My Olympics: day eight, triathlon

In this blog series, I take inspiration from one of the day’s Olympic events. Today: triathlon.

It had to be done, really. I used to do triathlon (surely there’s a more eloquent way of putting it… “I used to compete in triathlons at amateur level), coach triathlon (the open-water swim part of it), write about triathlon (mainly for 220 Triathlon magazine and Triathlete’s World magazine, but also for British Triathlon‘s Tri News and other industry/trade publications) and have even been interviewed on BBC Radio about triathlon. Oh, and I wrote the non-newsy content for British Triathlon’s media site.

So, yeah, after following the progress of Helen Jenkins, Vicky Holland and Lucy Hall on TVs and radios as I went about my day, it was clear that today’s blog post had to be “triathlon”.

However, I have neither the energy nor the resources to actually do an entire triathlon today! The bike and run bits are easy (in that you can ride and run from anywhere and use your own house as “transition”). But for the swim, you need a body of open-water. I don’t have one. So, I decided to do a (very!) short bike/run “brick” (the official name for a training session which runs two of the triathlon disciplines together – a swim/bike brick or the more common bike/run brick).

I even put on a tri-suit. Yes, to cycle round local roads and to run round the block. See how dedicated I am to this blog!

Here are two videos, of me talking you through T1 and T2 – the transitions between swim-to-bike and then bike-to-run. If you watched the Olympic triathlon today you’ll have noticed how quickly the athletes transition from each bit of the race. That’s the key: get your transition area set up and organised, know what needs to be done and then practice endlessly until you’ve got it down to a fine art. Transition is often called the “4th discipline” of triathlon because it can make or break your race, just as the swim, bike or run can.

Here’s transition in a nutshell. This assumes that you’ve already “walked it through”, noting where you come into transition from the swim and how you’ll find your bike from there, where the bike exit is, where the bike “in” is and where you’ll find your (empty) bike racking space from there, then where “run out” is. It also assumes you’ve set your transition area up however you need it to be so you can lay your hands on everything just as you need them without getting flustered or losing time.

Transition one
– Finish the swim
– Wetsuit off (unzip, arms out, down to the waist) as you run into transition.
– Find your bike, wetsuit fully off, swimcap and goggles off
– Bike helmet on and done up (do this now before you even touch your bike to avoid getting penalised)
– Sunnies on, race belt on, bike shoes on (unless you have them clipped to your bike and opt to get into them whilst on the go – yes this can be done, not by me though!)
– Grab your bike, head for “bike out”
– Get on at the “mount” line, start pedalling (you will, of course, have racked your bike in a low gear so you’ll be able to get going easily)

Transition two
– Dismount your bike at the dismount line
– Run into transition, find your racking area, rack the bike
– Helmet off, bike shoes off, run shoes on (elastic laces and lace locks make this very quick to do)
– Grab any energy gels/visor/hat etc and get running
– Run through “run out” and go for Gold

Transition two in particular is lightening fast, often taking the Pros just a matter of seconds! Amazing to watch.

There you have it. Did you watch the Olympic triathlon today? Did you notice the speed and efficiency of the transitions? If you watch the men’s race on Tuesday, look out for the bits between the swim/bike and bike/run – and get prepared to be amazed!

How have the London 2012 Olympic Games inspired you today?

My Olympics: day eight, triathlon is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

One Response to My Olympics: day eight, triathlon

  1. […] know I’ve already covered triathlon (when the women’s race was on) but today, inspired by the men’s race (go Brownlee! and […]


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