Your Complete Triathlon Race Day Checklist

  • Posted by
  • Matt Cook
  • |
  • Aug 31, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Your Complete Triathlon Race Day Checklist.jpgCongratulations you’ve made it! Race day has arrived! All of your training, effort, and determination has brought you to this moment. But before you start racing make sure that you take a look through the triathlon race day checklist to help ensure that you don’t forget anything today.


Race Goal

Before every race you should make sure that you set yourself a goal to accomplish or establish something new that you want to learn. Having a goal gives your brain something to focus on during the race and can help calm any pre-race jitters.

Get Energized

Nutrition is incredibly important when training for a triathlon, and it’s especially important on race day. Don’t eat anything new—you don’t want your stomach getting upset. Have something to eat about three hours before the start of your race and stop drinking about two hours before. You will obviously need to hydrate as you race so drink as needed.

Dress Appropriately

Make sure that you dress appropriately for race day. This means dressing in layers so that you can take something off if you get hot. Check the weather in the morning as well to ensure that you’re bringing the proper clothing. Also always make sure that you bring a hat - for the obvious reason of protecting your head from the sun, but it also serves to protect your eyes so you’re not squinting and thus keeping your body more relaxed.

Don’t Forget...

There are many things to remember to bring on race day, and it’s easy to forget something. To help keep you organized you can use this triathlon race day checklist for all of the items that you’ll need to bring.

Arrive Early

Make sure that you arrive early on race day so that you can figure out how everything works, and where you have to go. Arriving early also gives you the time to set up your transition area, and warm up.

Map out the Transition Area

The transition area is one of the key sections of the race. You have to be able to find your things quickly, and transition efficiently. When you arrive at the race early you can set up your transition area, mark where your things are, and also mentally map out your route into and out of it. Being prepared helps remove some of the anxiety you can feel because you know exactly what you’re going to do.

Calories to Refuel

You need to make sure that you have the appropriate food and liquids that your body requires to get you through the race. Dehydration is something that you want to avoid at all costs. For longer races you’ll want to consume 300-500 calories during the race. Many of these calories can be ingested through drinking, though you can also eat gels or energy bars.  

Warm up

Don’t forget to warm up before you start the race. Take a 15-20 minute jog to stretch out your muscles and get yourself warmed up. Then put on your wetsuit and take a 15-20 minute swim doing the same thing.

Visualize the Course

Visualization is key to helping you prepare and get your mind set for the start of the race. Run through the race in your mind, including making your transitions so that you know what you’re going to do before you have to do it. Know what is coming and how you’re going to handle it, you’ll allow your mind to spend more time just thinking about the race itself and nothing else.


The final thing on the triathlon race day checklist is to take a few minutes to do a breathing exercise. The time to worry and wonder is over, so take a few minutes to calm your mind and relax. A great breathing exercise is the 4x4 breathing. Doing exercises like this get more oxygen into your brain helping you to relax and focus.

Topics: Triathlon Training


Matt Cook

Matt Cook

Father of 3 and former competitive swimmer, Matt completed his first Ironman 70.3 in 2013 in Muskoka. He has since completed another 70.3 and is planning on doing a full Ironman in 2016 or 2017. Matt took up triathlons for the challenge, to relax and to just to stay in shape so he can enjoy life with his family.

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