How To Win At Kids Triathlons: Transitions and Equipment Checklist
Updated: Nov 21
Most kids triathlons are held over pretty short distances and much of the total time of the event can be spent in transition if they don't practice it. Sometimes it's the kid that is not the fittest but who handles the logistics best that wins! The goal should be to have your kid complete the triathlon without any assistance. If they can dress themselves they can likely get through a transition area unassisted. Not always easy to stay away when your kid is struggling with cold hands and wet equipment!
Here a few tips and tricks to make the transitions easier:
Triathlon Race Suit: Nothing more excruciating than watching kids try and put a t-shirt on a wet body after the swim. It can take as long as the swim itself! Solve this by investing in a race suit they can do the entire tri in. If they wear a wetsuit they can just wear the race suit underneath. If not just bathers are fine and use a race belt to display their number.
Wetsuit: Not applicable to triathlons with pool swims but for open water it's an option considering. Special swimming wetsuits, also available in youth sizes, provide flexibility, warmth and buoyancy. Taking them off is something kids can and should practice. I tend to think that 300m is the break point for when it's faster to wear a wetsuit and take it off than to go without. For example for a 100m swim I would just have the kid swim in their racesuit (unless it was freezing cold).
Elastic Laces - You don't want your kid to have to tie shoe laces in the transition from swim to bike! There are two options. Shoes with velcro or the ones they can just slip on. Or buy or make some elastic laces that you can replace the normal laces with. A final tip. Sprinkle some sport powder in the shoe to avoid blisters. No time for socks!
Race Belt - Kids should plan to complete the triathlon in their bathers (whatever they swim in). They do need to wear a number during the bike and run. The solution is to attach a number to a race belt. Much quicker than putting a t-shirt on a wet body! Again, you could probably make one with elastic from the craft store but you can also get them online. May need to be modified for skinnier waists!
Here's a checklist of stuff you'll likely need to pack before you set off for your kids triathlon:
Necessary For All Types of Races:
Triathlon Racesuit or swimsuit
Swim cap - if the event doesn't give you one (most do)
Bike with spare tubes, pump attached
Race Belt with race number attached
Towel (to lay stuff on. Make it a colorful one to help find your bike!)
Powder (for inside of shoes to stop blisters. No socks!)
Optional or Sometimes Needed:
Wetsuit (if in cold open water)
Lubricant for wetsuit
Sunglasses if it's bright
Visor or hat if it's hot
Neoprene swim cap if the water's cold
Floor bike pump (because you can usually borrow one)