Top 10 Checklist for a Smooth Triathlon Race Day

It’s Race Day! (Finally). You’ve trained for months in preparation for this event so you want everything to go smoothly.

Use this checklist for race morning to ensure your race execution is flawless:

1. Check the Weather

With today’s technology, you’ve probably checked the race day weather a couple of dozen times prior to race morning.  But double check it race morning. Weather changes (i.e. even fog) may require an adjustment in gear and nutrition. Don’t get caught unprepared.

2. Check Your Gear

Most athletes use a gear checklist to make sure no items are forgotten.  Whether you’re racing at home or away, use your checklist to make sure ALL your gear gets transported to the race site. Last minute runs for supplies may prematurely raise your heart rate (smile).

3. Check In with Your USAT Card

Some races will require check in prior to race day; others will require check-in race morning.  Either way, you will need to show your USAT card or pay the one-day event fee. 

4. Check Your Timing Chip

Make sure to stop by the body marking area and retrieve your timing chip.  The timing chip should be securely fastened to your left ankle.

5. Check the Transition Area

Once the race begins, you need to know where you’re going.  Take time prior to the race to determine the swim in, bike out, bike in, run out, and finish line locations.  It’s also a good idea to practice walking from the swim-in entrance to your bike rack location. 

6. Check the Brake-Release Lever

Many athletes take off their front wheel when transporting their bike.  A common mistake many athletes make is not adjusting the brake-release lever after replacing their wheel onto the bike.  Ensure this lever is in the correct position to allow for proper braking. 

7. Check the Tire Pressure

Don’t forget to check the tire pressure and add additional air if necessary.  If you didn’t bring your pump, local bike shops are usually nearby to assist with this race preparation. 

8. Check Your Nutrition

Forgetting your nutrition is a quick way to throw off your race execution plan.  Take time pre-race to set up your nutrition.  Depending on your race distance, this may consist of the bottles on your bike, additional solid food on the bike, and/or a fuel belt for the run. 

9. Check Your Devices

Whether you’re using your heart rate monitor or a speed, cadence, and power sensor on your bike, make sure all of your devices are where they need to be and calibrated prior to the race start.

10. Check the Water Temperature

Like the weather, you probably already have an estimate of the morning’s water temperature.  As the race approaches, a race official or the race director should announce the official water temperature for the race.  This will determine if the event it wetsuit legal and may determine your gear needs for the event. 

While this list is not all-inclusive for the needs of each individual athlete, it does provide a general overview of items that all triathletes should take into consideration for race morning. 

Smooth Racing!


TriDot Talks

What other items are on your race morning checklist? 


Elizabeth James is an IRONMAN, a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach, and a TriDot Coach. She made the transition from running marathons to triathlon in 2012 and has completed sprint, Olympic, 70.3, and full IRONMAN distances. She and her husband, Charles, live in Garland, Texas.

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