Triathlete in transition

My book Triathlete In Transition is an inspirational and common sense guide for those new too triathlon.

There’s a reason why triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet. It has captured the imagination of so many because it’s a sport that has changed the lives of ordinary people all over the world.

It does not require you to have the perfect athletic body or to be a highly skilled swimmer, biker, or runner.

As a matter of fact, there are many people who catch the triathlon bug but can’t swim a stroke. Perhaps they haven’t run or biked for years, yet still take up the challenge of triathlon.

triathlete in transition book

Triathlete In Transition. The perfect book for the beginner triathlete.

In the process they learn new skills, improve fitness levels, make new friends, and attain an improved level of over-all health and well-being.

Every single year the senior age-group categories in Ironman Triathlons continue to grow.

Many people are beginning to realize that just because they reach 55 or 65 they do not have to stop being active and perhaps even competitive.

The focus of Triathlete In Transition is to guide and inspire new triathletes as they begin their triathlon journey.

Much like my two “Ironstruck” books, Triathlete In Transition is not just another triathlon training book. Yes it will guide you as you work your way toward your first triathlon. It will also inspire and motivate you to become more than you ever thought possible.

Regardless of your fitness level or athletic ability as you start on your amazing journey. TRIATHLETE IN TRANSITION has the potential to help change the course of your life forever.

In order to cover as many important components of your preparation as possible, I have invited along seven guest writers to share their wisdom and knowledge with you.

The guest experts include…

STEVE KING–The voice of Ironman Canada


TERRY LAUGHIN–The creator of the TOTAL IMMERSION swim concept

as the featured contributors to TRIATHLETE IN TRANSITION.

We share in a common goal of doing all we can to make your triathlon journey a rewarding and exciting experience.

For more information on being a more successful triathlete or Ironman be sure to have a look at the books I have written. These books have helped many triathletes around the world realize their Ironman and triathlon dreams and goals.

You can visit my ironstruck book store and find the perfect book for you. Excellent for the new or experienced triathlete doing their very first try a tri triathlon or the Ironman.

Here are some testimonials from people who have read my books.

Is The Ironman Triathlon Swim Hard

It’s very common for new triathletes to ask is the Ironman Triathlon swim hard?

They had never done an Ironman but had this persistent dream of crossing the Ironman finish line one day.

As far as the question, it’s safe to say that the Ironman swim is different things to different people.

To some people, swimming is second nature and the 2.4-mile Ironman swim doesn’t really intimidate them.

Even excellent swimmers taking on the Ironman for the first time might feel some apprehension about the amount of people that will be in the water with them, but that’s usually overcome fairly easily.

This is in part because they don’t really have to worry about their swim stroke or whether or not they can swim the distance.

On the other hand, the Ironman swim can indeed be hard for someone who has the Ironman on their mind but really don’t know how to swim and like most novice Ironmen, couldn’t imagine themselves learning how to swim well enough to manage 2.4-miles in the open water.

 is the ironman triathlon swim hard

Even experienced swimmers might be apprehensive about the close quarters of the Ironman swim.

Like many people around the world who are bitten by the Ironman they will spend hours in the pool just learning how to swim.

Some people have to learn the basic front crawl stroke from the very beginning.

After that they have to develop their swimming fitness to the point where they can not only manage the swim distance, but also become proficient and fit enough to bike 112-miles and run 26.2-miles once they get out of the water.

So is the Ironman Triathlon swim hard?

If you are new to the whole concept of swimming in general and scared to death by the mere thought of the moment the swim start gun sounds on race morning, then yes, the Ironman Triathlon swim can indeed be hard.

However here are three reasons why you should never let the fear of the Ironman swim stop you from realizing your dream of crossing the Ironman Triathlon finish line.


Much like anything else in life, if we swim often enough our bodies will adjust and respond to the new physical demands that comes from repeating the same thing over and over again.

Our muscles have memory and if you do the same thing often enough it becomes second nature and you’ll be surprised at how well you can really swim if only you commit to learning something new and give your body a chance to adapt to this new challenge.

