Your first Triathlon Race day prep.
Your first Triathlon Race day prep.

Your first Triathlon Race day prep.

After weeks and months of training, you want to make sure your race day goes well so take some time to think about the day and prepare for each step in advance. That means getting your equipment sorted, knowing where you need to be and when plus eating and drinking right before and during the event.

All that’s left then is to enjoy race day and start planning your next triathlon!

Pre Race planning

When you sign up for your race, you need to think about what you need to enter and how you are going to get to the event. Do you need a race licence? Is your equipment working and do you have everything you need? There are two things you need to review in advance of the race.

Race briefing

The race briefing is produced by the race organisers and details the timings and rules which you need to abide by for the day. Sometimes the final document will not be available until late, but the majority of the relevant information will be on the race organisers website, so check this out in advance.

The key things to check out are:

  • What documentation do you need to bring with you in order to register? Does your national Triathlon body require you to get a race licence and if so, where can you get one? This will generally be available on their website, and some major bodies are linked here. There are usually two options, a one day licence and a full season licence so get the one that makes the most sense based on the number of races you expect to do in the year.
  • Where and when is registration? You need to sign up either on the day or the day before and sign the relevant waivers, collect your race numbers, bike stickers, race hat and timing chip, so make sure you know where and when this is, and build your travel plans around this.
  • Where is the race parking and transition? Parking may be a couple of miles from the event transition, and you need to factor in how long it will take and how you are going to carry all of your equipment.
  • Specific race rules. This tends to relate to the bike or wetsuit, but check all rules just in case.
  • When Transition Closes. Forget the race start time, this is your deadline! If you have not racked your bike and set out your equipment and left transition will everything you need for the swim, you may not get to race, so make sure you are ready well in advance.

Race day equipment checklist

Triathlons require a lot of essential and optional equipment and kit, so having a good checklist, excellent packing skills and a suitable bag or box to take to transition is essential. Find out all that you will need here.

Fueling your body

A triathlon is a long, hard event and it’s very likely that you will use up all of the stored energy in your body well before the end of the race if you don’t fuel appropriately. You need to test out your fueling well in advance of the race, so you need to understand how you use the body’s fuel, how to top it up and when. Find out more here.

There is no point in reviewing the checklist on the day of the race and find out you’re out of wetsuit lube! Check in advance and make sure you have the time to restock on gels and BodyGlide and that your bike and equipment are in full working order. Don’t forget the suntan lotion as well!


Each participant in a triathlon has a unique number and you will be given a pack of stickers as part of your registration. Usually, there are instructions on how to put these on, but if you check with the marshals, they are there to help.

Generally, there are stickers for your Bike, the front and/or sides of your helmet, Your triathlon bag or luggage that you are leaving in the bag drop, and your race number. Sometimes this will come with holes for a race belt, but if not, you can usually pierce it with your keys. These need to be put on before your race, and often the marshals will ask you to prove that you have the same race number as the bike you are taking out of transition after the race to avoid theft.

Some races also use transfers that stick to the skin, just like tattoos for kids! Just get the backing paper wet and the numbers should slide off.

Warm up

The warm-up serves two purposes.

Firstly it wakes your muscles up, engages muscles memory and starts the blood flowing to the relevant muscles in advance of the main effort of the race, ensuring you start fast and efficiently.

Secondly, it lets you burn off the nervous energy that has been building up in anticipation of the race.

Warming up for three events can be difficult, especially if you can’t get into the water to warm up for the swim so here are some warm-up routines you can do in advance of the race.