How to Set Up Your Triathlon Transition Area


In a triathlon both transition times count towards your total race time. By transitioning faster, you will race faster, so think of faster transitions as free speed without any additional training.

In this short video, Coach David Glover, MS, CSCS walks you through specific tips and examples for staging your transition area on race morning for faster transitions and ultimately a faster race.

Setting up your transition area optimally starts with reviewing your triathlon race day checklist to make sure you have all your gear when you arrive at the race site. Your transition area will typically consist of a space the size of a small towel so space is limited and layout is critical for a fast, smooth transition. In fact, use a small towel to designate your space and stage your gear.

When racking your bike, you can usually rack with either the handlebars or the seat on the bike rack, but do make sure your bike won’t fall easily if jostled and try to alternate sides of the bike rack for adjacent bikes.

Lay out your race clothing and gear in order of use with helmet straps unbuckled and shoes open to simplify and speed up the transition process. If you are relatively new to triathlon, practice your triathlon transitions at home before race day to help smooth out any kinks in your transitions and to increase your confidence for race day.

Please note: although this video focuses on setting up a single transition area next to your bike on a bike race, the same principles apply for races with multiple transition areas or for races that use race bags (e.g. IRONMAN Triathlons).

About the Author

David Glover

David Glover jumped into his first triathlon in 1995 to prove he could beat his cancer. After achieving his dreams of a sub 9 hour IRONMAN® and winning Vineman Full twice, David's passion now is helping other endurance athletes achieve their dreams through online education and training programs. David currently resides in the triathlon mecca of Boulder, Colorado. Learn more at or contact David at'

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