As I mentioned in a recent post, one of the things I love about the taper is that you get to change the workouts up a bit. Now clearly with less than 48 hours till race day, I'm not trying to squeeze in any last workouts to give me extra fitness. Each taper workout has a purpose. And today was one of my favorites - transition practice!
It wouldn't surprise anyone to say that effective transitions can help to save a significant amount of time. And more importantly, its FREE time! Why spend hours in the pool to improve seconds in your swim, when you can nail your transitions and save the same amount? That's not to say you shouldn't try to squeak out every second you can out of each discipline, but the point is that working on your transitions can give you a huge return on your investment. And really, by practicing transitions a few times, there is minimal investment on your part. The benefit is confidence going into race day that, once you enter the transition area, you know exactly what you have to do, without really needing to think about it. This creates less stress on race day, and saves you time - its a win-win!
So I set up my transition area, just as I will this weekend, trying to cram everything into as small a space as possible, because you never know how little your area may be. You can see that my set up is pretty simple:
- Bike stuff is mostly on my bike (shoes on pedals, helmet and sunglasses placed on aerobars facing the direction I will approach it), with my socks (pre-rolled for easy slipping on) ready to go, and my little tic-tac box that I use to keep Endurolytes in (a little secret I came across after much trial and error with various methods to easily take them while on the bike - you simply shake it and pop the pills)
- Run gear is laid out in order with my shoes (with Yankx laces), and all my other run gear (race belt, gels, etc) placed into my hat, which I will put in their respective places while running out of transition
Practice usually consists of 3-5 transition sets. I typically start off by spinning around a few times to simulate the diziness after the swim. Once I can move right, I slip on my socks, grab my tic-tac box, put on my glasses and helmet and I am off with a flying mount on the bike. Once I am able to get up to a good speed (18 mph-ish), I split my feet into my shoes and tighten the straps so I am good to go on the bike. After a quick lap around the neighborhood, I slip out of my shoes while on the bike, and execute a flying dismount, while running my bike back to my transition zone. A quick re-rack of the bike and I split on my shoes, grab my hat, and within the first couple of steps, my hat and race belt are on, and my nutrition is stored away in my pockets. So that's it...just repeat till it feels like you can go through the motions without much thought.
Before you know it, your transition times will be lightning fast and you will at least be able to beat the rest of the field at something!
The rest of my "workout" was spent laying everything out for packing. I'm good to go!
Good luck to everyone racing Patriots or Nations this weekend. I'll be officiating Nations on Sunday, so be on the lookout for the guy in the officials outfit limping around ;)