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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm doing my first sprint tri in two weeks and just started training a few days ago :mad2: So i've only just started thinking about this whole transition business. When it comes to the swim/bike transition i'm wondering if it's worth using bike shoes or just to put on a pair of running shoes and then not have to worry about changing when it comes to run transition??

The ride section of the tri is 13.2 miles. So not that long of a distance... although there might be some hills. I went for a ride in my running shoes last night and averaged 17.7 mph over 13 miles.. although i got caught at a few stop lights and slowed down a dozen or so times due to other riders and pedestrian traffic. So really I'm wondering if cycling shoes would boost my performance by more than the 2 or 3 minutes that it would take to change into and out of them. I do own a pair but i hardly use them.

As to the running portion, I jumped off my bike last night, started to run... and omg, my legs were like jelly. I ran a mile, went home had a beer and told myself this will all be over in two weeks.
 

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Never tri'd, but I've done a few duathlons. Some points:

-If you rarely ride in cycling shoes, there'd be less advantage, since you're not so practiced in them. Do you use clipless pedals? If not, the difference between running shoes and cycling shoes will be even less.

-With practice, you can probably get the transitions down to well under a minute each, especially if both pairs of shoes have either velcro closures or elastic laces. Keep in mind that you have to put on some shoes when you get out of the water anyway, so the extra time is only transition 2, where you chuck the cycling shoes and put on the running shoes. My duathlons were typically 5k run/hilly 18 mi bike/5k run. So both transitions involved shoe changes. For me, even though I was not fast in the transitions, it was definitely worth using the cycling shoes, but that's what I was used to riding with.

-That bike-to-run transition is sometimes called a "brick," because your feet and legs feel like bricks for the first mile or two. It's ugly, but it feels good when you get your stride back.
 

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It's personal preference really, I've done all my sprints clipped in. Most of my events involved alot of climbing so I had to get out of the saddle alot which being clipped in helped. If it's primarily a flat tri then you should be okay with running shoes. Keep doing those brick sessions and the jelly feeling of the legs will start to become a non issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
And what about socks???.. do you guys use them for either the bike or the run on a sprint tri?

Thanks for the responses... I think i'm gonna take my 15mm out and put on my clipless pedals and try that out for a few rides(its been about two years since i've used them). just to see how they feel.
 

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Negative on the socks, I run straight out the water into my shoes barefoot and then straight into my running shoes. The transition in a sprint is where you'll lose the most time so get that part down. In review of the transition times of various athletes in my last event the longer transition times hurt the results the most. Throw some talcum powder in both shoes to help with any blisters or chafing.
 

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skizzle86 said:
Negative on the socks, I run straight out the water into my shoes barefoot and then straight into my running shoes. The transition in a sprint is where you'll lose the most time so get that part down. In review of the transition times of various athletes in my last event the longer transition times hurt the results the most. Throw some talcum powder in both shoes to help with any blisters or chafing.
Socks are a personal preference and should follow how you normally do your runs/rides. If you train with socks then you should race with them...if train without them then racing without them is natural. If you try to switch it up you are begging for a blister.

As for the transition...I have found that newbies tend to dwell on this and when you are starting out it really isn't relevant. Best to be organized before the race to have everything in proper order. Beyond that it would be better to focus on running faster, biking harder and swimming smoother. Best of all worlds train at least two of these at a time to better your times the most.

I mean, the OP started training a few days ago for an event in a couple of weeks...transition isn't going to be the problem...racing the race (and I mean race not finishing) is the issue.

After a few races and more importantly--returning to race venues the following years having experienced that particular race--you can then focus on the transition.

It doesn't do a first timer any good to clip their bike shoes to their pedals if they have never practiced slipping into them on the ride, or going sockless in order to shave some scant seconds but never training without them.
 

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I agree whith bush, just go run the race and don't worry about transitions. I have alwayse used my bike shoes for all my races, but then I have had them a long time and am useto them. I see a bunch of people on shorter sprint type races just using their running flats.
 

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A few things I learned before I blew out my shoulder, effectively ending my triathlon career:

1) For your first race or two, focus more on the actual legs, not the transitions. Unless you're a natural, you probably won't win, or lose by a slim margin, so the transitions aren't that important.

2) Try riding and running without socks. If your feet and shoes agree, then it's not a bad idea to race sockless. As mentioned before, put some talcum powder in the shoes pre-race.

3) Get to your transition area early and set everything up. Mock up a layout in your driveway or something so you can figure out the best setup and get a little bit of practice. You'd be surprised how poorly your brain can work if the swim was rough. Bring a towel that you can step on to get any sand or grass off of your feet (assuming you're running up a beach, maybe on grass) before you put on your shoes. They can be irritants.

4) Do another brick (bike + run) session or two. The more you're accustomed to the feeling, the quicker you can get into a rhythm on the run.

