Fail to prepare and what do you expect?
There’s no two ways about it, your middle distance (half Iron / 70.3) race day is 100% dependent on the amount of training you have put in over the past year AND the amount of organisation you put in your readiness in the days leading up to the event.
Taper week is all about checking things. Checking the legs, the body, the nutrition, the bike, the gear.
The obvious thing to say at this point is don’t change anything, do nothing new or unexpected in the week before a race and definitely don’t try anything new in the event itself!
So how do you organise yourself for race day?
You need a spare room or somewhere you can lay out all your gear in an orderly fashion so you can pack it in a logical manner and keep track of it all. you will also need a couple of transparent storage containers and a bag or box for your transition setup.
I’m going to break this into a couple of sub sections so we approach this planning properly. Ideally you are doing this a few days before hand, not the evening before when you should have your feet up.
- General Preparation –
- Assuming you are racing in a one or two piece tri-suit, bring that. If you are using sport specific clothing ensure you pack it ie. swimsuit, cycle shorts & jersey, run shorts & singlet.
- Ladies – the only essential I can think of outside of this list is a bra, I’m happy to edit in whatever you think is necessary. Use whatever bra you have used in training knowing that it won’t cut, chaffe or fall off.
- Bodyglide. Don’t ever forget the Bodyglide!!
- Heart rate monitor, watch and accessories. Bring these IF and only if you have used them in training, know how to use them and are also confident racing in the event that they fail to work mid race. Do not be dependent on them. Ensure batteries are fresh and memory is empty.
- Post race clothing – pack a tracksuit, hoody and rain cover in your transition bag / box. You may be hanging around waiting for transition to open after the race so warm clothes are needed until you get a chance to shower and change properly.
- Compression wear – calf guards, quad guards, recovery leggings etc.
- Safety pins
- Swim –
- Wetsuit – visual check for damage, nicks, cuts, nail marks and repair any with Black Witch or equivalent in
- Neoprene swim hat
- Silicon swim hat (spare)
- Goggles (spare) possibly clear lens / opposite tint to main pair, handy for changing conditions or parts if a strap breaks)
- Suit juice
- Anti-fog solution
- Flip flops or sandals
- Bike –
- Clean and visually check the bike from top to bottom. Check tyres for wear and any embedded debris. Do not race on new tyres, ensure they have been run in a few times prior & make sure you are comfortable with the handling of the tyres at race speed in different weather conditions. Same applies to brake blocks and cables. Make sure if you have replaced any that they are working fine. Don’t leave it til race day to find out brakes levers are sticking!
- Cycle shoes
- Elastic bands
- Head unit / computer with battery and clear memory!
- Calibrated power units.
- Spare tubes / tubs (know how to change these!!)
- Tyre levers
- CO2 canisters / pump
- Bad weather gear –
- Overshoes / toe covers
- Rain jacket
- Arm warmers
- Leg warmers
- Clear lens glasses
- Water bottles
- Aero bottle, straw & sponge
- Race wheels (hopefully you also have your normal wheels just in case of dangerous wind conditions)
- In transition final checks
- Track pump
- Tool kit
- Electrical tape
- Valve stem extenders (you’ll know if you need these)
- Other optional items (kitchen sink stuff)
- Maintenance stand
- Turbo trainer for in-van warmup
- Run – this is the easiest section
- Running shoes
- Speed laces (Greeper are my favourite see my previous post on Race Laces)
- Socks (might be the same ones as used on the bike, bring spare in case of weather)
- Talcum powder
- Fuel belt / pouch
- Cap / headband etc.
- Nutrition – I’m being deliberately vague here as you should have this all sorted out to suit your individual nutritional needs. I don’t want to confuse people with my nutrition plans or to have others confusing mine!
- Pre race snacks & drinks.
- Pre swim gel
- Bike – gels, bars, drinks (water, 4:1, sports drinks)
- Run – gels or whatever you run with that is not provided at water stations.
- Post race recovery drink & snacks, protein & carbohydrates.
Above all, don’t forget to pack your spirit of adventure, your enthusiasm for the competition (even if it is just with yourself) and your sense of fun.
It may all go pear-shaped on the day but as long as you enjoy yourself you will always pick it back up again for the next race.
I hope this is of some benefit to you.
See you out there 🙂
Friday evening EDIT: Two things I can’t believe I forgot to add:
- Your governing body (in my case Triahtlon Ireland) valid membership with photograph. No ID, no race!!
- Leave wedding bands, engagement rings, jewellery etc at home. Swimming in a cold lake this afternoon I spent the whole swim trying to keep my wedding band on my finger. Everything shrunk in the cold 😉