Baseball pitchers were not born with the ability to throw 98 MPH fastballs. At one time perhaps they dreamed of pitching in the big leagues but thought it was beyond them.

That is, until they threw that baseball over and over and over again until the motion was seared into their muscle memory and it became second nature.

This is exactly what will happen with swimming if you stick with it.


Since the Ironman’s birth in the 1970’s managing the 2.4-mile swim has been the biggest obstacle for many novice Iroman triathletes.

Some people have let their fear of the Ironman swim get the best of them and because of that, have never given themselves a chance to realize their dream of crossing the Ironman Triathlon finish line.

Yet there are thousands and thousands of triathletes from all over the world who conquered their fears and doubts when it came to learning how to swim well enough to be called an IRONMAN one day.

They faced the challenge head on and conquered their fear and realized their seemingly impossible dream.


If you take nothing else away from your Ironman Triathlon experience, leaning how to swim and overcoming all your fears of the open water is a great accomplishment.

It’s something you will never forget and a skill you will always have no matter what happens once you leave the swim behind and climb on your bike to begin the 112-mile bike.

The world is covered with water. Lakes, oceans, rivers, ponds, and reservoirs are everywhere.

Every single year hundreds of people around the world lose their lives because they don’t know how to swim.

So is the Ironman Triathlon swim hard?

is the ironman triathlon swim hard

One day you will find yourself open water swimming far from the fury of the Ironman and will be so glad you took the time to learn.

Yes it is….and that’s what makes conquering it such a great accomplishment one one day it could save your life or the life of someone you care about.

Besides, one day you might find yourself swimming in peace in the open water far from the fury of the Ironman with the amazing new swim stroke you have spent so much time learning and you will be so grateful to be the confident, skilled swimmer you have become.

Embrace the challenge and believe in yourself.

One length of the pool will become ten, and ten will become a mile, and one day that single length of the pool you dared to attempt will lead you to the finish of the 2.4-mile swim on Ironman race day.

If you need direction and an excellent plan to get you started with the right drills and approach to becoming an excellent open water swimmer, consider Total Immersion…..perhaps the best triathlon open water swimming technique in the world.


TOTAL IMMERSION is offering all IronStruck visitors a 10% discount on Books, DVD’s, and all other

Total Immersion teaching tools.

Simply click on TOTAL IMMERSION to go to their store

page. Use the Coupon Code “ironstruck” (all small case letters) into the shopping cart coupon box

and you will automatically receive your 10% discount!

Terry Laughin who created the Total Immersion swim technique has been kind enough to offer visitors to Ironstruck a discount on his books or tapes and other products that will give you the necessary ingredients to become a confident and proficient open-water swimmer.

You might also want to check out the seven free videos of freestyle swimming on the link below.


Best Ironman Triathlon Swim Technique

Learn the best Ironman Triathlon swim technique and never fear the Ironman swim again.

If you are new to the Ironman Triathlon and especially to swimming 3.8k in the open water, your worry and fear can build to a fever pitch by the time the gun sounds to begin the race.

You’re not even in the water past your waist and you’re pretty much already an emotional wreck and your heart-rate is red-lining.

During all those hours you spent doing countless laps in the pool back home the Ironman swim was always there in the back of your mind.

Bike 180k in howling wind and blazing heat? Run, walk, and shuffle for 42k? Seldom did thoughts of the Ironman bike or run ever strike fear into your heart as you prepared for one of the most challenging days of your life.

After all, you can get off your bike out on the course any time. You can put on the brakes if you’re going too fast.

If you get tired in the run you can lay down in the grass on the side of the road if you want.

Nothing too scary there.

Of all things Iron, it’s the swim that terrifies you the most. Once you get out there….Once you commit yourself..there’s no turning back and there’s no wall to hang on to.

You will be surrounded by hundreds of people, but will feel more alone than you ever have in your life.

You never could swim that well, or maybe not at all, but the call of the Iron Gods to come, come show us what you are made of was so overwhelming that you just have to make it to that Ironman finish line and the open water swim is a necessary evil.

