Transitions (T) are the shortest time split of triathlons, but also one of the most stressful, yearned for, and crucial moments of the race. You look forward to T1 during the entire swim and to T2 during the entire bike course, but once you exit that transition area your mind is already moving on to the next hill, pedal stroke or run course. You can prepare as little or as much as you want for your transitions, but when race day comes around it all comes down to you and how you react to the unforeseeable hiccups and bumps along the way. Life’s transitions act in a similar way. It’s hard to live in those small transitional moments and not be thinking forward to the next leg of the race or phase in life, but these moments are some of the most important and life (or race) altering.
I know of people that pack their transition bags to a T, have their area set up immaculately, and have rehearsed their routine enough to do it in their sleep. I also know of people that sign up for a race the day before and throw together a race bag and still have had a phenomenal race. Meticulous planning ahead and using a step-by-step routine can set you up for success, but it can also be detrimental to your race when something does go wrong. All it takes is for one element of the race day to throw that entire plan off, and no amount of preparation can truly prepare you for how it all plays out.
What really defines you is how you come out of your transitions. Whether you dropped your Gu, lost a water bottle, ran to the wrong bike rack, or forgot your extra pair of socks, you need to pull it together and get set for the next stage of your race. Dwelling on the mistakes you made during your transition – that crucial 30-second delay – does nothing to help your performance on the next leg of the race. Instead, you may need to take those extra 30 seconds to set yourself up for the best possible result. In the long run, it pays off.
Transitions are not limited to triathlon, which I’m experiencing first hand transitioning from that post-undergrad-almost-an-adult phase in life to beginning grad school. Moving to a new state and having to make adult decisions – like where to live, how to make a budget with virtually no income, and how to balance school, training and personal life – has really opened my eyes to what is important in life. It’s not so much about always looking forwards to the next step, but also about living in the moment and preparing yourself for that next step.
This transitional-limbo state that I’m in right now has really made me aware of my own limits and how it’s sometimes healthy to not be entirely in control of all of the elements and factors at play in this transitional phase. As I’m getting ready for the next leg of my “race”, I try to remember that I need to set myself up for success in the next two years, AND that this doesn’t necessarily mean planning out every meticulous step that leads me there. It doesn’t matter if you are transitioning into a new job, new school or expanding your family, life is all about transitions and what you make of them.
This year I will be talking about my transitions on the Schwinn Red Blog and how to go through these Transitions and still maintain a work – life – training balance. I hope that you too can find inspiration from my journey and realize the potential you have to transition into a healthier lifestyle, or into other journeys you will be having this year. Together I hope that we can prepare for these transitions while also maintaining enough flexibility to traverse those obstacles that may stand in our way.
Thank you for reading the first chapter in my Schwinn Ambassador journey on my Schwinn Vantage F1, I hope to hear more about your journeys in the comments below!
Jennifer is a born and bred Badger, and growing up in Madison, WI she spent a majority of her childhood on a bike. She is currently training for a Half Ironman and will be beginning PA School in Chicago in May. When she isn’t swimming, biking, running or eating, she can be found with a cup of coffee and a good book or baking yummy treats. She is extremely excited to bring her training and health education to the Schwinn Ambassador program, and will be focusing on the health side of cycling. She has always loved the Schwinn lifestyle and mission of getting everyone on a bike, and is excited to use the Schwinn Ambassador platform to show how triathlon is so much more than just training.
Follow Jen on Instagram: @jen_beth