathlon coaching for all distances from Sprint to Ironman 140.6, contact me at Info@TriathlonCoachCT.com