10 tips for terrific triathlon transitions

If your kids are taking part in triathlon, these tips can help them manage transitions with ease. 

Taking part in a triathlon can be a great way to get your kids active, try something new and have fun together as a family.

Even if they’ve never done a triathlon before, most kids events are designed to encourage participation and fun, so as long as they’ve got the basics they should be fine to give it a go.

The event is set up the way a standard triathlon is, with a swim, run and ride leg, which varies in length depending on how old your kids are. 

The trickiest part of a triathlon for some kids can be transitions, which is the change-over between each leg. Parents aren’t there to help, so your kids will need to be able to finish the swim, dry themselves a bit, pop on shoes and helmet for the bike ride, before finishing off with the run. 

Most kids can manage these things on their own, however when they’re feeling rushed and if they maybe haven’t done it before, it can be tricky. 

We’ve put together a few tips for terrific transitions.
Bikes at triathlon

1. There are lots of bikes in the transition area, and while the rows are clearly marked, it can be easy to get lost. When putting your bike in the holding area you might want to tie a balloon or a ribbon to the handle bars, or pack a bright coloured towel to help your kids find their bikes easily.

2. Writing the steps for what needs to go on, and when, on the front of your child’s transition bag can be helpful, especially for younger kids. Shoes and t-shirt on, swimming cap and goggles off, Bupa sun visor (you should get one in your registration pack) for the run and helmet for the ride; there’s a lot to remember so having it all written down can help.

3. It’s a great idea to take two drink bottles; one for running and one cycling. You can leave these at their bike. Remember to keep hydrated; they’ll be moving a lot so it’s easy to get dehydrated.

4. Test their helmet before the race to make sure it’s not too loose or tight but an official will also check it before they ride into the race to make sure it’s not unsafe in any way.

5. Wearing multi-use pants (such as bike shorts) that can be worn comfortably in the swim, cycle and run can help reduce the time to change between legs. 

6. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Even on an overcast day, it’s important and popping a small tube of it in their transition bag means they can re-apply after the swim if they need to.

7. Make sure their name is clearly marked on everything. While it’s almost inevitable that something will get lost, by naming everything you’ll reduce the risk. 

8. Don’t forget to pack a jumper or t-shirt to wear once their event is over, as they’ll need to leave their event t-shirt with their bike.

9. There are lots of friendly volunteers in the transition area, so while you may not be there to help, they won’t be on their own should they run into any tricky challenges. 

10. Once your child has finished their triathlon they won’t be able to go back in to the transition area until the end of the event so it’s a good idea to pack an additional bag which you can keep with you. Helpful items to pack include: sunscreen, change of clothes, some snacks and water to help your child refuel and rehydrate post event and some activities to keep them occupied. 

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