Triathlon Transition Setup and Checklist

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Many athletes have been training all summer for your first triathlon, which is usually accompanied by anxiety and nervousness. That being said, we have created a pre-race checklist that covers just about everything that you will need for your first triathlon in addition to some tricks of the trade.

Pre-race preparation should start the day before your race. Using the checklist below, it is highly recommended that you layout all of the equipment, clothing, nutrition and anything else that you will need for the day. Once it’s all laid out, then you can check it off your list and start packing it up for the next morning. Ideally, you will have all of your bags packed and ready to go by the middle of the day so all you have to do is relax and eat dinner before going to sleep.

o Sweat Pants
o Warm up Top
o Beanie
o iPod
o Water Bottle (sports drink)
o Snack (granola bar, Powerbar, etc…)
o Comfortable shoes/sandals
o Socks (throw away)
o Heart Rate monitor wrist watch
o Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap
o Transition bag
o Dry Clothing bag
o Time Chip with ankle strap

The key with the pre-race clothing is to be as comfortable and warm as possible. Sweat pants and a warm up top should be comfortable and will keep you warm. Some people prefer the beanie to keep their heads warm and the iPod should be loaded up with a mixture of calming musing and then a playlist with some motivational music for the last 10-15 minute before you start. You should have a water bottle that is filled with either a sports drink like Infinit Nutrition or water. Make sure you bring a snack, there is usually a lot of hurry up and wait in the morning. The dry clothing bag is something like a trash bag- you will put your pre-race sweats, iPod and all that other stuff in there before you race. When you get dressed in the morning, don’t forget to put your HR chest strap on, you can swim with it on. Last, but not least, put your timing chip and ankle strap on before you leave your hotel room or house- that way, it’s there and done.

For the swim, make sure you know where you are going to (start line) and what time you are supposed to be there. Make sure you are lubed up with either Body Glide and/or Suit Juice. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen.

o Swim suit/ race suit
o Wet suit/ swim skin
o Towel(s)
o 2 goggles (1 clear/ 1 tinted)
o Goggle defogger
o Sunscreen
o Body Glide/Suit Juice
o Race Swim Cap

When you get to the transition area, make sure you setup your area immediately. Once that’s done, you will have plenty of time to relax and listen to the iPod. Make sure you lay out your area in an organized and systematic way so everything is where you need it. A good piece of advice is, put your helmet, upside down, on your aerobars or next to your bike if you don’t have aerobars. Then, put your sunglasses inside your helmet and then your race belt on top of that. If you are going to carry the spare tire kit(s) in the back pocket of your jersey, put that in the helmet too, along with whatever gels or bars you are going to carry.

When you get into the transition area from the swim, SIT DOWN to take off your wetsuit, it’s easier. Dry off your feel, put your cycling shoes on and then stand up. From that point, you taking stuff out of your helmet and putting it where it needs to go. The gels, bars and spare tire kit goes into your back pocket. The race belt around our waits with the number on your back side, sun glasses on your head. The last thing to grab is the helmet, which you NEED TO BUCKLE immediately. From there, grab your bike and head out of transition.

o Bike
o Bike Shoes
o Sunglasses (clear or tinted)
o Helmet
o Race Belt
o Race Number
o Spare Tubes
o CO2 cartridge(s) w/ adapter
o Tire Lever(s)
o Bike Pump
o Water Bottles (filled)
o Nutrition (Gels, bars, etc…)
o Socks
o Baby Powder
o Sunscreen

Once you get back into transition, rack your bike and sit down. Take off your helmet and immediately replace it with your hat or visor. Then take off your cycling shoes and wipe off your feet, put your socks on then your running shoes. Remove and/or add what you need from your back pocket. From there, stand up, turn your race belt so the number is in the front and off you go.

o Running Shoes
o Socks
o Hat or Visor
o Run Nutrition (Fuel Belt, gels, water bottle, etc…)

Post Race:
When you’re done, it’s time to get comfortable and relax! Make sure you change back into your comfortable sandals and put on a dry top (if possible) and whatever else you find comfortable. Pack up your gear and enjoy the post-event party!

o T-shirt
o Shorts
o Money
o Recovery Drink
o Pre-Race sweat pants, warm up top and sandals

Coach Ryan is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling Certified coach, the Founder and Head Coach of Break Through Multisport Inc. Ryan has earned a Masters Degree in Biochemistry and Organic chemistry and is currently working towards a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology. You can reach Coach Ryan at with any questions, comments or for all of your coaching needs.

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Break Through Multisport is a national triathlon and endurance sports coaching company that utilizes the cutting edge of science in conjunction with race tested and proven methods and tactics to produce successful triathletes at every level! Break Through has locations in Chicago, IL, Phoenix, AZ and Tucson, AZ. For more information, please contact Break Through Multisport at or by phone at (931) 220-7050.


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