Relax1 of 15
Even if you're nervous—and that's totally OK—try to calm your breathing and stay loose. If you're wound up and overly nervous, your heart rate will be elevated, you'll fumble your gear and you'll likely not swim, bike or run to potential.
Know the Landscape2 of 15
Know where the bike and run exits are from where your tri bike is racked so you can get out of transition without wandering or having to dodge others.
Find It Fast3 of 15
Use a brightly-colored, easy-to-spot transition mat. Note landmarks and any signage near where your tri bike is racked so you can quickly find your gear.
Keep It Simple4 of 15
Bring only items you are going to use to transition: wetsuit, goggles, cap, bike, helmet, glasses, triathlon or cycling shoes, running shoes and race belt. The more stuff you bring into transition, the more complicated your transitions become.
Unsuit-able5 of 15
Use Body Glide on your wrists and ankles to help strip off your triathlon wetsuit quickly. Practice getting out of your wetsuit so as not to get stuck or tangled up in sleeves and legs.
Put a Lid on It6 of 15
If you're using a road cycling helmet, open your sunglasses and nest them in the vents, and drape the helmet on your handlebars. If you're using an aero helmet, open your sunglasses and place them in your helmet.
Band It7 of 15
You'll need triathlon-specific shoes for this speed hack. Use rubber bands to keep your shoes upright. This makes it easier to get your feet in and also removes any chance your shoes will get knocked off while exiting T1 since they won't be spinning free and hitting the ground while you run to the mount line.
Power Up Early8 of 15
Turn on your bike computer just before you leave transition for the swim. You don't want to be fumbling with it or waiting for it to get a GPS signal when you're trying to get on the road. Make sure your bike GPS is fully charged in case you're in a later start wave.
Zip It9 of 15
If you anticipate needing a long-sleeve cycling jersey for a cool-weather race, pre-zip it just a few inches, so you can pull it over your head before you hit the road. Trying to zip a jersey quickly with cold hands could cost you a lot of time.
Gear Up10 of 15
Put your bike in the gear you'll need when you exit transition so you can pedal easily and effectively as you build your speed up to race pace. Do this before you clip your shoes in and rubber band them in place.
If the bike exit is flat, put the chain in the big chainring and in the middle of the cassette. If you have to climb out of transition, go with the small chainring and a gear towards the left side of the cassette.
Carry Out11 of 15
Sock It12 of 15
If you wear socks on the run, roll or bunch them, and place them in your running shoes to make them easy to slip on.
Slip and Go13 of 15
Elastic laces allow for fast bike-to-run transitions, alleviating the need to tie your running shoes. Also when using elastic laces, there's a very low chance of your running shoes coming untied while racing, which would cost you precious time.
Dress to Impress14 of 15
After you get your shoes on: Get out of transition. Take your sunglasses—if you were not already wearing them on the bike—your race-belt and any headwear with you. Put these items on while you're running out of transition.