A Ridiculously Comprehensive Triathlon Checklist

by - Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yesterday's Meet and Tweet event at Fitness Magazine was amazing and I'll be back with a full recap later.

Blogger girls at lunch

For right now, the biggest thing on my mind is Saturday's triathlon.

I'm trying to be super organized and make sure I have everything ready to go when it comes to gear and transitions.

To help me with that, my training buddy Zach put together a ridiculously comprehensive list of things I should remember for each part of the race. I thought I'd share because it's actually really well thought out and organized and it is helping me make sense of things.

Bike racking/Transition Setup:

  1. Rack your bike with the front wheel facing outward. During T2, rack your bike front-wheel first. Transition areas get crowded, and not having to turn your bike around saves time.
  2. Check the air in your tires. Inflate them if needed.
  3. Put your [brightly-colored and easy to spot] transition mat on your dominant side. I went to Walmart and bought $3 worth of very obnoxious neon yellow felt. You can see it from space.
  4. Rack your bike in the proper gear to pedal when starting at the "bike mount" line.
  5. I put some baby powder in my shoes and a little Body Glide on the outer edges of my shoes (since I won't be wearing socks)(Note from Jess: I will be wearing socks).
  6. Make sure everything that needs to go with you on the bike is attached to the bike (water bottles in cages, nutrition stored, co2/Vittoria/tire levers/spare tube/patches in bag, helmet and sunglasses on handlebars, race belt looped over seat).
  7. Put your gloves/shoes/socks/beloved Garmin at the edge of your mat.
  8. Everything you need for the run (shoes, nutrition, water bottle, hat) and anything else you might need should be neatly laid out on your mat.
  9. Put an open bottle of water on your mat. You'll use it later on to rinse off your feet.
  10. At least once, start at the entrance of T1 and walk/jog to your bike. Make sure you know how many rows you pass before you get to your row, and how far in your bike is. I usually think of it as rows and columns.
  11. Grab your goggles, wetsuit, and swim cap. Take everything else out of transition.


Getting ready for my first open water swim

  1. Safety pin your chip strap. This way it can't be ripped off during any swim contact.
  2. Put your goggles on before your swim cap. Again, less chance you'll lose them if someone kicks you.
  3. If you're putting on sunscreen, do it after you've been body marked.
  4. Leave ample time to get into the wetsuit, but don't change so early that you're taking it off again to go to the bathroom.
  5. TriSlide spray is a lifesaver when it comes to reducing chafing and making the wetsuit easier to get on and off.

Swim to bike (T-1):


  1. Unzip the back of your wetsuit while running into transition.
  2. Before pulling your arms out, take off your swim cap and goggles. While you're pulling your arm through, let them go. They'll store themselves nicely in your wetsuit sleeve.
  3. First things first: lose the wetsuit (don't worry about folding it, but make sure it's contained in your area).
  4. Sunglasses, then helmet. (Having the sunglasses under the helmet straps means you don't have to take them off when removing the helmet off in T-2).
  5. Race belt/bib (different races have different rules. Some don't require you to wear your race bib on the bike).
  6. Rinse your feet using the open water bottle you stashed while racking. You want to get rid of anything your wet feet picked up during the run into transition.
  7. Socks/Shoes/Gloves/Garmin (In a short race, some people don't bother with socks or bike gloves. It can take a while to get dry socks on wet feet. If you're using clipless pedals, you can save time by having the shoes clipped/rubber banded in position on the bike.)
  8. Make sure everything is contained within your transition area.
  9. Grab your bike and run to "Bike Out."
  10. Get on your bike only after having passed the "mount" line.

Bike to run:

Two totally pain free miles in my brand new @MizunoRunning Wave Inspires! #proof #fitfluential

  1. Make sure you're off your bike before crossing the "dismount" line.
  2. Run back to your area, and re-rack your bike.
  3. Take off your helmet/gloves (if you wore them), put on your hat/visor (if you wear one).
  4. Grab your water bottle or Fuelbelt and any nutrition you're taking during the run.
  5. Run to "Run Out."
So what's missing from this list? Anything? Ahhhhh I can't believe my tri is in two days!!!

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