Monday, April 26, 2010


The monthly report from Lisa:

One aspect of triathlons that was hard for me to grasp was the transition area. This is where all your gear is, where you switch shoes, clothes, stash bikes, helmets, etc. until you’re ready to use them. When I did my first triathlon, I had read about cutting down time in the transition area, but I didn’t really know what that meant. So, for my triathlon next month, not only am I training my body but I’m also training my mind to logistically go through each event and work on cutting down time in the transition area? Confused? Me too.


There are three events. Each requires different equipment. Sometimes the equipment overlaps. The faster you can transition between events, the faster your overall time will be. Which is good.

Swimming is first. Staring out in just a bathing suit, swim cap and goggles. No need for a towel because you won’t have time to dry off and running will naturally air dry you. (Except if your swimming in a lake or ocean and want to wipe the sand off your feet before you put on your shoes.) Biking: you’ll have your bike, bike shoes (if you clip in), helmet, bike shorts, water, sunglasses. Running: running shoes, hat, sunglasses. So, first you gather all your equipment and lay it out in an easy to remember pattern.

TIP: Right when you get to your transition area after swimming, put your helmet on first thing. You will be docked time if you leave the transition area without a helmet. You’ll also be docked if you take your helmet off before you enter the transition period when you’re done with the bike portion. So remember, put on your helmet first thing, and take it off last thing.

TIP: Some triathletes tape energy bars or gel to their bike handles, so they can eat as they ride. Mostly I think it makes your bike nasty with crumbs falling all over the place, and this triathlon isn’t that intense. But if you’re doing a long one, it’s something to think about…

TIP: Wear or bring clothes that you can wear for more than one event. There are body suits that you can wear for all three events. Expensive, but maybe worth it if you want to be in the Olympics or something. I wore my bike shorts for the running portion, and although they worked fine, the pictures weren’t so flattering. I might need to figure out something better…

TIP: Make lots of mental notes and maybe bring something that will help you locate where you set up your transition area. Some people bring balloons, a bright towel, set up at the end of a line so that when you go to get your bike after the swim, it’s easy to run right to it instead of trying to remember where all your stuff is. And that’s not fun. Trust me.

Well, this concludes my monthly reports on my triathlon training! My bike is currently in the shop getting all spiffed up and I feel good and happy and relaxed about this triathlon. Wish me luck!


Kathy Haynie said...

Wow, that's a lot to think about! I didn't realize the transition time counted against the athletes for a triathlon. I can see where it would take some experience with triathlons to get all that figured out.

Hmmm...I agree that it's very important to look good in the running photos. How about a running skirt or a cute pair of (looser) shorts to quickly pull on over the bike shorts? I saw some gals (runners) in the Goat Mountain Gallop with that kind of arrangement, and although I'm fairly certain they didn't just come from biking, they DID look very wonderful in their photos, I am sure.

alee said...

Very interesting...and something I haven't really given too much thought to yet. I think this is another good reason my first "tri" will just be the biking and running will give me a good chance to see what all that "transitioning" is about and how to make sure I do well when I actually do my full tri. Thanks for sharing!

Lisa Lou said...

Kathy - the running skirt! I forgot about that! I will have to look into borrowing one. Or maybe Katie can whip one up for me...

Alex - crazy huh?! I had no idea for my first one...check out for the other athletes have stuff set up and GOOD LUCK!!

We'd love to hear from you!

Want to write a guest post for The Skinny? E-mail Katie at kathleenann08 (at) gmail (dot) com.