I’m back with a continuation of my tips for your first triathlon, and today’s post is all about race day tips.
It’s definitely nerve-racking doing your first triathlon because there are so many moving pieces… setting up your transition area, making sure all of your gear is good to go, competing in 3 different sports, etc. I think anyone who looks back on their first tri can tell you that the first one is definitely a learning experience! Here are a few tips for race day:
Scope out the area in advance
If possible, try to visit the course before the triathlon or at least the general area. My first triathlon was on a campus with a gated entrance, but driving there at least made me feel comfortable with getting there reaalllllllly early in the morning the next day.
Pick up your packet beforehand
I’m not sure how every race is, but we had the option of picking up our race packet the day before the race or the morning of. I would highly recommend picking the packet up in advance if possible for a couple of reasons. One is that you will have all of your things ready to go the morning of the race, like putting your bibs on your bike and race belt. Another reason is to save time on the morning of the race and have one less thing to do that morning. Lastly, picking up my packet the day before really calmed my nerves because I got to see other people who would be racing. A lot of the ladies were talking about how it was their first triathlon as well and it just made me feel better.
Get there early
I would recommend getting there early to be able to have plenty of time to set up your transition area. There are 6 bikes per rack, and I was glad I was able to be at the end of a rack. I felt like I might have had a bit more space compared to those in the middle.
Don’t keep your extra goggles in the transition area
So one tip everyone gave me was to bring an extra set of goggles in case the strap of mine broke. I did, and they were in my bag in the transition area. A girl in my age group actually had her goggles break before the swim, and I couldn’t give her my extra pair because we weren’t allowed back in the transition area after a certain time. I felt so bad for her. I wish I had given my extra pair of goggles to a spectator or kept them on me until the race started.
Bring something to use to clean off your feet
If you do an open water swim then your feet will have dirt and maybe sand on them as you’re transitioning from swim to bike. Be sure you have something to use to clean them off before you put on your cycling shoes. I brought a water bottle and extra small towel. I saw some people with buckets of water that they quickly stood in to rinse them off. I personally thought the buckets were overkill because they took up so much space in the transition area, but I know it’s a common thing to use.
Figure out your hair situation
Sooooo when I finished the swim and went to the cycling, my hair was not a big deal because I just threw on my helmet. But after the bike, my hair was in a wet, frizzy bun on the nape of my neck and I knew I couldn’t run like that. I wasted transition time re-doing my hair and I wish I had thought about that prior to the race. Next time I will probably wear my hair in a french braid.
Just wanted to throw this in there because competing in a triathlon is kind of badass and you should definitely celebrate and enjoy the day!
Here are a few other triathlon-related posts in case you missed them:
What are your favorite race day tips for a triathlon or any other types of races?
Have you ever had a snafu during your race like breaking your goggles? I remember once on swim team when my goggles broke right as I was diving into the water.