A Checklist for Triathlons

Just as preparing for a triathlon begins long before the day of a race, so too does creating a checklist of items you’ll need and things you’ll need to do. Getting in race shape takes more than a bike, pool and running track, and planning and tracking your progress is key to event-day success.

Plan record-keeping, as well as your equipment needs

Get the Course Information

Get a map of the courses you’ll be swimming, biking and running so you can plan your training to simulate course conditions. Learn how many turns you’ll need to take during your swim, and whether you’ll be swimming in choppy or calm conditions. Write down how many miles you’ll be running uphill, downhill and on flat terrain, and in what order. Do the same for the cycling leg of the race.

Use Tools to Tracking your Training

Keep track of your workouts to gauge what areas need work. Keep a training diary of your distances swimming, running or biking each workout, your times and your heart rates. Using this information will help you increase your minutes, hours or heart rate during later practices and help you set and keep a pace for race day.

 Buy or Borrow the Right Training Equipment

A stationary bike is effective for building cardio respiratory stamina and muscular endurance, but won’t simulate your race-day conditions. Purchase a bike stand, or trainer, so you can train using the same posture and muscular effort you will during the triathlon. Set up your bike the way you plan to ride it on race day before you begin training on it. A heart rate monitor is a valuable investment for triathletes. Basic models provide data on average heart rates, highs and lows and calories burned. More expensive models let you split your practices and store data to compare workouts. Have more than one swimsuit, cap and pair of goggles and practice in them; if you get used to one suit, cap or set of goggles and lose it or damage it, you’ll have to break in a new one. Do the same for running shoes and shorts. Train with an iPod or other music player if you plan on using one during your race.

Where to buy heart rate monitors.

 Your Race-Day Equipment

Before you leave the house, make sure you have the following: shoes, socks, cap, sunglasses, cycling and/or running shorts, shirt, swim trunks, swimming cap, goggles, nose plug, heart rate monitor, energy bars, gels or sports drink, bicycle, tire repair kit, pedal clips, fanny pack, water bottle, bug spray. Think about what you’ll be doing before and after the race and bring items you may need during those times, such as towels, money, credit cards, chairs or blankets.

Triathlon-Friendly Food and Drink

Experiment with different types of energy bars, gels and sports drinks during your training to determine which work best for you. Some may help with recovery but are more difficult to digest during activity. Some may taste better and give you an energy boost, but may be difficult to open and consume while you’re on a bike. Record your reaction to each type of food or drink you try and determine which you will use on race day.

Additional Resources

Triathlon.com: Race Day Checklist 

One Tri.com: Triathlon Checklist