There is just no getting around it.

And so on and on it went………Fortunately, learning the best Ironman Triathlon swim technique is not all that difficult.

Even though through all those months of flip-turns and leaky goggles the feeling of dread was always there…an ever present demon that simply would not let go it’s icy grip on your soul.

You think to yourself over and over…….What have I gotten myself into?

Yet here you are. The gun about to sound and a you can think of is two and a half miles of watery Hell standing between you and Ironman glory.

Your knees are shaking, you want to pass out or throw up and the fear reaches a fever pitch!!

But Wait!!

It doesn’t have to be like that. Not even close to that. Let’s back up a step…


A lot of the fear that triathletes new to open water swimming face is caused by the fact they always feel like they’re struggling in the water.

Their legs keep sinking, they have to keep their arms moving as fast as possible or they’ll sink, and they swallow mouthfuls of that chlorinated water as they struggle to take in air.

The faster they try and go the more of a disaster it becomes.

They go to the pool day after day because they know if they don’t they have no hope of ever becoming an Ironman. That’s just the way it is.

They lean on that kick board and hardly move forward at all no matter how hard they kick. As a matter of fact some people don’t move at all.

There is no real enjoyment in their swim training sessions because it’s always such a struggle, but they soldier on.

Besides, their wet suit will get them through the Ironman swim…won’t it?

They put in lap after lap of inefficient swim strokes because it’s the only one they know.

Yet the more they do it, the more they ingrain that inefficiency into their muscle memory and it’s that very stroke they will be taking to the Ironman with them.

One of the major keys to enjoying and not fearing the Ironman swim is to develop a stroke that many triathletes claim is the best Ironman Triathlon swim technique. It’s a technique that puts the focus on remaining efficient and relaxed.

Once you understand how buoyancy works and how effortless and smooth it will make your swim stroke you will lose your fear of the Ironman swim.

Swimming faster has nothing to do with moving your arms fast. It has everything to do with decreasing resistance.

Best Ironman Triathlon Swim Technique

The Ironman swim start can be a scary time, but a long, smooth swim stroke can give you a much different outlook.

This is how Total Immersion creator Terry Laughlin put it in a chapter he wrote for me in my book Triathlete In Transition.

In order to move your body forward, the propulsive force you generate must be greater than the resistive force (drag) of the water. To move forward, you must increase the difference between propulsive and resistive forces. Increasing propulsive force takes work. Decreasing resistive force does not. This makes the resulting increase in speed sustainable–I.E. you’ll be able to hold a stronger pace longer without fatigue. Therefore always focus on reducing drag first.

To put it more plainly, moving your arms as fast as you can would be trying to increase propulsive force in order to move forward faster.(or in the case of many new swimmers, in order to stop from sinking). It’s important to grasp this concept as it’s important to achieving the most efficient and best Ironman Triathlon swim technique.

That’s a losing proposition in an endurance swim like the ironman and it’s simply unsustainable.

But, if you can lessen the resistance and the amount of water your body has to plow through your stroke becomes much smoother and relaxed and you will become much more comfortable and confident in the water.

What a remarkable difference this can make when it comes to keeping your heart rate down and saving valuable energy. Many people are exhausted after the swim yet still have a 180k bike and a 42k run to make it through.

If you learn the best Ironman Triathlon swim technique available it doesn’t have to be that way.

The next time you go to the pool try this……..

Swim to the end of the pool and back again using your usual swim stroke and count how many strokes it takes you.

Now try it again and this time push your upper body from your neck to your waist toward the bottom of the pool.(count your strokes again)

If your feet have been dragging underwater behind you since you first began to swim, something different is about to happen.

Within a few strokes you will feel your feet rise toward the surface of the water. Kick your feet a little and you might even feel your heels break the surface……

SUDDENLY…you are more streamlined…and all it took was about ten seconds. Now slow your stroke down and add a glide to the end of each stroke while continuing to push your upper body towards the bottom of the pool as you make your way to the other side and back.

