Triathlon Transition Automation | Location-Based | Apple Watch…Garmin next?

transition triathlon app apple watch ios
Apple Watch SE Nike

Here we look at a cool new feature for triathlon. It just so happens to be on an Apple Watch (review). We also look at some para-triathlon sports profiles which also just so happen to be on an Apple Watch. And we look at a novel way of starting a water-based triathlon when the touchscreen doesn’t work…you guessed it…it just so happens to be on an Apple Watch.

Will Garmin follow this?

Heads up: Will is a small developer and has built a triathlon app with some novel functionality that also supports para-triathlon profiles. For larger companies to simply copy some of these ideas is really not cool in my opinion. I talked to Will about patents before writing this.

Transition App for Apple Watch | Triathlon With Automatic Transitions

The Transition app is still a ‘work in progress’ in some respects but it works and it’s free.

I kinda like it all. The app on the phone is a very simple workout logger but it links to Apple Health/Fitness to keep your rings cranking round. The best part is the workout/race functionality on the watch itself. The app doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t, it’s just for taking you through multi-sports workouts and it doesn’t require or want you to change your whole digital sports ecosystem to use it.

Want to use Apple Workout or another app to simply record a run? Fine. Do that. When you want to do a multi-sport workout switch over to the Transition app, that’s what it’s designed for.

Here are notes on some of the interesting features.

Multi-sport and Para-Sport profiles

The Transition triathlon app is set up to log every kind of multi-sport workout. So it covers everything from a simple brick (bike/run) through to an Open Water Paratri (Hand Cycle), naturally also covering a Pool triathlon.

However, the para-sports are not logged as para-sports in Apple Health.

Location-Based Transition

On race day, before you head off to the start line, you take a second to set the GPS position of transition on the watch app. ie while you are still in transition at your racking point.

Once the race has started, each time you approach and leave that transition point the Apple Watch automatically progresses to the next leg/transition of the race. There’s a manual over-ride…just in case.

The automatic progression to the next stage is cool in itself and would be an applicable feature to add to button-based watches too. However, on the Apple Watch, it also has the considerable advantage of avoiding the cursed ‘twist crown to unlock’ when progressing from Swim to T1.



Water Starts | Start Later

A button-based interface is relatively easy to initiate for water-based starts. However, with a submerged and unresponsive touchscreen, you might find it impossible to start recording a triathlon when in the water with an Apple Watch. Sure you can start the app before you get in the water instead this app’s ‘Start Later’ functionality effectively starts the workout on dry land and then immediately pauses it. Only when you rotate the crown in the water will the triathlon properly start.

Rotating the crown is not necessarily the easiest thing to do and requires a complete clockwise rotation. There’s a display for when you do that but you’ll probably have the watch underwater at the time as you sink because you’re not using your arms to float!

FWIW: I start the workout logging on dry land when I’ve got a GPS signal. It’s one less thing to worry about and it helps the watch keep the GPS signal for the entire OWS leg.

Other Cool Stuff

There’s also zone tracking with haptic/audio alerts and Apple Health/Apple Fitness integration.


Love the location-based transition.

Honestly, folks, most people don’t need to buy a tri watch, if you’re just getting into triathlon and want to have some fun…get a free app and save yourself a few hundred bucks/quid.

I’m always going to use a tri-watch myself though – look at Garmin 945, Wahoo Rival, or Polar V2 if you want to splash some cash (best triathlon watch info)

Watch OS 6 and above

Link to Will’s TRANSITION app: App Store

Other Cool Stuff Elsewhere

Using a power meter on the Apple Watch:

Apple Watch 6 ! Power Meter support ! bike & Stryd with iSmoothRun

Turning your Apple Watch into an outdoors-wonder reminiscent of a Garmin Fenix (well, almost)

How to Apple Watch 6 | For hiking, outdoors and adventures | Useful apps and accessories


Some decent Apple Watch bands

Best Apple Watch Band for Running 🏃 Sports Strap – Definitive Guide | Workout | Fitness | Adventure |

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1 thought on “Triathlon Transition Automation | Location-Based | Apple Watch…Garmin next?

  1. One question for you my friend, how does transitions upload to strava? or tri tracker app for that matter. Does it show up in strava without extra work?

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