7 Essential Race Day Tips for Triathlons
By: Angela Campos
If possible, always pick up your race packet the day before the event and attend the expo. It will save you time and any potential anxiety to have this information ahead of time! The race packet will contain your run bib, swim cap, race tattoos (if available), bike and helmet number stickers, and swim wave information. Attending the expo will allow you to visit different vendors and get a chance to ask questions about race day.
Place your items neatly on a small towel to the right side of your bike. Common items in transition are: bike shoes, bike helmet (mandatory and must be strapped on before leaving transitions area), running shoes, and socks ,visor or hat, race belt with bib, extra water and fuel belt (depending on distance).
Make sure your brakes work and you have end cap plugs on your handle bars. You will not be allowed to participate without the end cap plugs due to risk of injury. If you do not have them, bike support on site may be able to provide them for you, but it is always best to be prepared! If you rack your bike the night before the event, do not over inflate your tires! It is best to pump them up on the morning of the race to avoid overinflation and the tire “popping” as the day warms up!
If you have a long wait until your swim wave goes off, do not zip up your wetsuit until closer to start time to avoid potentially overheating. Use Body Glide or Tri-Slide all over exposed skin before putting on your wetsuit to avoid the dreaded chaffing! A place not to forget is the back of your neck, where your wetsuit attaches, as it is a common area for chaffing. If the water is very cold, it is a good idea to wear two swim caps to keep your head warm, just make sure the race cap is the last one you put on!
Always be respectful and safe. When passing, make sure you can quickly make the pass and let the person know that you will be passing them by saying, “On Your Left”. Ride single file two bike lengths apart, or you could be penalized for drafting. Do not ride side by side!
Sprinkle your socks and shoes with a little bit of baby powder to make them easier to slip on in transition. If you do not wear socks, apply a little bit of body glide to the inside back of the shoe, making it easier to slide them on. Make sure your race bib is on and facing forward during the run.
If it is a hot day, grab ice at the aid station and switch back and forth between hands to help cool down. Also, tuck a few cubes of ice in your shirt or in your hat if you are wearing one. I like to grab two cups of water at the aid stations and pour one over my head and sip on the other one.
About the Author
Angela is a mom of two, wife, registered nurse, runner, Ironman triathlete, and cooking enthusiast. She shares her tales of training for various endurance events, inspiration and motivation, and some of her favorite recipes on her blog: Marathons and Motivation.