Schneller wechseln: Zügig durch die Wechselzone

Triathlon is a combination of three disciplines: swimming, cycling and running. But there is another very important discipline that is often neglected: the change in between. We have put together a few tips and tricks for the fourth discipline for you.

The shorter the competition distance, the more important it is to switch between disciplines. In principle, however, you should switch as quickly as you can for any distance, including long distances.

With some of the following tips, the objection may come up “that only takes two to three seconds at most, if at all”. Maybe that's true, but if you add up all the tips, it can quickly become 30 seconds or more. Wasted time and in the end maybe the decisive seconds.

The triathlon tips and tricks for quick changes

Tip 1: Look at the transition zone and memorize your route

Before the competition you should take a close look at your later changing paths and walk off. Where is my bike? How do I have to push it out of the transition zone? Where do I hand in my change bag after the change? Which starting number do I actually have?

What was "logical" before is suddenly forgotten after the swim distance. With a high pulse and in the rush of competition, clear thinking is no longer so easy. So go through everything carefully beforehand. Better once more than once too little. If the first transition zone is also the second transition zone, it can make sense to have something conspicuous, such as a colorful towel or something similar in place - this way the "bike parking lot" can be found more quickly and accurately after the bike discipline.

Tip 2: Attach start numbers to helmet and bike

It doesn't save time in the race, but it certainly saves time after the race. Either start numbers don't stick very well, or so well that you're busy scratching them off your helmet or bike for days afterwards. Our tip: Simply cut out the number stickers (for helmet and bike) and “laminate” them with scotch tape and stick them to the helmet and bike, for example with scotch tape. Advantage: You don't need to remove the glue residue after the competition. It does take some time, but saves it when cleaning.

Tip 3: Aerodynamic bib number

The race number you wear around your waist is fluttering when cycling. On the one hand, this is not particularly aerodynamic and, on the other hand, it can also be uncomfortable and annoying. So: stick a strip of thin double-sided adhesive tape on the back of the number and don't forget to remove the foil. So the start number sticks to your butt and flutters less.

Tip 4: Tear-resistant bib number

The material of the numbers is often very durable, but it is not uncommon for athletes to only have them hanging at half mast at the end of the competition. To prevent this from happening to you, you can do the following: Tape the edge of the race number where you pierce the safety pins with scotch tape. This guarantees that the safety pins will not tear out so easily.

Tip 5: Don't waste any time when switching to a bike

During the change, your pulse is on the attack and you are pumping powerfully, but especially here you should not waste any time, grit your teeth and pay no attention to your pulse. Only when you are sitting on the bike should you loosen up a bit. At least you're rolling now and can relax and make meters at the same time. Unfortunately, when you switch to running, you no longer have this “advantage”.

Tip 6: Less stress in the transition tent

Since many stop at the beginning of the transition tent to change, it usually makes sense to do their neo-change balancing act or just change clothes at the end of the transition tent. Fewer people, more room to switch, and no latecomers to knock you off your feet. It's just stupid if everyone changes according to this scheme :-)

Tip 7: Fasten your shoes onto the pedals

If the cycling shoes should remain on the pedals: attach the shoes to the front derailleur or to the rear quick-release with a rubber band. So the shoes are more or less horizontal when you get on the bike and don't rub on the ground when you push the bike. As soon as you kick off, the rubber bands should snap. Be sure to train and practice this variant, otherwise it can get embarrassing.

Tip 8: Fix the insert

If the insoles in the cycling shoes stick slightly to your feet, you can fix them in the shoe with double-sided adhesive tape. Especially when you want to take off your shoes on the bike, it can be annoying if half of the insole is pulled out of the shoe.

Tip 9: Change with bag - on the way to the bike

Depending on the length of the transition zone, it may be worth putting your start number and/or a wind vest in the transition bag, for example, and then strapping it on on the way to the bike while running. With a bit of routine, you could put on your cycling goggles and all you have to do is buckle your helmet on the bike and off you go. If the change takes place on the bike: Well, here it's just a matter of getting out of the wetsuit quickly, slipping into the start number, then putting on the glasses and finally the helmet.

Tip 10: Have your running shoes wide open

When switching to running, you should remember that the running shoes are already open or stowed in the bag. If you want to put on socks, then put them slightly folded inside the respective shoe, this saves sorting work.

Tip 11: The helmet should fit

Of course you should place it on the bike in such a way that you don't have to correct the adjustment system to get it on your head. But it also makes sense to choose the transition bag in the second transition area so large that your helmet can quickly disappear into it. A small but not insignificant tip.

Tip 12: crumple up your start number for more legroom

Start numbers are usually very large and "edgy", so that they can be quite a nuisance during the final run if they hang in front of your legs. Ralph therefore crumples up his bib number completely beforehand and then unfolds it again before attaching it to his bib number band (tip 4). Now the number is a bit more flexible and "more comfortable" to wear while running.

Tip 13: Sprinkle shoes with baby powder

If you don't like wet feet when changing to a bike or run, sprinkle the inside of your shoes with baby powder. It safely absorbs moisture and effectively prevents blisters from forming. If you prefer to cycle or run in socks, you can powder them yourself - then the competition is literally "in dry towels".

Tip 14: Lightly grease the heel of the shoe with Vaseline

If the shoes are always a bit difficult to get over the heel when putting them on, a heel lightly lubricated with Vaseline can make it easier to slip them on, especially with wet feet.

Tip 15: Push your bike correctly in the transition area

Not only the quick change itself should be practiced, but also pushing the bike in the transition zone. So that you don't come into rough contact with the crank arms or pedals, you should practice pushing on the saddle. This gives you more distance between you and the bike and, above all, you can run faster alongside it. Pushing around corners should also be practiced beforehand.

Tip 16: Wetsuit off your feet faster

If you want the wetsuit to slip off your feet even more easily, try smearing your ankles with Bodyglide or something similar, just above the base of your feet. Guaranteed to be faster when changing.

Tip 17: Quick lacing system for your shoes

If you don't own a special triathlon shoe - it doesn't matter - just get a quick lacing system and you'll get through transition zone 2 or 1 faster if you ride your bike with running shoes.

Indispensable for quick changes

triathlon shoes

Race belt

Triathlon laces


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