My guess is that not only will you shave strokes off, but you will find it takes way less effort to swim.

So here’s what happened.

We all have a natural buoyancy. Our buoy is our lungs. When you press your upper body toward the bottom of the pool, your lungs or natural buoy are trying to push your chest back up.

But because you are maintaining the downward pressure something has to give, so your legs rise. It’s simple physics and once you get it, your swim stroke will change forever.

It’s like taking a balloon full of air and trying to force it down in a tub full of water with one hand. The force of the air will make the balloon impossible to hold down because it will go around your hand to find a way to explode to the surface.

So when you push your chest down the force created by the upward pressure of your lungs has to go somewhere, so it forces your legs up.

In the process you become more streamlined.

Right away you have reduced the resistive force, as Terry put it.

Swimming becomes much easier because there is less resistance and you don’t have to fight to stay afloat. You are more on top of the water instead of always feeling like your legs are sinking and dragging behind you like an anchor.

At first you will have to make a concerted effort to push your chest downward, but it soon becomes second nature.

Most likely you will have to break your swim stroke right down and re-build a much more efficient, relaxing stroke into your muscle memory.

There are swimming drills that will help you achieve this.

I would strongly recommend adopting the Total Immersion swim technique developed by Terry Laughin. I learned what I just shared with you a few decades ago from Terry’s original book and it changed the Ironman swim and how I approached it forever. His book will show you the way to the best Ironman Triathlon swim technique.

I’m sure you can find a used copy of his book somewhere.

Or you can use the link below and get a book or DVD’s right from the Total Immersion website and Terry will even give you an Ironstruck 10% discount.


TOTAL IMMERSION is offering all IronStruck visitors a 10% discount on Books, DVD’s, and all other

Total Immersion teaching tools.

Simply click on TOTAL IMMERSION to go to their store

page. Use the Coupon Code “ironstruck” (all small case letters) into the shopping cart coupon box

and you will automatically receive your 10% discount!

Instead of fearing the swim, I began to look forward to it. I was relaxed when the gun sounded and I felt great when I got out of the water.

The strangest part of all was that even though the Ironman swim seemed more effortless, my times were faster. It was hard to argue with that.

It will be the same for you. You will never fear the Ironman swim again if you take the time to learn the best Ironman Triathlon swim technique you will find anywhere.

Check out these IronStruck articles on swimming….

Open water swimming tips

Swimming technique

Ironman swim training

Beginner swim workout

Swim technique



3 Ironman Triathlon Bike Transition Tips

If you’re preparing to take on the Ironman these 3 Ironman Triathlon bike transition tips might help.

These suggestions for the first time Ironman or perhaps those who have had a few attempts at it, but ran into a few problems in transition one.

These are just a few things I learned over the years as an age-group athlete through trial and error and hopefully they provide you with some insight that might be helpful.


It’s surprising how many people get out of the water, pick up their swim/bike transition bag, go into the change tent and then become disorientated and have trouble finding their bike. This is probably the simplest of the 3 Ironman Triathlon bike transition tips to rectify. It just take a bit of pre-race planning.

In some races there can be two thousand(or more) bikes in the transition area and if you don’t take the time to pick out some landmarks or at least count the rows so you know which way to head once you leave the change tent, you could find yourself looking all over for your bike.

Every row of triathlon bikes looks about the same.

It’s not so much a time wasting issue as it is getting yourself all worked up over something that should never have happened in the first place. All these small issues will increase your heart-rate and in the process burn off energy you will need.

3 ironman triathlon swim/bike transition tips

Rows of triathlon bikes pretty much all look the same.

Long before the swim begins when you are wandering around killing time, look for a landmark that will lead you to your bike row. It can be a tree, a post, or anything at all that stands out.

If there are no landmarks, go to the change tent and look for the exit that you will be coming out of once you change after the swim. It doesn’t matter if your bike is to the left or to the right, count the first row you see as one, and then count all the way down to the row your bike is in. That’s the only number you have to remember.

