Triathlon Checklist: 101 Items to Remember For Race Day

Triathlon Checklist

You’ve done the work, now make sure you don’t let a simple mistake on race day ruin the fun. This triathlon checklist can help you avoid forgetting small things that can ruin your race!

To help you stay organized and minimize stress, we’ve compiled a comprehensive triathlon checklist covering everything you need to know and do before, during, and after the race. First-timers may find this especially helpful.

Pre-Race Preparation:

1. Registration and Race Confirmation

  • Confirm your race registration and double-check all event details
  • Review the race rules and guidelines

2. Training and Fitness

  • Ensure you’ve completed adequate training in swimming, cycling, and running
  • Practice transitioning between disciplines to improve your race-day efficiency

3. Gear and Equipment Triathlon Checklist

  • Clothing:
    • Race day kit
    • Arm warmers (if needed)
    • Cycling jacket (if needed)
  • Nutrition:
    • Gels (if needed)
    • Energy bars (if needed)
  • Swim: (see open water swim gear)
    • Swimsuit
    • Goggles (see our list of the best triathlon goggles)
    • Swim cap (bright color if provided)
    • Timing chip (if provided)
    • Flip flops (to wear race morning if a lot of walking is necessary)
    • Wetsuit (if needed) (see our list of the best triathlon wetsuits)
  • Bike:
    • Well-maintained triathlon or road bike. Go on a bike ride to verify everything is functioning as it should.
    • Helmet (mandatory)
    • Sunglasses
    • Bike shoes
    • Bike socks (if needed)
    • Heart rate monitor (if needed)
    • Water bottle(s)
    • Chamois cream (if needed to prevent chafing)
    • Bike tools and spare tubes
    • Pump
    • CO2 cartridges (if needed)
    • Affix race numbers to bike and helmet (if required and if race packet is already picked up)
  • Run:
    • Running shoes
    • Running socks (if needed)
    • Race belt (for attaching your bib race number)
    • Hat or visor
    • Sunglasses

4. Transition Gear

  • Transition bag or backpack to organize your gear
  • Towel for drying off and wiping feet
  • Sunscreen
  • Energy gels or snacks
  • Spare clothing for after the race

5. Nutrition and Hydration

  • Create a nutrition plan for race day
  • Pre-race meal planning (carbohydrates, lean protein)
  • Hydration strategy for the days leading up to the race

6. Course Familiarization

  • Study the race course maps
  • Know the location of transition areas
  • Identify aid stations and their offerings

Race Day:

triathlon checklist - transition area
Arrive early to get a good spot and set up your transition area

7. Early Start

  • Use the bathroom. A few times.
  • Leave home early to arrive at the race venue with ample time for parking, check-in, and setup
  • Follow the race day event schedule

8. Check-In

  • Collect your race packet, timing chip, and any last-minute instructions
  • Attach your timing chip to your left ankle (if not provided before)

9. Transition Setup

  • Organize your gear in the transition area
  • Lay out your equipment in a logical order for quick transitions
  • Inflate bike tires to the desired pressure
  • Make sure bike shoes click in and out of the pedals easily (if using)
  • Affix race numbers to bike and helmet (if required)
  • Affix race number to race belt

10. Warm-Up

  • Perform a brief warm-up routine to prepare your muscles for the race
  • If I’m going to wear a swim cap, I wait until about 3 minutes before my start in order to avoid the “pinch headache” I get
  • Try to relax

11. Race Start

  • Listen to pre-race instructions and follow any safety guidelines
  • Position yourself correctly in the starting area
  • Start slow to avoid blowing up

12. During the Race

  • Pace yourself and stick to your race plan. Estimate your race finishing time.
  • Stay hydrated and fueled according to your nutrition strategy
  • Focus on smooth transitions between disciplines

13. Post-Race Recovery

  • Celebrate your achievement!
  • Rehydrate and refuel with a balanced post-race meal
  • Reflect on your performance and areas for improvement

After the Race:

14. Gear Cleanup

  • Rinse and clean your gear, especially your bike and wetsuit
  • Check for any maintenance or repair needs

15. Recovery

  • Rest and recover to allow your body to heal and rejuvenate
  • Consider a post-race massage or gentle stretching
  • Lace-up your running shoes and go for a light jog after a day or two rest

16. Evaluate Your Performance

  • Review your race data (time, splits, transitions)
  • Set goals for your next triathlon

17. Plan Future Races

  • Research and select your next triathlon event
  • Update your training plan based on your race experience

Let us know if we forgot anything!

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