Get ready for a faster run in your next race by spending a few seconds longer in second transition…
Bagging a faster run time in your next triathlon isn’t just about training hard for it (though that will help). Spending a few seconds extra in T2 preparing yourself for a good run could actually save you minutes once you step over the ‘run out’ line and onto the course.
1. SORT YOUR TRAINERS OUT
You’ve heard the expression ‘more haste, less speed’. It’s definitely one to bear in mind when it comes to the seemingly simple act of pulling on your running shoes. It won’t be easy as your feet are often cold or numb from being fixed on the bike, not to mention a bit sweaty. Prepare your running shoes before the race by putting talc around the inside of the shoes to help your feet slip in. When it comes to pulling them on, take a second to ensure the insole hasn’t bunched up, the tongue hasn’t shifted to one side and the elastic laces aren’t too tight or loose. It might be frustrating to have to stop and adjust them at this stage but if it prevents a painful blister, it could save you slowing to a painful walk on the run, so it really is time well spent.
2. GET SWITCHED ON
If you know you suffer from muscle imbalances that affect your run or you just struggle to get up to speed, then make sure you do some homework before the race. Ask a coach or physiotherapist to give you a really quick warm up to do in transition. Doing a few single leg squats for example can ‘switch on’ your glute muscles so you run more efficiently and faster, making up any time lost in T2.
3. SEE CLEARLY
As you’re going through the physical essentials in T2, start visualising yourself out on the course and running well. Think about a smooth running style, carrying you forward pain free towards the finish. Remember all the hard work you’ve banked in training and how you can cash it in now. If you’re in a really bad place, just remind yourself that you’ve almost achieved your goal and crossed that finish line.
4. EAT UP
In shorter races such as sprint or Olympic distance events this is your last opportunity to take on a decent hit of fuel. Have a gel to hand in T2 ready to gulp it down before you head out on the course. That way you won’t need to carry anything extra and the energy burst will help get you into your run quickly. Choose a caffeinated option for an extra hit and also a much needed reduction in perceived exertion.
5. WARM UP
You might look a bit strange but as you are running out of transition, try a few exaggerated strides to warm up for your run. It’s notoriously difficult to run after being on the bike so allowing yourself a couple of minutes to warm up and find your gait will help you get up to speed faster than if you don’t. Try running slightly faster than usual out of transition, driving your knees high and kicking your heels up towards your bum. This will help shift blood to your working muscles and shake out any stiffness that may have set in from the bike.
MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU
The key to having a good transition, whether or not you’re trying any of the tricks here, is practice. Take it seriously. Set up a transition at home or in the park with all your kit and run through your transition routine until it’s second nature.
WORDS: Elizabeth Hufton PHOTO: Corbis
Head to our triathlon training section for more tips from our experts…