Triathlon Race Day Checklist

There’s a lot to keep track of on race day, and having a list can make the logistics much less stressful. We asked triathlon coach Dave Schell of FBD Multisport to help us put together a comprehensive race day checklist. Print it out, check things off, and arrive at the start line calm, confident and ready to focus on just one thing – racing your best.

Go to the printable pdf, or read on.

Race Goals

You should have goals for every race you do, even training races. Write down the 2-3 things you would like to accomplish or learn today.

Things To Bring

  • Swim

    • Tri shorts, swimsuit, or tri suit
    • 2 sets of goggles (i.e., one tinted and one normal)
    • Bright-colored towel
    • Wetsuit
  • Bike

    • Bike
    • Helmet
    • Cycling shoes and socks (if wearing)
    • Sunglasses
    • Water bottle(s)
    • Nutrition 
    • Tool Kit: tube, CO2, levers, multi-tool
    • Floor pump (pump up your tires before you leave home but leave the pump in your car just in case)
  • Run

    • Running shoes (2 pairs if you have a late start time. One to leave in transition and one to warm up in)
    • Race belt
    • Hat/visor
  • Other

    • Training device (Garmin, Timex, etc.) & heart rate strap
    • Body Glide
    • Sunscreen
    • Vaseline, powder, band-aids
    • Blunt nose scissors for sticker origami
    • Post-race, warm change of clothes
    • Post-race recovery drink/snack with a 4:1 ratio of carbs vs. protein


Race Day To-Do’s

  • Wake up early and eat 3-4 hours before your start time. Eat only familiar, easily-digestible foods (example: banana and a bagel with jam).
  • Stop drinking fluids about 2 hours before your start time. Continue sipping as needed. Pee, pee, and then pee again (don’t worry, everybody pees in their wetsuit).
  • Get to the race early to secure a good spot in transition. Ideally, this is a spot on the end of the rack close to the bike in/out.

    • Make a mental note of landmarks to help you easily find your rack.
    • Use a bright-colored towel so your area stands out…and be courteous. NO BEACH TOWELS!
    • Leave the balloons at home – you will not make any friends if your balloon is tangled around someone else’s bike.
  • Organize your gear in the order you will use it – run through transitions in your mind.
  • Complete a good 10-15 minute running warm-up about 45 minutes before start time.
  • Put on your wetsuit and hop in the water for a good swim warm-up 15-20 minutes before your start time. Be on the line 5-10 minutes before the gun.
  • Remember that this is why you put in all those training hours. Believe in your training, do your best – and have fun!


“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.” -William Barclay

Dave Schell

Dave Schell is the Director of Education at TrainingPeaks and a USAC level 2 certified cycling coach. He coaches triathletes and cyclists of all levels from beginner to pro to achieve their highest potential. When Dave isn't traveling the world teaching others how to better use TrainingPeaks, he's trying hard not to fall off of his mountain bike.