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took the plunge

ok so I've taken the plunge and I've entered my first triathlon which is on the 28th March and I'm really pleased with myself for it.

I took the advice of TommiTri and Treefrog and spent the winter getting a good solid base and I'm feeling so much fitter and healthier. I changed my diet as I felt I needed to look after myself a bit more.

[b]One thing I regret is having spent £350 on a entry level bike as I feel I should have spent more, but then at that time I didn't know if I'd like all the training. But I've managed to convince the wife that I need a better one so I've got my eye on a nice Cube!!!

Here's my problem. Now that I've signed up for the Triathlon, having never been to one, I have this dawning realisation that I know next to nowt about transition, is the race staggered ( as I can't see 50 people getting into a pool at once!!), what I can/ can't do during a race. Most of this will come with experience but to hear other's thoughts experiences would be good so that I can prepare myself.

For instance, is it better to have a tri-suit for the swim or is simple pool attire enough, whats better for transition???

I have no doubt in my mind that the first Tri will be a blast but I want to really enjoy it and then to learn from it but if I can learn more prior then all the better.




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    MrSquishyMrSquishy Posts: 277
    My advice would be to run through some practice transitions before race day so you familiarise yourself with what order to do things (swimming cap off before helmet on, that sort of thing). I’ve seen several instances of people on their way out of T1 without their helmets getting sent back by the race marshalls.

    In terms of tri-suits, I bought one before my first pool-based sprint and don’t regret it for a minute. Other bits of kit that are worth getting are a number belt and elastic laces which can help save time in transition. They’ll also be the cheapest things you ever buy in triathlon!

    I was cakking myself about transitins before my first race, but I tried to remain calm and collected in the heat of all the excitement and used it as a learning exercise. After a couple of races you be used to it and out of T1 in under a minute.
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    nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    First up, well done, and good luck!

    It sounds as though the start of the race will be staggered, unless it's a very wide pool! It will probably be divided into lanes and there will be perhaps four people swimming in each lane at any one time (make sure you know whether you're going clockwise or anti-clockwise! It will be a painful mistake if you get it wrong....)

    It's best to swim in what you plan to wear for the cycle and run as well if at all possible. This probably makes a trisuit your best bet, as you won't need to change at all. You will probably be issued with a swim cap, which aids identification of the various waves - there may be a box to drop it in on your way out of the pool.

    In transition, put your helmet on first, with anything else you want to wear to ride, and either your trainers or cycling shoes, or you can choose to fasten your shoes to your bike when you rack it before the event, meaning that you can then just jump on and fasten your shoes on the move. This is my preferred solution, but it takes some practice!

    For the second transition, loosen your shoes and get your feet out on top of them as you approach the dismount line, swinging one leg over your bike as you get closer, so that you can leap off in a sprightly manner when you get there. Or else fall on your face; again, worth practicing when nobody's watching!

    Don't remove your helmet until you have re-racked your bike - you will get a penalty if you're spotted.

    I would recommend you get a number belt, which means that you can spin it around from your back on the bike, to your front for the run.

    You can gain or lose a significant amount of time in the transitions so don't let all that Winter training go to work and watch yourself get beaten by somebody who's slower than you in the water, on the bike and the run, but is faster then you through transition!

    Hope that's of some use.
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    nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    Have a look on YouTube - there are some transition videos there too. Good, bad, and ugly!
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    I agree with all Nivagh's points. Definitely worth wearing a trisuit if you are happy to invest in one. For pool based events there tend to be two main methods of setting people off.

    The first is in waves - everybody gives their estimated swim times and they are then grouped together with other people of the same speed. Each lane has 4 or 5 people in it and they each start at 10 or 15 second intervals. The 16 (or 30) lengths are completed and then the swimmers get out and go straight to transition. When the pool is empty the next wave starts. If you catch up with the swimmer in front then you tap their feet and they should let you through at the end of the length (and vice versa).

    The second is in a steady stream. The swimmers all start at one corner of the pool, beginning at 15 second intervals. They swim two lengths and then duck under the first lane rope and swim the next two lengths. This continues until they reach the other side of the pool when they get out and go to transition. As with the first option, everyone starts according to their estimated swimming speed. This works in pools which are wide enough to hold enough lanes i.e. 8 lanes of a 25m pool, or 6 of a 33m pool, for a 400m race. The Thames Turbo races work this way.

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    shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408

    Cheers for the all the good advice. Trr-ing, I didn't realise it would work like that so I'm going to get some more research done before I do my first tri.

    I 'll def have a look on you tube as well. Seems like a Tri-suit is the future for me so I'll have a look to see what the best one from the budget. On average, how long will a tri-suit last???

    Nivagh, thanks for the run through on the transition. Its small things like the helmet issue are where newby mistakes are probably made so much appreciated.

    Really looking forward to it. Got a brick session lined up tonight....

