8 Transition Tips From Experienced Triathletes

Before doing my first triathlon, I wanted to be as prepared as possible. I reached out to amateur triathletes, professionals, and even Ironman winners from around the world and asked them one simple question: “What’s the one thing you wish you’d have known before doing your first triathlon?”

I received 53 inspiring tips. In this post, you will find the 8 transitions tips they gave me. Enjoy reading those and explore the 45 other tips as well.

It is not necessary to go running with your helmet 🙂

Any first triathlon is like a big step; you have been thinking about it, you have trained for it and as a racer, you have been visualizing the course itself.

In my case, I knew that swimming in a big pack looks more like being in a washing machine than a casual training in your favorite pool – I was prepared for it. I knew that biking was my discipline, and I was more concerned about signing the bike split than thinking about the run… Too excited, too much on fire maybe… I dropped my bike on the rack, jumped into my running shoes in record time, adjusted my bib number and here we go! Dammit, I still wore my helmet… It happened to most of us during our first triathlon… I did it too… I came back to my bike, dropped it, and went back on the running course in a proper outfit 🙂

Guilhem – Instagram

One of the things I wished I knew was that transition time can make or break a race. Of course, most people aren’t competitive in their first race (I wasn’t either), but when I looked at the results, I saw I could’ve easily finished higher if my transition times were quicker. From that point on I’ve never worn socks in a sprint/Olympic distance race and used bungee shoelaces.

Tom – Instagram

I wish I would have known how important it is to optimize the transitions. Try many many times until it is perfect and natural 🙂

Germano – Instagram

Not just how to find your run legs after the bike but how to find them quickly!!!!!  Firstly, I’d have started doing bricks a lot sooner in the training. Secondly, I’d have done speed work, not just running easily when doing bricks!  This was the hardest part of a tri for me and something that I’ve worked hard on over the years so that running off the bike is like 2nd nature.  I think it’s so important and the key to having a good run and finishing the race strong.

Secondly, not getting caught up in the panic and pace of the swim start. I think for newbies who are NOT good swimmers and NOT comfortable with hoards of people flying into the water at one time that these athletes learn how to have a calm and successful swim. I recommend starting on the outside of the pack, calmly walking into the water, and staying wide of the masses. Focus on breathing and getting comfortable and under control. Then when ready, move in towards the pack once you have your rhythm. My 1st tri was terrifying because I took off like a shotgun and then had the full panic attack, I nearly turned back. I then went onto approach my next tri much differently.

Jen – Instagram / Website

Something I would have wanted to know in my first triathlon is to make sure you remember where your bike is in transition!! I spent 6 minutes looking for it in my first sprint triathlon, after being first out of the water. I watched everyone I beat leaving one by one and I was still stuck. SO be sure to know where your bike is!!!! I guess it’s kind of obvious but that still bothers me to this day and it’s always a good reminder. I now make sure I have memorized where my bike is and make sure it stands out. Hasn’t happened since. 🙂

Noel – Instagram

I believe that the beginner athlete, before making his first competition, must carry out many transitions drills between the 3 modalities: swimming and biking, biking and running, swimming, and running, as well as classic swimming, biking, and running.

This is the time to experiment, to see how the body reacts, adjust details of how to proceed, and also take a liking to triathlon.

I also advise competing in short distance races before going to long distances. I see people today starting with Half and Ironman, and I only started in long distances when I had 8 years of experience in triathlons.

Viça – Instagram

I think I was incredibly lucky to have my coach there. She helped a lot, but one of the best bits of advice she gave was to walk the transition from the swim exit to the bike then to the exit and the same with the run. It’s so super important and in the bigger races try to get a landmark that’s near your bike like a tree or building or something – it definitely helps.

Elena – Instagram / Website

What I would have liked to know before doing my first triathlon: to have practiced the transitions before. I think it is the hardest part of this sport, the change that involves the change of pedaling to run for the muscles of our body is something that we should train more.


Part 1 ->  9 motivational tips
Part 2 ->  19 beginner tips
Part 3 ->  12 swimming tips
Part 4 ->  5 biking & running tips
Part 5 ->  8 transitions tips