Every triathlon race is different.
There is also a lot of kit and equipment involved, you have to look after yourself and you only get one go at getting it right. Luckily there are many of Club members who regularly race and who can give you some hints & tips for racing, and can help you out if you are in a muddle on race day. The key point is that preparation is really important.
Things to do in the days beforehand
Make sure that you know:
- Where the event is
- How long it will take to get there (include car parking time)
- What time you have to register
- What time transition(s) set-up close
- What time your race starts
- The weather forecast
- What you will do with your glasses, if you need to wear them to see! (You could have a spare pair in transition so you can give your normal pair to your parent just before your race start, or you could ask a swim marshal to hold them and collect them on your way to transition)
- What will you do with any medication during the race – e.g. an inhaler, do you need to carry it with you and where will you put it
Check that all of your kit and equipment is ready and plan how you will lay out your transition kit.
- Bike (is everything in working order – do an M-check and a quick test ride to check gear changes etc)
- shoes (running shoes, cycling shoes, elastic laces or toggles)
- goggles & swim hat
- race clothes – swimming costume, tri-suit, T-shirt, race belt, sunglasses…
- towels, talcum powder (to put in your shoes)
- drink bottle
- spare glasses
- medicine – e.g. inhaler
You may wish to download our Race Day Kit Checklist from our Resources section.
If you only discover that something is missing the evening before the race, that’s too late to do anything about it. You should also make sure you have suitable clothes for while you wait to race – e.g. wear a raincoat to keep warm and dry if rain is forecast.
Here are a few things that it’s a good idea to have with you – safety pins, elastic bands, insulating tape, spare inner tube & tyre levers, bike tools, bike pump, spare goggles, spare swim hat, toilet roll.
The day before the race
One important factor in racing well is having plenty of energy. Energy comes from food and used during exercise and activity. There is no need to eat loads and loads before a race as most children’s races are over reasonably quickly, but conserving energy by taking things fairly easily and eating good quality food is a good idea. Good quality food is carbohydrate – like pasta or rice; vegetables; and protein like meat or fish. It’s best to avoid fatty and sugary snacks like crisps, cakes, chips, burgers, sweets and chocolates. The best thing to drink is water – you need to stay well hydrated, especially if warm sunny weather is forecast. Most races start quite early in the morning so staying up late the night before isn’t a great idea.
Race day – fueling
Racing on a full stomach is likely to make you feel sick. Racing without any breakfast is also likely to make you feel sick. The answer is to eat a sensible breakfast on the morning of the race, something like cereal & toast, ideally at least a couple of hours before racing. Besides ensuring that you have some energy and that you have digested your food properly prior to racing, this also means that you are wide awake, fully alert and don’t feel as though you have just got out of bed by the time you race. On occasion you may have to register early in the morning and then wait several hours before racing. We suggest you stop eating around 1 to 1.5 hours before your race and to keep it to light nutritious snacks, like a sandwich, a muesli bar or a banana. It’s also sensible to keep drinking up to the start of the race, though don’t drink a massive bottle of water just prior to the race – it will be sloshing around in your stomach and make you feel unwell.
When you get to the race
The four important things to do when you get to the race are:
- Register, collect your race numbers, timing chip (if provided) and find out if there is any new information
- Set up your transition(s)
- Check the course – many races allow you to walk the course before racing begins
- Make sure you know the required distances/laps for each part of your race
- Warm up
- Attend the Race Briefing
If your planning was good, you’ll have plenty of time for all of these. Remember that queuing for registration and toilets can use up a lot of pre-race time.
After the race
The most important things to do after the race are to get dry, keep warm and to re-hydrate. This is also a good time for a sugary snack. You should also congratulate yourself on your efforts. Well done!