I can’t believe it – TWO WEEKS UNTIL MY FIRST IRONMAN! It still doesn’t seem real! Today, I met up with my group for a swim and recovery ride and it was the first time that I started to hit me – it’s time.
I started this journey really not knowing ANYTHING about triathlons. From barely being able to swim eight laps to being nervous for my first clip-in, group ride, the past year has taught me so much. But before I get to that blog post, I wanted to share some of the race day triathlon tips that I’ve learned. Throughout the week I’ll be sharing pre-race, swim, bike and run tips.
This doesn’t include fueling and there’s so much more that I have left to learn, but hopefully there are a few nuggets in here for you.
Get up early and eat.
My body likes to get up early enough to ensure that I’m not rushed. I get up and eat first thing. Eat the same thing you’ve eaten on training. Don’t try anything new. I eat two English muffins with a light PB&J spread.
Eating early gives me enough time to get the GI system flowing, and, um, ensure that you do your business fully before race start. I hop in the shower just to wake up, but skip washing your hair or getting gorgeous – not necessary. Do a double check on all your gear and triple check your packing list (highly recommended).
Have a really good Sherpa that gets you there early.
I’m lucky enough to having an amazing race Sherpa that will drive me to the race start while I sleep, or listen to be blab on and on about anything race-related.
Make sure you get to the race at least an hour and a half before race start. You never know what traffic or parking issues you may have.
Prep for your gear for the race.
When you arrive. Go to the bathroom. Now. Get it out of the way before the line gets too long. You can go again later if you need to.
Time to prep the first transition area, also known as T1. Don’t be fooled by the ridiculous amount of crap people have at T1 – you don’t need it!
Rack your bike by the seat with the handlebars pointing towards you. Put your helmet on the aerobars, helmet strap undone, upside down with your sunglasses in them.
Make sure your tires are pumped to the appropriate PSIs and that your bike already has your water bottles fully loaded on your bike and your bento box full with whatever fuel you’ll need.
I then lay out a small towel and put all my transition stuff on it. This is my zone. For T1, make sure your shoes are unvelcroed (or opened, however your shoes work), socks (if you choose to use them – shorter tris, no.), gloves (I later learned that people don’t usually wear gloves) and any weather appropriate gear (e.g. armwarmers) are laid out. Use your towel to wipe off your feet in T1, you can also bring a small water bottle to rinse off your feet if you need to.
For T2, make sure your running shoes are either unlaced or you are using Yanks. I admit that I haven’t used Yanks yet, but I need to. Add a visor and your set for T2 set-up. If you need sunscreen, chapstick, or anything else, lay them out here, but you really don’t need much.
Note: Bitches be crazy during transition, so make sure you take inventory of your stuff. I’ve found some of my things a few feet away of where I originally put it. If you run up to T1 to see your stuff is not where you originally put it, stay calm and look in a three feet perimeter around your stuff.
Go to the bathroom again if you can.
If you weren’t able to scope of the transitions the prior day, make sure you familiarize yourself with how you will be entering and exiting T1 and T2. Or you can run around looking like an idiot like I did.
Get suited up and watch check.
Time to get it your wetsuit. Make sure to lube up well! Get it on your ankles, wrists neck and anywhere you might experience some chafing. Don’t be afraid to put a lot on, it will also help you take the suit off.
Power-up your watch, get the signal and make sure you’re in triathlon mode, ready to go.
Prep your mind for the race.
Now that you’ve arrived at the race, you’ll be overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of “parking lot intimidation.” Extremely fit looking people doing warm-up jogs, strange stretches or babbling on about PRs/why they’re taking this race “easy.” Whatever. This is YOUR race. Try not to look around and compare yourself to anyone. Focus on what you need to do out there and then get after it.
Say your thank yous.
Make sure to make time to tell your family and friends just how much you appreciate them coming out to your race and pose for a lot of photos with them. You’ll be glad you did later.
Ahhhh, I’m tearing up now as I just start to write about my triathlon journey. I need to go before my tears make my keyboard glitch.
What are your pre-race triathlon or running tips?
Next up: the swim!