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Not the usual list of transition instructions.
Andy Potts hosted a transition clinic with USAT Hall of Famer Bob Babbit in the Philadelphia Insurance Companies health club and shared several transition tips for the triathletes gathered, ranging from veterans and first-timers, to help prepare them for this weekend’s TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon, with title sponsor Johnson and Johnson and presenting sponsor Philadelphia Insurance Companies.
Tip 1: Use plastic bags to get your wetsuit on
If you’ve ever donned a swim wetsuit before, you know they it can take a monumental effort to get the suit up and into position. To help the legs slide on a little easier, Potts puts a plastic grocery bag over his foot. This simple trick is surprisingly effective. It helps the suit’s inner liner slide up and over the lower leg. From here, he yanks the hips and legs into place before worrying about the upper body. Situating the lower half of the suit helps the shoulders lift up into position without pulling downward against the swimmer’s arms.
Tip 2: Stash your cap and goggles in your sleeve
First thing after running onto the beach, Potts grabs his cap and goggles off of his head and holds them in a hand. He begins to strip the suit using his other hand and pulls the sleeve over his hand with the goggles and cap. When his hand is completely inside the reversed suit, he lets go and the suit sleeve holds them in place. This avoids littering and keeps both hands free to continue stripping the rest of the suit.
Tip 3: Keep it simple
While it might be tempting to bring enough stuff for any possible scenario (and even some impossible ones), extraneous gear clutters a transition area, most of which are very compact to begin with. Instead of bringing everything, Potts trims his gear back down to the bare essentials.
Tip 4: If you’re going to wear sleeves, put them on under your wetsuit
If you want to race with arms sleeves for warmth, cooling or sun protection or compressive calf sleeves, put them on before the race and wear them under your wetsuit. They won’t have any affect on the swim, and will save time in transition because sliding dry garments over a wet body is a tedious process.
Tip 5: Try something new
The dogma for race day gear, nutrition and pacing decisions is pretty simple: Nothing new on race day. Potts disagrees. Racing is a so different from training, that he thinks the only way to really find your own combination of successful strategies is to try different things in a race scenario. While this might not be advisable for first timers, Potts suggests more experienced athletes can change one (and only one) thing on race day. Using this strategy, he found that a muffin is his ideal pre-race meal and continues to eat them before every triathlon he does.