The Beginner Triathlete’s Race Day Checklist

the beginner triathlete's race day checklist

We here at Two Tri want your first triathlon to be a great experience and so we hope that our checklist will help calm your nerves as you rest assured that you have packed everything you need to have an amazing first triathlon!

Click here for a Printable Race Day Checklist!

Triathlon Swim

Swimsuit– For gals, a two piece sports swim suit is ideal because the swim top can double as a sports bra. For guys, a pair of jammers, or thigh length swim shorts work well because they double as bike shorts.

Wetsuit– You may or may not need a wetsuit, but if you do, make sure you practice taking it off. You should start unzipping it and taking the top off as you run to your transition area. Just be careful you don’t fall!

Body glide– This little wonder of a product is totally not necessary, but is really helpful, especially if you experience chaffing. Smear some on your ankles {or thighs, depending on your wetsuit size} and your wetsuit will come off much easier. This stuff is great to put anywhere you experience uncomfortable chaffing. Vaseline also does the trick.

Goggles, Swim cap and Ear plugs– The first two are self explanatory, but it’s always a good idea to bring an extra pair of goggles, just in case. You will probably receive your color coded swim cap when you register that morning. Ear plugs are a life saver. Nothing is more annoying then having water in your ear as you bike and run. Nip it in the bud and try some ear plugs.

Brightly colored towels– Here’s a little strategy of mine…. I look for the brightest colored towel I can find so that my transition area stands out and is easy to locate. {Try orange or bright yellow.} The large towel is spread out on the ground and that’s where you put your gear. The smaller towel is to dry your feet before you put on your socks.

Triathlon Bike

Bike– Obviously.

Spare inner tube– You probably won’t get a flat tire during the race, but for peace of mind, stick one in your bike bag.

Small air pump and CO2 cartridge– You can usually find a small hand pump that will attach neatly to the frame of your bike. However, a faster option is a CO2 cartridge that blows up your tire in one press of a button. Make sure you check your tires one last time before the race and fill up if they need air.

Bike bag with tools and tire lever– Just in case you get a flat tire. Click here to learn how to change a flat tire.

Clothing– Bike shoes or sneakers, shirt, shorts and socks.

Helmet– Don’t leave home without it! {tip- turn your helmet upside down and place it on top of your handle bars or next to your bike. Once it’s on your head, clip the chin strap immediately.}

Water bottles– You might not feel thirsty after the swim, but it’s important to fill up your bike water bottles, especially since it’s hard to stop at a water station when you’re biking. It’s also a good idea to have an extra water bottle to rinse off your feet after the run from the swim to the transition area.

Sunglasses– Most triathlons are held in the morning when the sun glare can be quite intense, so don’t forget your shades!

Triathlon Run

Sneakers and extra socks– The socks you wore to bike might be sweaty or a little damp, so bring an extra pair!

Hat– Opt for a lighter colored hat to avoid overheating. Also a hat hides swim cap and helmet hair. We gotta look our best, right ladies?!

iPod– Some races will allow iPods, some won’t. If your’s does, make a special race day playlist! Check out my playlist here. On the other hand, race day is the one day I don’t mind running without music because I’d rather listen to my fans cheering for me!

Triathlon Extras

Energy bar– Take a bite of an energy bar while your in the transition area for a burst of energy. We like Lara bars and Bonk Bars because they are all natural and don’t taste chalky… especially when your mouth is dry.

Sports drink– Chances are you will work up a sweat during the race. When you sweat, you loose electrolytes. Take a gulp of your favorite sports drink to replenish what you’re sweating out. The burst of sugar will also give you a burst of energy.

Timing chip and Race number– If your registration expo is before the race, then just leave your packet in your car or be sure and pack your timing chip and number. you will have a few numbers. Pin your bib on your running shirt ahead of time and put the smaller numbers on the frame of your bike ahead of time. You can attach your number to a race belt if you prefer.

First aid kitBand aids in case you get a blister {or fall off your bike-which probably won’t happen, but just in case}, sunscreen, chapstick, Motrin, Safety pins and anything else you can think of that you might need. Don’t forget your inhaler if you have asthma and any other perscription medication you may be taking.

Post race clothes and sandals– It’s nice to have a clean t-shirt after the race, especially if you’re hugging your adoring fans.  Also, give your feet a break and slip in some sandals.

Watch– If you want to check your time, then don’t forget your watch!

Camera– Give your camera to one of your fans so that they can take pictures of you in action! That way, you will always remember your first triathlon!

Dont forget to print off a Triathlon Race Day Checklist by clicking the link!

And while you’re at it, check out our Beginner Triathlete Transition Tips!

Leave a comment and tell us some of your favorite transition tips!



About Author

Trainer DaveyTrainer Davey is an Orange County personal trainer at heart, but has since moved to Nashville and taken on the new challenge of triathlon training. Of course, he misses his home of Surf City...but Music City ain't so bad either!View all posts by Trainer Davey →

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    african mango pure05-26-2013

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  2. Ashley @ Twynmawrmom
    Ashley @ Twynmawrmom07-18-2013

    Totally agree about the brightly colored towel!! Great list, thanks.

    • Jess

      @Ashley, thanks for the comment! Glad you liked the list!

  3. catherine le
    catherine le01-23-2016

    thank you for posting this! i had no idea what to wear for a triathlon. i will definitely print out your list when i pack for the event. the colored towel was my favorite tip and i am excited to look for one!


    • Trainer Davey
      Trainer Davey01-23-2016

      You’re welcome, glad you liked it! Those little details help in big ways on race day. Please let us know how it goes!