I had been training for months and was determined to beat my personal best this time out.
Everything was going to plan. I headed to the transition area to get all my gear setup. While there I met an old school friend so started chatting about all the things we used to get up to as youngsters.
Anyway, the race started and I was very happy with my swim and run back into transition.
I whipped off my wetsuit, stuck on my helmet and sunnies and took off again – I had my bike shoes already clipped into my pedals and held with elastic bands to the frame (nice tip if you want to speed up transition times).
The bike section of the race was superb – nice and flat with zero wind. Coming back into T2 I was already unclipped and jumped off the bike and ran into transition. Again all going to plan at this stage…
Now here is where I noticed my stupidity.
While I was talking to my friend at the start of the race I took off my runners and set them up beside my bike – but forgot to open the laces.
Not sure about you but when I race the adrenalin is soaring through me and my hands tend to get a bit clumsy. Not good when you need a surgeons touch to open a blasted knot in your shoelaces.
I must have wrestled with it for about 2 or 3 mins before it finally opened and I could get my runners on. I tied them up and took off again like a disgruntled old man shouting to myself at how stupid I’d been.
All of that practice and training to be held up by a knot in my shoes lace.
My overall race times were great but I wasted 3 mins in transition that I could and should have avoided!!!
I swore after that day that I would never let this happen again – Enter Speed Laces or elastic shoelaces…
My Tri runners are now equipped with a set of Lock Laces so no more fumbling around with trying to open stubborn knots, tie shoes or tying laces when you should be running.
There are no knots!
Below is a series of images that show you how to install stretch or lock laces into your runners.
These are a pair of my everyday runners so excuse the muck – real life here and not some shiny staged photoshoot 🙂
Installing Lock Laces
The laces are very easy to install and its actually a very straightforward process and while it may be a bit fiddly and take you a few mins to get it right it will save you plenty of valuable time in transition.
First up you need to remove the standard laces from your runners and put them to one side.
The lock laces come in 3 parts:
- The two lengths of elastic no tie stretch laces
- Adjustable locking clips that slide over the laces
- End cap protectors for your laces
They are a one size fits all system so no need to worry about sizing when you buy a pair.
When you remove your existing laces you simply thread in the new elastic laces into the eye holes or loops of your runners. This is very easy the first time as there are plastic welded ends on the laces.
This is my second pair of runners to use these bungee laces and I had already trimmed them to length.
Not a problem though. I just grabbed a heat gun and melted the ends slightly to bind the fibres together. This makes them easy to push into the eyelets.
Trimming the stretch lace length
Once you have the laces installed you need to adjust the fit and trim off the tag ends as out of the box they will be far too long.
This is great though because you can use these bungee laces in any type of shoe or boot. I have them set up in a long pair of hiking boots and they are great.
The first thing to do once the laces are in place is slide on the main cord lock lace adjuster. This spring clip system holds the laces at your desired tension.
Next double check that you threaded the laces through every eyelet and that they is enough slack so you can adjust later if needed.
I find the best way to do this is to put on your running shoe and walk or run around a bit. Make sure they stay in place but are not too tight.
Take scissors and trim off the tag ends leaving about 3 inches length extra.
This allows you to tuck the ends into your laces but also to adjust the tension of the laces if needed.
One really hot days you may suffer from foot swelling so this helps a lot.
The last thing you need to do once you have the laces trimmed to length is to install the tag end protector.
This holds both ends of the elastic cord laces in place and allows you to tuck the ends into the rest of the laces out of the way.
Thread both tag ends through the clips mechanism and make sure the ends rest up against the internal stopper.
A firm press with your fingers locks this in place.
And that’s it.
I have been using lock laces since my stupid mistake during my second race. I bought two pairs at the time and still have them today – that was 3 odd years ago.
By far the cheapest bit of kit in my triathlon setup but seriously they are worth every cent. You never have to worry again about slow transition times. I don’t even use the adjuster anymore. I just slip on the runners and the elastic laces do the rest.
They have never slipped off, I had no trouble with pressure points on my feet, nor did I ever have to adjust them mid-race. There was zero friction on my heel area either which was a great improvement.
I tell everybody I know who is into triathlon racing to get themselves a pair of elastic no tie racing laces.
There are plenty of elastic lacing systems available on the market today but these were my first pair and because they have lasted this long I haven’t bothered looking elsewhere.
Outside of triathlon or running. If you are a sports fan and are into any sport that requires laces then you should look to elastic laces for your shoes. They are also great for people who suffer from certain disabilities who may not be able to tie laces themselves. With lock laces, they don’t have to worry anymore.
If you don’t have a pair I strongly suggest you invest in these no tie shoelaces. Small money for such a big improvement and I would give them five stars every time.