Normally each row is numbered…..but the problem is that in the highly charged atmosphere you can expect to find yourself in, the numbers just don’t register, because the number of your row might be 400 to 550 and the next row might be 550 to 700.

It’s far easier to count the rows beforehand and know if you are in row 11, or 15, or 29.

If you plan on just grabbing your transition bag and going straight to your bike, be sure to find out(ask a volunteer)where exactly you pick up your bag and where do you exit the bag pick-up? In that case the first row you see when you exit the bag pick-up area will be row one.

Count from that first row down to your bike row.

It may seem like a small thing, but the more smoothly you can make your transitions the less stress you will have to deal with. This in turn prevents your heart-rate from ramping up needlessly.


There are many trains of thought about this.

First of all, I don’t think it’s a great idea to set your bike shoes down beside your bike in the transition area.

I also don’t think it’s a great idea to lock your bike shoes into the pedals and mount your bike and try and get your feet into the shoes on the move.

There is a ton of activity in the bike zone as hundreds and hundreds of triathletes make the transition to their bikes.

Gear you have neatly placed by your bike before the swim can end up anywhere. I once found one of my cycling shoes in the next row. It had somehow gotten kicked between the bikes into the next row.

The best place to keep your cycling shoes is in your swim/bike transition bag. At least that way you know where they are.

You can either put your cycling shoes on in the change tent or at your bike.

Personally, after trying both methods I found it made more sense to carry my shoes to my bike and then put them on. It’s far easier to run in bare feet or in socks than it is in clunky bike shoes. This is especially true if you have a lot of ground to cover between the time you put on your shoes and get to your bike.

If you put them on at your bike at least you should be fairly close to the bike exit and won’t have to cover ground in them for very far. Just be sure to quickly run your hand along the bottom of your feet before you put your shoes on.

This will remove any dirt or especially small pebbles you may have picked up on your socks or bare feet if you cycle without socks.

I avoided attaching my shoes to the pedals beforehand because it’s just to difficult to get your feet into them when the pressure is on and everyone is weaving all over the place trying to get their bikes moving.

This might be the method of choice for the pros but they really don’t have the same congestion at the bike start as you will find in an Ironman Triathlon.

Also, seconds matter to them, but to age-group triathletes who are just trying to make it to the finish line…..not so much.


Before the swim start on race morning ensure that you put your bike in the easiest gear.

It’s amazing how many triathletes get this wrong. It’s something very simple to do, but often gets overlooked.

It’s unfortunate because it sure can get your Ironman Triathlon bike leg off to a much smoother start and hopefully these 3 Ironman Triathlon bike transition tips will help you achieve that.

It gets very hectic in those first few dozen meters out of the transition area where everyone is trying to get on their bikes.

The best way to set up your gears before the race begins is the small chain-ring in the front and the biggest gear in the rear cluster.

For one thing, there’s a good chance you will still be a bit disorientated from the swim. Plus everyone is in a hurry and the adrenaline is flowing.

3 ironman triathlon bike transition tips

The majority of triathlon bike crashes take place in the first 50 meters of the bike course.

Most Ironman bike accidents happen in the first 50 meters of the race.

Triathletes are struggling to snap into their pedals with no forward momentum because they have their bike in a really big gear and just can’t get it moving. what usually happens is they try and stand up on the pedals to get themselves moving forward. They lose control and often just fall over or run into other bikes and they both fall over.

Besides road rash and a dose of embarrassment this can cause other problems. Your water bottles could go flying, your brake pads could be knocked out of place, or your chain could even come off.

Your heart rate will also ramp up from the stress and right away you will be losing energy you can’t afford to lose.

Any number of things can happen when your bike hits the ground or runs into another bike.

However, if you’re in a really easy gear all you have to do is get one foot locked in swing the other leg over and rest it on top of the pedal and begin pedaling your way out of the traffic. Once you get yourself clear you can lock in the other foot.

Once the second foot is locked in and you have some speed you can begin shifting into bigger gears.

It’s so much easier to maneuver once you get some some forward momentum and being in your easiest gear. Hopefully these 3 Ironman Triathlon bike transition tips will help get your bike leg off in a safe and relaxing manner.

