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F4L’s Triathlon Race Day Tips

Posted on Posted in Triathlon Racing

Race dayIn Australia the race season is about to start... in Western Australia its starts this weekend.  Its been a while for most athletes racing so I thought I would share an article about race day which I originally wrote a while ago.  Its applicable across most variations of Triathlon and Multisport.

When I turn up at a race, any race, I'm nervous. I've been taking part in and coaching Triathlon for over twenty years and I still get nervous. That's a good thing! It means I care about what's about to happen... it means I care if I have a good or bad race... but it also means you can make very simple mistakes.  Being honest, I get even more nervous as a coach!!

F4L Triathlon Team athletes go to every race venue with a plan... its not rocket science... its not a complicated plan but its a plan. Keep it simple...

There is no excuse to forget your equipment - especially with a pre-race checklist.  Below is one I use, and one I provide for athletes.


Coach’s Race Day Tips: 

  1. Before you do anything else, get registered.
  2. You may need body marking too... that will either be at registration or somewhere specific.
  3. Once you have registered, sort your bike out. Put it together, check everything is working. Pump your tyres up.
  4. Put your bottles on the bike.
  5. Put any numbers required for the race on now too.
  6. Helmet - apply any numbers and check the straps
  7. Some people like to go for a short spin at this point (its not always practical but a 10min spin is a good way to check the velocipede).
  8. Go and set up transition...
  9. Rack bike, helmet on bars or neatly on floor, sunglasses in helmet
  10. Number belt (with number pinned to it!) if not wearing it under your wetsuit
  11. Bike shoes - either fastened to bike (IF YOU HAVE NOT PRACTICED THIS DO NOT DO IT IN THE RACE FOR THE FIRST TIME!) or neatly next to your bike.
  12. Talc inside the shoes
  13. Little bit of vaseline on the heel
  14. Run shoes - neatly behind your bike shoes
  15. Talc inside the shoes
  16. Little bit of vaseline on the heel
  17. Make sure you leave them so you can get your foot in.

Race dayTransition set up done.

Get out of there, don't hang around in transition. Now...

1. Warm up as best you can. Every race is different but if you can’t ride a bike warm-up then you should do a short run warm-up and a few easy run activation exercises before the race - maybe 30min before your wave. For the swim you can bring some stretch cords and do a few minutes of easy pulling to get your swim muscles activated or lots of arms swinging - a good 10mins before your swim.

2. Dial in your pre-race nutrition. Typically I would sip on water and/or sports drink up until 1 hour before your race starts. I also suggest taking in a gel a few minutes before your wave starts as well.

3. Start your swim off right. BUILD into the swim rather than trying to go flat out at the beginning. Leave the super fast starts to the elite age groupers and pros! Sight often and stay on course. Better to go straight and go a little slower vs. going fast and swimming off-course.

4. Get settled into the bike section. Ride at your pace. Don't get sucked in to 'racing' the faster cyclists. Leave them alone, you do your thing... however, be aware of other athletes on the road. Break the bike section down into smaller chunks... if its laps then count laps... if its 56miles then its 4x 14miles etc.

5. Pace the run.

6. Enjoy it. Most people taking part in Triathlon do it as a hobby. Therefore we need to enjoy what we do. Smile... wave... high 5 friends...

Be nervous... that's good... don't be scared... it is just a swim, bike and run with a number on.

By Paul Jones

If you would like to train with F4L Triathlon Coaching - Our Squad Sessions are delivered in a friendly, social environment under the guidance of British Triathlon Level 3 Head Coach, Paul Jones.  F4L Triathlon Coaching delivers these Triathlon Training Sessions primarily in the Perth Hills area, making use of some fantastic facilities for Triathlon.  Paul ensures a friendly relaxed environment to help get the best out of athletes.  There are many opportunities to mingle with other like-minded athletes at coffee after training or through our regular F4L Team social get-togethers.

CLICK HERE to see our squad sessions which are open to triathletes on a casual basis.


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