As a triathlete moves from the horizontal position during the swim leg to the vertical position in the T1 transition, there is always a heart rate spike and a lightheaded feeling that can be difficult to manage.
Here are some practical ways to condition the body for the additional stress in the T1 transition.
1. Transition Training1 of 7
The best way to acclimate your body to the stress of switching quickly from swimming in the open water--dolphining in the shallow water, running through the T1 transition area and jumping on your bicycle--is to practice. Practice over and over again.
You can do a series of these transitions by quickly swimming for a few hundred meters, dolphining quickly and then running through some soft sand before changing and jumping on your bicycle. Then repeat the set.
2. Ins and Outs2 of 7
When swim training, head down to your local open body of water. Run into the water, swim along the shoreline a few hundred meters, then swim back in toward shore.
As your hand scraps the bottom, stand up, steady yourself and dolphin through the shallow water a few times. Run up the shoreline for a bit and then repeat the swim-dolphin-run.
3. Deck-Ups3 of 7
If you only have access to your local pool, then do a series of 25 or 50 meter repeats. When your hand hits the wall, quickly pull yourself out of the water and stand straight on the pool deck. Rest for no more than 10 to 15 seconds, then dive back in to repeat.
It is important to stand up straight and not bend over at the waist. This will more closely replicate the physiological condition that you face in a triathlon.
The set can range from 10 x 25 with deck-ups at each end of the pool or 10 x 50 with deck-ups after each 50. If you do not like diving into the water from the pool's edge, you can jump in the water instead.
4. Sprints and Dolphins4 of 7
If you train in a shallow pool, do a set of fast 25s or 50s followed by dolphining the entire length of the pool.
For example, try: 10 x 25 sprint + 25 dolphin. Sprint one length of the pool and then dolphin back. Go all out on the first 25 meters, make a quick turn, then dive down to the bottom of the pool. Push off the bottom at 45 degrees, rise to the surface, quickly dive back to the bottom and repeat for the entire length of the pool.
5. Swim-Bike Combos5 of 7
Some triathletes bring their home trainer bikes to the pool and position them right next to their lane.
Sample sets include 5 x [300 swim (descend 1 to 5 down to race pace) + 2-minute steady bike] or [400 build to race pace + 2- to 4-minute sprint on bike].
6. Strength Building6 of 7
A series of planks followed by short wind sprints can help replicate the T1 transition on dry land. The planks and sprint set can also be done with KAATSU Air Bands that will help to significantly increase strength and speed at the same time.
Other sample sets with KAATSU Aqua Bands include 10 x 25 + deck-ups with KAATSU Aqua Bands on the legs. After each length, pull yourself up on the pool deck and walk or run in place for 10 to 15 seconds. Note: This will require extreme fitness and should only be done by the well-prepared, competitive triathlete.