Hopefully these 3 Ironman Triathlon Bike Transition Tips will help you out in your next race.




Five Ironman Triathlon race morning tips

There’s a lot going on in the transition area in the hour or two before the gun sounds to begin the swim and hopefully these five Ironman Triathlon race morning tips will be of some help.

If you are new to the Ironman, it can be a bit overwhelming on race morning and you might find yourself a bit unsure just how you should spend that time as the start of the race gets closer and closer.

Here are a few things you can do to in preparation for the race.

I should note as I always do that I am not a coach or pro triathlete but just passing on suggestions from what I have learned over the years and you can take it or leave it.


It goes without saying that tire pressure should be checked and topped up on race morning to ensure it’s just where you want it.

Some tires will have suggested tire pressures written on the side. This could range from 85-130. The lower the pressure, the more comfortable the ride, but there will also be more resistance as the tire flattens out against the road surface.

Five Ironman Triathlon race morning tips

When in doubt, 100 psi is about right.

Contrary to popular belief, a harder tire does not necessarily mean you will go faster. A hard tire actually tends to bounce off the road and can actually cause you to go slower.

So that being said, 100-105 PSI seems to be a happy medium and you won’t really go wrong using it as your race tire pressure.


Every single Ironman Triathlon there are many, many first time Ironman Triathletes who make the same mistake.

When they park their bike in the rack they leave it in a big gear and that one simple mistake has the potential to cause problems when they mount their bike as they leave transition after the swim.

Keep in mind that you are mounting your bike from a standing start and your equilibrium will be off after being in the horizontal position for so long during the swim.

You will be struggling to get your shoes clipped into the pedals while at the same time trying to get some forward momentum.

If you are in a big gear, chances are your bike will be wobbling all over the place because you really have to bear down on the pedals to get the bike moving and you will be surrounded by other cyclists in close proximity who are trying to do the very same thing.

Five Ironman Triathlon race morning tips

The small chain-ring in the front and this gear on the back cluster is best for leaving transition.

There are more crashes in the first 50 meters of the 180k Ironman bike than anywhere else on the course and more often than not it’s caused by bikes being in too big a gear.

Be sure to put your bike in the easiest gear you have. That means the small chain-ring in the front and the biggest ring in the back.

Once you get comfortably on the bike it’s an easy matter to begin to shift into bigger gears as you clear the bike mounting area.


If you have hydrated properly in the three or four days leading up to the race, there is no need to be taking in large amounts of fluid in the hour or so before the race.

If you must, it makes more sense to take in fluids soon after you get up on race morning to give it time to be absorbed into your system.

Having copious amounts of fluids sloshing around in your stomach during the swim can cause upset stomach and nausea, especially when combined with the motion of the body of water you’re swimming in.


Many triathletes will have their wetsuits zipped right up even though the starting gun is half an hour away.

This is not only uncomfortable, but can cause overheating and unnecessary loss of fluid through perspiration.

The best option is to put your wetsuit on and just pull it up to your waist.

When you are four or five minutes away from the starting gun, put your wetsuit on the rest of the way and have someone zip it up for you.


It’s amazing how many people have no plan in place at all as to where they will seed themselves for the start of the swim.

In most Ironman races the bulk of swimmers will finish the swim in between 1:15 and two hours. If you fall into this time frame, the best place to put yourself for the start of the race is the far outside.

If you start on the inside closest to the course markers or in the middle, you are most likely going to find yourself being bashed around for a good twenty minutes as everyone struggles to find a clear patch of water to swim in.

This is not a great way to start your race. Several emotions like fear, anger, anxiety, and panic all come into play and every one of them will elevate your heart-rate unnecessarily and in doing so, will use energy you are really going to need later on in the race.

Remember… lost needlessly in the swim is gone for the rest of the day.

It is not recoverable and it is by far your most precious commodity and your energy–or lack of– will undoubtedly be a deciding factor in how your Ironman journey unfolds.