    Cheers all.
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    A couple of other points for transition:

    Socks: It is a nightmare to get socks onto wet feet, particularly if your fingers are frozen. If possible, don't wear them. Some people get blisters if they go without the socks but most don't have any problems. Try a few runs and brick sessions without socks on and see if it's ok. Dumping the socks saves a heck of a lot of time and hassle.

    Elastic laces: Saves time, and means that you don't have to tie laces in a rush (never easy...). It also means that you are less likely to cramp up in T2 - coming off the bike your calfs frequently cramp up as soon as you bend down to pull on the running shoes, so the less time you have to spend in the lace-tying position, the better.

    Bike: Rack it with the front wheel facing you. This way you can run straight away, rather than pulling the bike out, turning it round and then running. When you go into T2, rack it the other way round.

    Helmet: Balance it on your handlebars with the straps out to either side. This makes it easy to put on and makes it impossible to pick up the bike before you've put your helmet on (as in Nivagh's post).

    Bike shoes: It's definitely worth having them attached to the bike (as in Nivagh's post, you must practice this before the race). A good way of keeping the shoes horizontal and hence stopping them from dragging on the ground and making them impossible to put your feet onto is to tie a thin elastic band to the loop on the back of your bike shoes and then tie it to the frame of the bike. When you start to pedal the elastic band will snap and won't bother you.

    Good luck

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    GGBGGB Posts: 482
    great thread this :D - I am in the same position as Shadoweone1 and this thread helsp a lot. I am in the decision process for a new bike currently riding a MTB on slicks - but am skint
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    p.s. Transition is definitely the easiest place to save time in a race - in my first wetsuit triathlon I took 8mins 22 seconds in T1 and T2 combined. In my last wetsuit triathlon I took just 2 mins 15 seconds for T1 and T2. To save 6 mins off the swim, run or bike takes months of training, but to save that much time off transition took far less effort - all it needed was practice and a few bits of kit and technique (see posts above). For non-wetsuit triathlons with short distances in and out of transition it should even be possible to get that below 2mins - Jan Frodeno took just 52 seconds for T1 and T2 combined at the Olympics!
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    shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408

    I've got most of this printed out - sad or what!!!

    Really good tips, cheers everyone who has helped.

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    jonnnijonnni Posts: 32
    Did my first Tri at Warwick in Sept and I too was cacking it about transitions but much to my Wife's amusement I practiced....

    ..Laid out kit in kitchen went upstairs in trunks/goggles and had a shower

    ran downstairs and changed into bike kit did the ride and then the run

    I know it sounds sad but I did this 3 or 4 times and learned loads of nuggets that saved precious seconds in transition. Although had loads of grief about a wet floor!

    Also would recommend Tri suit - trying to get a running shirt on a wet back under pressure is rubbish and cost me nearly a minute. Just got mine for £30 - keep looking and you can find the bargains

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    Jonnnie - I admire your devotion... (made me laugh with that "what a sad bloke - how uncomfortably like me" sort of life)

    A couple of other things (partly reminded by other topics):

    Brick sessions are vital. I was a runner before I started triathlon - not top drawer, but ok. My 5km times were comfortably sub-20mins and I confidently assumed before my first triathlon that, although I might be passed by shedloads of people on the swim and bike, I would catch them all on the run. In the event, in my first tri (a sprint), the 5km took just over 25mins. I couldn't believe quite how much a bit of cycling could knacker my leg muscles. I spent the first half of the run getting a mixture of cramps and stitches and it was only in the second half that I found any rythym. Sadly, I didn't learn my lesson and took 53mins (for 10km) and 26mins for my next two triathlons. It was only then that I decided that it wasn't just a bad day at the office and that I really did need to start doing brick sessions as a normal part of training routine. With practice, I still haven't broken 20 mins in a race, but I have at least managed to get within 40 seconds of it. This improvement (nearly 5 mins in sprint, or 10 mins in Olympic) is not because I've got any faster - my straight run times are within 5 seconds of my 2005 times - but purely because brick training means that I no longer cramp up or get stitches (touch wood)...

    Cycling: If it's hot, make sure you drink. I was badly caught out a couple of times on really hot races (over 25 and 30c - in the UK - London) when I just didn't drink enough. I dropped my bottle on one race, which didn't help, and only drank 2/3 of one of my two bottles in the other, so I only have myself to blame. It's easy to forget, but you really suffer for it on the run. I (think I) have solved it now - I have one of the profile water bottles (sits between your tri-bars so that the straw wafts about 4cm from your mouth) that makes it impossible to forget to drink and is easy to refill from the frame mounted bottles.

    Open water swimming: Pull your wetsuit as far up your legs, crotch and arms as you can. Otherwise (or at least in my case) it ends up being too tight at the collar and slowly throttling you as you swim. Also, I advise getting in the water early and doing some practice swimming before the start. Cold water makes a lot of us hyperventilate at first but, after a minute or so, you get your breath back and can go on at full speed. If you get in at the last minute (as I did - it was very cold) then you are still hyperventilating when the race starts and hence end up swimming like the Titanic in its final thrashes.

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