What do I bring to my triathlon, coach?
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get as a coach. The answer can be customized to the race, athlete and duration. But pretty much no matter if you’re doing an indoor sprint triathlon or an Ironman there is the standard gear you need to ensure you have a worry-free race.
The keys to a good gear list are these three things:
You want to bring anything that makes you feel comfortable, fueled and happy. This includes blankies, old race shirts, your favorite food whatever. Anything that will lessen your anxiety level stuff it in your pocket and hit the ground running.
Here’s a Gear Check List broken down by distance.
INDOOR SPRINT TRIATHLON
- Swimsuit/Tri-suit (I recommend a swim suit for an indoor triathlon because you will have time to change usually about 10 min. It adds comfort to be able to change into biking and running clothes.)
- Swim cap
- Flip flops
- Towel (hand and full towel – use hand towel for bike and run if you sweat a lot or to wipe your feet if you don’t)
- Bike pants/shirt for bike and run
- Sports bra
- underwear for bike and run
- Running shoes
- T-shirt/pants/shorts for after the triathlon
- Gels and any nutrition that you feel like you’d like to eat during the bike
- Digital watch
- Water bottle
- Running hat
OUTDOOR SPRINT TRI
All of the above plus:
- Wetsuit if needed
- Extra pair goggles
- Helmet – can’t leave home without it.
- Pre-race/after-race fuel – peanut butter, bannana yogurt – whatever makes you feel good
- Race belt – If you don’t have one get one. It will eliminate that “Oh Sh*t!” moment when you hop off your bike and go running to the finish line only to see you don’t have your race number pinned on. TRUST ME!!!
- Bike repair kit – just a couple of tools you can use if you get a flat
- CO2 cartridges – this is a one shot and you’re tire is inflated deal. This is a time saver for sure.
- Sunscreen – yep Ebony Mermaids need this as well
- BodyGlide – this is a non-chafing agent…water, sun and sweat can make for some miserable skin. Glide helps things not get rough in sensitive places.
- Favorite relaxing music or pumped up music anything you need to let you stay loose and calm before the swim!
- Race swim cap (don’t leave home without it)
- Timing chip (You don’t want to do all this and not get a time right???) TIP: Strap the timing chip to your ankle as soon as you wake up in the morning. Don’t wait until you’re at the race site to do it.
WHAT YOU DON’T NEED
A bike pump – there are almost, always enough on hand
A lot of other crap
On race day you want to KISS!
Everything above plus:
- Spare tire – could come in handy
- More bike tools – the longer the distance the better the chance of doing something wrong
- Bike gloves – helps prevents callouses
- Bike shoes
- Here a Trisuit works well to swim, bike and run in. TIP: Get a 2-piece, better freedom to do what’s natural and no hang up at the Port-a-Potty
- Fuel belt – this is a belt that can hold liquids and gels and small eats which allow you to zoom through aid stations with abandon.
Here is where the Gear Gods get fat and happy. A Half-Ironman (1.2 mile-swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run) can take anywhere from 4 hours if you planning on winning to 8 hours if you’re like me. (Hoping to break 6 hours this year!)
So you people think you need a full day’s gear for a full day’s work. But I’m a minimalist so whatever you can do to minimize your gear on race day it’s important to do that. So you’ll need all of the above plus:
- Tribag – this is to keep all your stuff neatly arranged while you’re not using it in transition
- Tri-mat – lay this down near your bike and your swim feet will thank you.
- Warm/Rainy/Cold Gear- It’s a longish day so the weather may change you might want to prepare for it.
- Bike cover – chances are you’ll have to rack your bike overnight so if rain is in the forecast think about a bike cover.
- Bento Box – this is a handy fuel carrier that sits on your bike and allows you to easily munch while you’re riding. You can stuff gels, salt pills, heck even PB&J sandwiches.
- Salt pills – if you sweat you might need these…they help replenish all the sodium you’re losing when you’re working out there.
- Electrolyte replacement powered drink – This is fuel. It replaces potassium, sodium and magnesium the three electrolytes you lose the most of when during endurance exercises. At this point gels won’t cut it for anything longer than 2 hours of competition. There are a lot of brands on the market but I’ve like and use ClifShot and Scratch.
This is where the getting gets good on gear. From on-bike hydration systems, to HR monitors to fuel belts Ironman is all about the gear to keep you going for up to 17 hours. Most of that includes your fueling. Key things about Ironman you need to know:
- You’ll get individual bags for the Swim, Bike and Run. These are bags that you put your gear in for each race. You will have to drop off these bags in ADVANCE of race day to an appointed location so it’s VERY IMPORTANT to pack these bags prior to race day. Also it’s a good idea to make a gear check list for EACH BAG. It is not unheard of to forget something critical and not have it for race day. Just ask my girl Jessica who ended up biking 112 miles barefoot because she forgot to pack her bike shoes in her Bike bag. (Talk about bad azz! But you don’t want to HAVE TO bad azz. So PACK YOUR SHOES!!)
- You will also get SPECIAL NEEDS bags for each leg of the race. This is where you put extra fuel, sunblock, contact solution, lotion, new shirts, throwaway gear extra shoes, clothes, etc., anything you may need when swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 and running a marathon. It is pretty much guaranteed you won’t see this stuff again so don’t pack your long lost diamond or that special race day shirt you wore at your Olympic trials. Mostly just pack food and get a favorite food for your run bag. YOU’RE GOING TO NEED IT!
Well that’s about it. What about you? Any special gear you pack for race day?