Triathlon Race Day Checklist

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. Coach Dave Schell of FBD Multisport helped us compile a comprehensive, printable 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.

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

For the Swim

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

For the Bike

  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Cycling shoes and socks
  • 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)

For the 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

Miscellaneous Items

  • Training device (Garmin, Timex, etc.) and heart rate strap
  • Body Glide
  • Sunscreen
  • Vaseline, powder, bandages
  • Bluntnose scissors for sticker origami
  • Warm change of clothes for after the race
  • Post-race recovery drink/snack with a 4:1 ratio of carbs vs. protein

Race Day To-Dos

  • Wake up early and eat 3-4 hours before your start time. Eat only familiar, easily-digestible foods.
  • 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 brightly-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 start 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 focuses on coaching mountain biking, gravel cycling, and running. A husband, father of two, and busy professional, Dave knows what it takes to maximize performance on limited time. As the former director of Education at TrainingPeaks, Dave has a thorough knowledge of the platform, and a proven track record of success with first-timers, world cup qualifiers, elite and age group podiums, and weekend warriors. Visit Dave Schell's Coach Profile