T2 Tips from Olympian Katie Zaferes

Photo: Janos Schmidt/Triathlon.org

Katie Zaferes is no stranger to lightning-fast transitions. The Rio Olympian finished third in last year’s WTS World Championship standings and second at the Grand Final in Rotterdam. As arguably the top woman on an already-loaded U.S. women’s national team, Zaferes knows the importance of getting in and out of T2 quickly. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

I always practice putting on my shoes, especially leading into the races. I make sure they are just the right tightness and that I know how to put my feet in, where is the best place to hold, etc. For me, it’s having a hand on the back of the shoe and the tongue. I look like a nut in my hotel room, because I’ll spin around a few times, go for my shoes, put them on, and then run a few steps with them.

Customize Your Kicks

I use just the bungees in my racing flats, and often find that they are too long. When I am very sure that I like the laces, I cut the excess bungee, tie it in a knot, and then use a lighter to singe the ends of the laces so that they don’t fray.

Look at Your Laces

I’ve also learned from my husband to do opposite lacing, so I start at the top when I am putting in the bungees and have my knot towards the toe of the shoe. I’m not really sure if there is any performance advantage, but I can pull at the top of my foot without worrying about the laces getting in the way.

Mind the Trip

When I travel with my shoes I like to put in things like sunglass cases inside to fill the shoe and leave it open so that they maintain shape and have a wide entry point for my foot.

Shake It Out

That being said, also make sure to always check your shoes and empty them before you put them in transition. I’ve raced with a hotel key card in my shoe for a race because I forgot to make sure that it was empty beforehand.

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