18242 Triathlon Packing List Blog 1200×675

The Ultimate Triathlon Checklist for Race Week

BY Allie Burdick

You've done all the hard work, but the two weeks before your triathlon can be make-or-break. Here are the checklists you'll need to minimize the unknowns.

If you’re the type of triathlete who likes to be fully prepared and organized (well before you even rack your bike in transition on race day), this is the triathlon checklist for you. Since triathlon involves so much equipment and, depending on the length of your race, can also involve detailed hydration and fuel prep, we offer these lists to help make race morning less chaotic.

One Week Before Your Triathlon Race…

The week before the race can feel like the doldrums; with a reduced training plan due to tapering and plenty of free time, you may find yourself stressing more than usual. Here are some helpful tasks to keep you focused and help eliminate any surprise emergencies.

Prepare Your Gear

  • Replace worn tires and old tubes on your triathlon bike. If it looks bad, replace it. Make sure you have everything thing you need on your bike to fix a flat.
  • Check your running shoelaces and change them out to elastic slip-on lock laces if you usually race in them.
  • It’s also a good idea to pack an extra swim cap just in case they are not provided and to also bring an extra pair of goggles. Best case, you may be able to help a fellow racer who is in need.

Finalize Your Pre-Race, Race, and Post-Race Clothing

  • Race morning can be chilly, so be sure to have something to wear before the start. Old slippers or flip flops make great “shoes” to wear from transition to the water for the start.
  • Check each piece of clothing you plan on wearing, from your swimsuit and/or wetsuit to your cycling/running socks. Now is the time to buy something new if necessary, so you’ll be able to test it out before race day. Will you need a visor, sunglasses, or hat for the run? If so, make sure it’s something you have tested in training.
  • You’ll also be glad to have comfortable clothes and shoes or sandals for after the race. That way you’ll be comfortable while you grab a drink and snack, chat with friends, or wait for your podium ceremony!

Two Days Before Your Triathlon Race…

In the days before the race, you may find yourself getting even more nervous, but it’s a great time to rest, pamper yourself with great food, and work on your visualization.

  • Sleep well. Two days before your race is actually the most important night to sleep well, since most athletes will be too excited/nervous to get a solid sleep the night before.
  • Try to use this as a rest day with very little walking or exertion.
  • Eat the foods that you normally do. There is no need to eat more than normal because you are training less.
  • Revisit the racecourse, especially the finish line and the last section of the bike and run course.
  • Visualize each event in as much detail as possible, including race morning, your equipment, the course, transitions, and what you will tell yourself when it gets hard or when something goes wrong.

The Day Before Your Triathlon Race…

On the day before the race, it’s important to make sure you hit your nutrition targets and stay calm. Your gear should all be ready, and your body is as strong as it’s going to get, so pack your bags and try to get some sleep!

  • Avoid overeating; an overly full stomach might not digest in time for the race.
  • Hydrate well! Now is the time to get ahead of the game.
  • Again, visualize the race and how good you will feel.

Pack a Bag With Your Race Essentials

  • race/tri suit
  • water bottle(s)
  • hydration mix
  • fuel
  • race shoes
  • socks
  • swim cap
  • goggles
  • bike helmet
  • sunglasses
  • visor
  • hat
  • race numbers
  • bib belt
  • towel

Pack Another Bag for Non-Essentials

  • extra safety pins
  • tape
  • magic marker
  • toilet paper
  • water bottle
  • warm-up clothes
  • snack
  • drink
  • clothes for after the race

Put all your equipment in the car the night before so you’ll be ready to go in the morning. Then, go to bed at a reasonable time and try to shut your mind off.

It’s Race Day!

Everybody’s race day routine will be a little different, but these simple rules will help eliminate some of the most stressful friction points of race day.

  • Be sure to eat at least 90 minutes before your race starts, or whatever time frame you have practiced while training. Now is not the time to deviate from your usual meal plan.
  • Try to go to the bathroom early.
  • Dress warmly. Race mornings always seem cooler than normal!
  • Arrive at the race site early for check-in and place the necessary numbers on your body, bike, and helmet as soon as you get them (to avoid losing them).
  • Set up your transition area, including shoes, towel, helmet, sunglasses, and socks. Just remember, less is more in the transition area. Clutter will make a stressful situation even worse and ultimately waste time. It can help to use a brightly colored towel to mark your spot.
  • Do a final bike check at transition. Make sure your front wheel is facing out, your pedals are in your preferred position, and your drivetrain is in the right gear.
  • Get your helmet, race number, and shoes positioned.
  • Place your timing chip (if included) on your left ankle.
  • Warm up, get out there, give your best effort, and have fun! This is what you have been training for!
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Ultimate Ironman Training Guide

Training Guide

This guide is designed to be used as you train for an IRONMAN triathlon, with in-depth information on every part of the process. Each chapter is packed with tips, workouts, and insights from triathlon coaches, to give you all the tools you need to succeed.

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About Allie Burdick

Allie is a freelance writer, competitor and twin mom. Her work has appeared in Runner’s World, Women’s Running and ESPNW. On her blog, VitaTrain4Life, Allie chronicles her life as a runner and triathlete and hopes her successes and failures help motivate and inspire others, even the over-40 crowd she somehow found herself in!

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