Posted in Triathlon
Zone3 Performance: Guide to quick transitions

Whether you’re looking for a wetsuit to keep you fast and focused through the water or something which is more buoyant and confidence giving; Zone3 offer a great range of wetsuits to help you get the best of the swim so you come out of the water already feeling like a champion!

How to perfect a quick transition

(including six top tips from UK Elite athlete, Adam Bowden)

Following months of training and preparation you have just exited the water into transition having achieved your best swim time to date. The last thing you want to do now is to give up a chunk of unnecessary time in transition by fumbling around and wrestling with your wetsuit.

Adam Bowden: 1. ‘Running through the course in your mind before the race will help you to have a good race plan from start to finish’.

Transitions are something that can be second nature and done extremely quickly if you approach it in the right way. Hopefully after reading this guide you'll be able to feel this good.

Below we have compiled a list of top tips to help you get out your wetsuit and onto the bike in no time at all.

Don't panic

Like many things in a triathlon, the worst thing to do is to get flustered and panic when you exit the swim. It may well be that all of your family are cheering you on or that the transition area is busy, however, the key is to stay calm and think about getting out on the bike as quickly as possible. In most races you'll find you have plenty of space to exit the water and it would only ever get to the below situation in the most competitive elite races:

Stand up and get your bearings

As you exit the water you will no doubt be a little dizzy after a hard swim with your head constantly rotating. Just take a second here to get your bearings by focusing on your breathing.

 Guide to quick transitions

Adam Bowden: 2. ‘When exiting the water stay relaxed and as calm as possible. A fast but smooth transition is key’.

Image features the Zone3 women’s Vanquish wetsuit.

Undoing the zip

As you start running to T1, release the Velcro at the back of the neck and undo the wetsuit zip by using the cord. Practice this before you race to make sure you're familiar with reaching for the Velcro tab and cord. Some wetsuits have a downwards zip direction and some have an upwards. The downwards zips can be easier to use and get into but most elite athletes use an upwards moving zipper for a fastest release and to prevent the zip being pulled down during the swim.

 Guide to quick transitions

Arms out, down the hips

Once you've undone your zip you will be able to slide your arms out by pulling from the shoulder/neck panel down towards the wrist.  This should be nice and easy. Then pull the wetsuit down as low as your hips. A well-designed wetsuit should make this very easy and still leaves your legs free to run (not walk) to your bike in the transition area.

 Guide to quick transitions

Adam Bowden: 3. ‘Focus on removing your wetsuit from your torso. A little trick is to put your hat and googles in your hand so that when you remove your sleeve the googles and hat will stay in the sleeve, saving vital seconds’.

Image features the Zone3 men’s Vanquish wetsuit.

Key Tips

Adam Bowden: 4. ‘If you want to be super-fast in transition get yourself a Zone3 wetsuit with silicone coated Pro Speed Cuffs to ensure that you can get your arms and legs out of your wetsuit quickly’.

Once you have your arms out of the wetsuit, the hardest bit can be getting the suit off your legs (and a number of wetsuit brands don't make this easy). They can be too tight around the legs, not flexible enough or too long which makes them get caught around the ankles. Zone3 use an innovative silicone coating on the arm and the leg cuffs called 'Pro-Speed Cuffs' which makes them the fastest wetsuit in transition as can be seen in the video below:

Be assertive

Regardless of which wetsuit you choose, the idea is not to wrestle your suit in different directions aggressively but more to be assertive with your suit and to pull your arms/ kick your legs out with force. Your wetsuit should never bunch at the ankles but should end up 100% inside out so it's peeled off the body in one clean movement.

Adam Bowden: 5. ‘Know where your bike is before the race. It can help to pick a landmark object close to your bike, i.e. Banner, Speaker, etc. Running through the swim exit to transition area in your mind allows you to get more familiar with where your bike is situated’.

 Guide to quick transitions

Practice, practice, practice

Just like with anything, the more familiar you are with your equipment and the more you practice, the better you will be able to do this. Remember, it will come off much quicker when it's wet rather than dry.  Whenever you wear your wetsuit to train it is always a good idea to practice your wetsuit removal afterwards.

 Guide to quick transitions

Adam Bowden: 6. ‘Last of all, enjoy yourself. All the hard days in training are what helps you to race at your best on the day’.