5) Have fun :)
 

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I think you will see a big difference using cycling shoes and clipless pedals. Much better transfer of power and I find them more comfortable. But as others said, you should practice first to see if you are comfortable using clipless pedals.

I agree with the comments on transitions as well. Get a few under your belt first and fine tune later. But you can still practice transitions. Having your transition area organized and a set routine will also help a lot. I put my sun glasses and race belt on top of my cycling shoes so I remember to put those on first. You can google triathlon transition areas to find links and videos to what others do.

I use socks for both the bike and run. I am not that worried about the added time it takes to put them. If you don't normally run or bike without socks, try it first. But I would not do this too close to your race as you could get blisters. Using a shoe lace system like Yankz can also help.

Try to incorporate a few bike-run bricks into your workouts to get used to the feeling of running off the bike.

Good Luck! I did my first this year as well and now I am hooked.

Mike
 

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Wear your bike shoes, but be careful dismounting the bike before T2. I did my first triathlon a month ago and looked like bambi on ice after doing a cyclocross style dismount and trying to make the turn into the parking lot wearing road shoes with Look cleats. Luckily, I was able to keep from going down or taking out any tape.
 

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On the entering T2 thing - even if you don't have tri-specific bike shoes, it's still worth taking your feet out of them before you enter the second transition. It makes dismounting a LOT safter/easier. Sure you can't hammer right up to the mount/dismount line, but the time and pain saved by not falling are more than worth it. Again, try practising taking your feet out of the shoes and then pedalling with your bare feet on top of the shoes (see guy in green in the pic)



I've found it is really hard to put on road bike shoes like the triathletes do, but getting out of them is easy enough, especially if you don't have a ratchet mechanism on your shoe.
 

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aengbretson said:
On the entering T2 thing - even if you don't have tri-specific bike shoes, it's still worth taking your feet out of them before you enter the second transition. It makes dismounting a LOT safter/easier. Sure you can't hammer into the zone, but the time and pain saved by not falling are more than worth it. Again, try practising taking your feet out of the shoes and then pedalling with your bare feet on top of the shoes (see guy in green in the pic)



I've found it is really hard to put on road bike shoes like the triathletes do, but getting out of them is easy enough, especially if you don't have a ratchet mechanism on your shoe.
Did you read the OP? His event is in two weeks and he cannot run a mile after his run without stopping. Is this really great advice? I have been doing tris for years and years and I have never used this technique...

You will notice the guy directly behind him....ain't doing it.
 

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thatsmybush said:
Did you read the OP? His event is in two weeks and he cannot run a mile after his run without stopping. Is this really great advice? I have been doing tris for years and years and I have never used this technique...

You will notice the guy directly behind him....ain't doing it.
I only began doing tris this year and am doing 'flying' mounts and dismounts without a problem. I spent a weekend afternoon in a school parking lot with lots of rubber bands and practiced it until it became pretty easy. I've had some of the top transition times in the races I've done this year - it can be done it you want to try it out.

I can easily ride at 25+ with my feet on top of my shoes and don't find a problem slipping into the shoes when I'm up to speed or getting out of them as I near the end of the bike leg. If you put in the practice it's not that bad.
 

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natethomas2000 said:
I only began doing tris this year and am doing 'flying' mounts and dismounts without a problem. I spent a weekend afternoon in a school parking lot with lots of rubber bands and practiced it until it became pretty easy. I've had some of the top transition times in the races I've done this year - it can be done it you want to try it out.

I can easily ride at 25+ with my feet on top of my shoes and don't find a problem slipping into the shoes when I'm up to speed or getting out of them as I near the end of the bike leg. If you put in the practice it's not that bad.
And if you practice that I am sure it isn't an issue. But for a person who cannot currently run a brick...to take time to practice this technique isn't practical. Best spend that time completing a 5k after the bike and swim over impressing the volunteer telling you to dismount after the bike leg.
 

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The only reason I mentioned getting out of the shoes was safety... Depending on the plate and cleat, it can be pretty slippery to dismount even from a stationary bike, and then run through the transition zone, especially if it is all on a hard surface. For example road shoes with SPD cleats can be like ice skates on asphalt. MTB shoes don't have this problem due to recessed cleats. Road shoes with SPD-SL or Look-style cleats are somewhere in between. And then throw weather in!

Of course coming to a complete stop to dismount and carefully making your way to your spot in the zone is always an option (and usually the safest/easiest). In my first tri I took my time because it was really just an early-season race and I was trying to practice everything for my first target race a month later. I even sat down to tie up my shoes (didn't have elastic pull laces at the time).

But I agree, the ability to complete a 5k post-bike is way more important than saving time in T2. My legs always felt bad after biking, but after the first few races I learned that the jello feeling eventually goes away, I just had to push through it. Oh, and the promise of free food and a massage post-race certainly helped me run :D
 
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