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There are a lot of things that you need to keep track of on the day of your race and it can sometimes be overwhelming. But fear not, we’ve put together a list of every single item you will need for each section of the race, as well as how best to prepare yourself on the day.
For the Swim
For the first and often most crucial part of the triathlon, you will need the following items:
– Wetsuit: You may not need to wear a wetsuit, but some races actually require you to. It is definitely worth checking the rules of your race. If you do wear a wetsuit, you will need to test and train in it to make sure it is the right one for you and your body type.
– Goggles: It’s important you know which kind of goggles to wear in your race’s particular conditions. For example, if you are swimming in cloudy or murky water and in cloudy conditions, you will be best off having a clear or lightly tinted pair of goggles. If you will be competing on a bright sunny day, darker tinted goggles will be a better option.
– Swimming Cap: Generally the race will provide each competitor with a swimming cap, but it is always best to bring your own one along just in case you need it!
– Two small towels: Why two towels you ask? You will need one to dry yourself/your feet after the swim, and one to mark your area during the transition. Make sure they are brightly colored and recognizable so that you can spot it as easily as possible for when you arrive at the transition spot.
For the Cycle
During the second phase of the triathlon, you will need:
– Your bike: By far the most important item on the list for part of this race. We know you won’t forget it, just a reassuring note to check if everything is alright with your bike.
– Helmet: It is worth investing in a helmet that is aerodynamic, safe and comfortable. Aero helmets can actually save you time during the race.
– Shoes: You can wear either cycling shoes or triathlon specific shoes. When purchasing triathlon specific shoes, make sure to look for ones that have the following features – heel loop, single fastening strap, a hard sole and make sure they are comfortable. As with trisuits and wetsuits, make sure you have practiced and trained in your shoes before race day so that you get used to the way they work.
– Socks: It’s important that you do not bring cotton socks otherwise you will probably sweat through them. Bring socks that are made from a wicking material instead.
– Sunglasses: Definitely a necessity, even on a cloudy day.
– Gloves: Gloves are an optional item but if you happen to be competing on a cold or bitter day, then you may want to consider wearing gloves to keep your hand from becoming uncomfortably cold during the cycle and run.
– Water Bottles: Bring two bottles of water, especially if you are competing in a longer distance race.
– Nutrition: During a triathlon you will burn roughly between 500 – 1000 calories depending on your age, gender, distance, terrain etc. You need to replace at least 30% of these calories to keep fueled during the race.
You need to consume foods that contain fast release carbs. This is so that the food will give your muscles the energy it needs quickly and efficiently. The type of foods that will be a good choice for the cycling section of the triathlon will include things such as energy bars and flapjacks.
– Tool Kit: Bike Pump or CO2 Inflation System: Make sure you have pumped your bike tyres up before you arrive. But it is very important that you bring the pump with you on the day.
You will be responsible for dealing with any punctures that may occur on the day, so you need to be prepared in case this were to happen to you. Examples are spare tubes, a patch kit, some tire levers and a chain lubricant.
For the Run
– Trisuit: Make sure you have tried and tested the trisuit you plan to wear before the day of the race. You need to make sure it fits in all the right places, doesn’t rub and is easy to get off.
– Running shoes: make sure you have practiced running in these running shoes before you perform in them. They need to be comfortable as well as easy and efficient to get on and off so that you are able to speed up your transition time.
– Hat or visor: This will be good for both blocking the sun from your eyes and for protecting you from UV rays.
– Replacement laces
– Nutrition: The best thing to refuel with during the run will be things such as energy gels, sports drinks, sweets and dried fruit (raisins would be good). You can store these items in your race belt. In many races, there are specific stop points at which you can refuel.
– Race belt: This is where you will attach your number, and often where you can store water or snacks.
– Watch: So that you can keep track of your time.
– Heart rate strap
– Waterproof sunscreen: Even if you are competing on a cloudy day, it is wise to use sunscreen because UV rays are much stronger than you would think.
– Band aids: Just in case! You never know when you might need them.
– Vaseline: Your lips can get extremely dry due to being exposed to the weather for an extended period of time. Racing with chapped lips will be far from comfortable.
– Change of clothes: Make sure you don’t forget to take a warm change of clothes and an alternative (and comfortable!) pair of shoes for after you finish the race. All you will want is extreme comfort and warmness so be prepared. Don’t forget dry socks!
– This list: Important! Bring this handy list along with you so that you can check the items off when you arrive.
How to Prepare on Race Day
– Wake up early!
– Eat around 3 – 4 hours before your race begins and make sure you consume food that is easy to digest such as bananas or a bagel.
– Go to the bathroom before your start time.
– Get to the event early enough so that you can secure yourself a good transition spot and ensure that you have everything good to go.
– Ensure you have everything you need and it will be a good idea to put the items in the order you will be needing to use them throughout the race.
– Engage in a 10-15 minute warm up about 45 minutes before your start time so that your muscles are prepared, but so that you do not waste any of your precious energy just before the beginning of the race.
– Get to the start line 15 minutes before your start time to ensure that you are aware of where it is and so that you are ready with plenty of time.
– Last but certainly not least, focus your mind on what’s ahead and of course, ENJOY!