Packing Your Bag for a Triathlon or Iron Man Event

TriathlonWe’re well into triathlon and Iron Man season and there are loads of races coming up this weekend, including the Wales Triathlon in Fishguard, the Cardiff Junior Triathlon and the Pembrokeshire Coast Triathlon.

Training for these events has probably taken up a lot of your time.  But, before you head off to your next race, it’s worth taking some time to make a list of what you need and then to pack your kit bag just like you would pack before going on holiday.

As there are three legs to every triathlon, then there’s a lot of stuff you will you need to participate.  And you don’t want to end up standing on the side lines after months of training only because you forgot an essential item of clothing or a key accessory.

To help you to pack your bag ahead of your next triathlon or Iron Man event, the steam at Sharks Swim & Triathlon have come up with a check list that will ensure you have everything you need to compete.  (And it’s well worth adding this list to your phone so you can cross check when you start your race day packing).

To get you started, we have two key tips:

  1. Think about what you need to pack for each leg of the race so you don’t miss out on a key item or gear
  2. Pack well in advance of race day to avoid unnecessary stress on the eve of the race or on race day morning.

Pre-race Packing

If you're traveling a distance to your race, there are a few items you might consider bringing with you.  For example, you may have a special type of oatmeal you like to eat before a race or you may prefer to hydrate ahead of the race with a particular product.

Here are some pre-race essentials to add to your smart phone list:

  • Training clothes for final workouts
  • Gear (watches, power meters)
  • Hear-rate monitor strap
  • Favourite pre-race snacks
  • Compression clothing
  • Comfortable footwear

Packing for Your Swim

For the swim you need to check the swimming conditions on race day. The biggest consideration is the temperature of the water. Do some research ahead of time to learn whether the race is historically wetsuit-legal or not, remembering that it might be a race-day call. You should always bring your wetsuit just in case, but if there is a chance that you won’t be allowed to wear it, pack a race kit that works well in the water. Better yet, pack a speed suit to wear over your kit.

It's also a good idea to pack different types of goggles with different tints. You don’t know if you'll be looking into a bright sun or overcast clouds.. Also consider packing an old t-shirt or towel to put in transition so that you can wipe any dirt or sand off your feet before starting the bike ride. While many races have sunscreen stations where you'll be able to have it applied, you may want to apply a favourite waterproof sunscreen before the swim, so you can skip that stop.

Here are the swim essentials you need to pack before your race:

  • Tri shorts and top, speed suit, or tri suit
  • 2 sets of goggles (one tinted and one lighter pair)
  • Wetsuit or swim skin
  • Body glide or lube
  • Old shirt or towel
  • Waterproof sunscreen

Packing for the bike ride

A week before your race, you need to make sure your bike is in working order by giving it a quick once-over or better yet, taking it in for a professional tune-up. Tighten any loose bolts and check the tires for any signs of cuts or nicks. Pack your tool bag with an extra tube, CO2, tire levers, and a multi-tool kit.  Pump your tires to the desired pressure the morning of the race using a floor pump and toss it in your car just in case.

When it comes to cycling equipment, variety is the spice of life as different conditions may call for different choices. For a hot day you may want to opt for a traditional well-ventilated road helmet sacrificing some aerodynamic advantage to avoid overheating. In cooler conditions, arm warmers and toe covers may be good to have. Cycling shoes and socks (if you choose to wear them) are good in all conditions as are a pair of glasses to keep the sun, bugs, and road grit out of your eyes. Equally important as equipment choice is fuel, including water bottles filled with your drink of choice and other nutrition like gels or blocks which you will be consuming on the bike.

The essential items you need to pack before the bike race are:

  • Helmet(s)
  • Cycling shoes and socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Nutrition (use ziploc bags to bring just the amount you need)
  • Seat bag and tool kit: tube, CO2, levers, multi-tool
  • Floor pump (for local races only; pump up your tires before you leave home but leave the pump in your car just in case)

Packing for the run

TriathlonRunning requires the least amount of preparation and you can save space in your bag by wearing the shoes and hat or visor you intend to race in. For longer races, many people like to use a nutrition belt with their drink of choice. Also, don't forget to pack a race belt to attach your number to.

Essentials for the run:

  • Running shoes
  • Hat/visor
  • Race belt
  • Nutrition belt, if preferred over aid stations
  • Vaseline, powder, band-aids for running sockless or post race

Sharks Swim & Triathlon

At Sharks Swim & Triathlon we stock all of the items you will require for any triathlon or Iron Man competition from wet suits and tri-suits to race and nutrition belts.  These are available from our Shop in Sketty, Swansea or from our online shop

You can download a copy of our full checklist here.

We can also help with triathlon training through our Tri-Sharks Club.  To find out more call us today on the number below:

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