Race morning can and often is a very hectic time for triathletes, and especially for new triathletes doing their first or second race. In all the races I’ve done, inevitably there are racers that show up late and are so frazzled they don’t know what to do with themselves. Their race gear has been thrown haphazardly in a plastic grocery sack with a hole in the middle, their race numbers are falling all over the place, and the transition area closes in less than five minutes.
This is not an ideal scenario for anyone racing. The less harried and more focused you can be on your race, the better. Which is why I am a firm believer in having a race day checklist that lists all of the gear you are going to need for your race.
Here are the checklists for each triathlon sport that I use for race day:
An extra pair of goggles just in case
Neoprene Swim Cap (in case it’s really cold)
Nutrition (depending on triathlon length)
Tire changing kit/extra tubes
As you can see, the biking portion of a triathlon calls for a little more equipment than just a speedo and a pair of goggles that you can get by with for the swim. And because the bike is mechanical in nature, you have to make sure you bring things along that can fix any mechanical failures you might have with the bike prior and during the race, whether that be extra tubes and/or a tire changing kit in case your tire goes bad, or a simple bike tool to tighten up anything that might come loose on the bike while you’re transporting it to the race.
Triathlon race belt
Visor or race headband
If you like to wear sunglasses when you run, you will most likely just use the same ones you had on the bike. And for the most part, you will continue to wear the tri shorts and tri-top you wore during the whole race up to this point so far.
One thing that I didn’t realize before I started racing triathlons is that the area you are assigned (or that you assign yourself) at the transition area is pretty small. You don’t have a lot of room to bring in and store tons of gear. So don’t be that guy who brings his whole training closet full of crap with him and then gets upset when he doesn’t have anywhere to store his gear. Stick with the triathlon checklist. Because not only do you look like a fool when you do that, you’re going to make other people upset when you start overtaking their rack space.
Things are tight enough as it is without you barfing all your stuff everywhere.
Plus, I’ve found that the more extra stuff I have on race morning, the more nervous and flustered I get as a I try to manage all that gear. Hence, the triathlon checklist. That’s why it’s important to make sure you know what the weather will be and what kind of race you’re doing, so you can keep things as simple as possible and keep the focus where it needs to be: on the race.