Coach's Corner:
Bike to Run Transition Efficiency

By Chris Kostman

Originally published in The California Events Schedule, July 1993


To increase speed and efficiency during a duathlon or triathlon transition from bike to run. This is both training workout and skill drill, so keep both in mind as you practice. It's also a great workout to do with friends, so get a group or club together for this one.


Find a quiet, traffic-free three mile bike loop with adjoining or overlapping one mile run loop and set up your transition zone. (A towel on the ground will suffice.) Set out your running shoes with the laces loosened up well.

Now, do successive bike-run-bike-run-bike loops, gradually increasing your pace on the bike, on foot, and in the tranistion zone. Use lap timers or even have a friend or club member time each of you and keep records to provide encouragement and to review later.

Do two sets at a warm-up pace, then three sets at race pace, followed by two sets at cool-down pace. Finish up with twenty minutes of whole body flexibility work. Double up the set numbers for more practice and for a good endurance workout.

Other Methods

Unsnap, unvelcro, unstrap, or otherwise undo your cycling shoes just before you enter the transition zone. Pull your feet out and pedal in with your feet out of and on top of your cycling shoes. Don't put your foot down until you come to a complete stop. Speedily unclip your helmet, rack your bike, and put on your running shoes. Stretch or cordlock laces may be helpful. When transitioning back to the bike, ride out of the T-zone with your feet on top of your shoes as when you came in, then slide your feet back in when out on the course. (This won't work with lace-on cycling shoes.) Stay focussed on the matter at hand, but don't be in a fog when maneuvering through the transition zone; crashes are common and potentially devastating here! Practice makes perfect and every second counts come race day.