Coach’s Corner



Pre-Race Bag / Rucksack or Box

Lots of Triathletes have boxes that they put all their kit in prior to a race.

Box: I bought a collapsible plastic box, which is good for storage and gives easy access to my triathlon kit, however, it is awkward to carry whilst you are trying to walk with your bike. Also, I find you have to remember to put your wetsuit in last otherwise there isn’t much room for anything else.

Rucksack: I would recommend that you get a large rucksack. A rucksack you can put on your back and still walk your bike. Rucksacks also have outside pockets and things that you can attach waterproofs and pins and allsorts to. They are also relatively expandable, so even a wetsuit should fit with some ease.

Transition Opening

When making your way to transition with your kit have your helmet fastened to the tri-bars or handlebars of your bike, so it doesn’t fall off and you don’t need to worry about it.  At most events you will be asked to present your helmet before you are allowed into transition as a form of safety check, therefore, having it at the bottom of your bag won’t be very helpful for either you or the marshal.

Get to transition an hour before it closes and 1 hour 30 minutes before your race starts, if you don’t you will be rushed for time to set up.  It’s better to have extra time waiting around, you can check things / warm up / stretch or just relax before the race.

If you don’t leave enough time and you have anything that needs correcting or particular attention you will panic and forget to do those crucial little things that could make the difference between a smooth transition and a time consuming one.

Setting Up Your Kit in Transition

Once you have found your allocated transition space – a white label with your race number on it will denote your transition place – look for permanent landmarks to distinguish where your bike is located within the transition area.  This landmark could be a tree, an ice-cream hut, or you could be lucky enough to be at the end of a row, but regardless of landmarks you need to be sure what row you are in.

To make identification of your slot easier you could place a bright coloured top or jacket on your bike, some Triathletes attach a balloon to the railing where their bike is held, but be warned some events do not allow such obvious markings so don’t become reliant on these aids.


Check that every gear works and the breaks too are working and not rubbing;
Make sure the gear is in the small ring at the front and a middle ring at the back;
Place in the forward position the pedal for your stronger leg.  This is the pedal on which you press down first;
Ensure the tyre pressure is correct for the conditions of the race; (this will be less pressure if it is wet and more if it is sunny but don’t over-inflate the tyre);
Set your speedometer to how you want it to read during the race;
The bike should be securely hung over the railings, either by its saddle or by its handlebars, just make sure you are able to release your bike quickly from the position you select;
Make sure your water bottle(s) is/are full and in place.

Cycle Helmet:

Unclip the helmet from the tri-bars / handlebars;
Place the helmet facing upwards, either on the floor by the side of your bike or on your handlebars/tri-bars, with the straps unclipped and hanging over the side of the helmet, ready for you to put straight onto your head.


If you are wearing glasses place these on top of the helmet with the arms unfolded.

Cycle Shoes:

Place at the front beside your bike wheel with the straps undone;
Shake talcum powder inside so it is easy to slide your feet into them (remember your feet will be wet from the swim). 
You can have your shoes already clipped in with the Velcro straps wide open. 
Tie the shoes with elastic bands so they stay horizontal to make it easier to jump onto your bike.

Running Shoes:

Place beside your bike, with laces undone and the tongue released and folded back;
Again shake talcum powder inside to aid sliding your feet into the shoes. 


Have a small towel at the head of where you have placed both sets of shoes for you to stand on, this will help soak up some of the water that will run from your wetsuit;
In the event that it is raining or there is a threat of rain during the race, cover both sets of shoes with a plastic bag, not too tight so that you struggle to uncover the shoes quickly, but tightly enough to keep in place if it is windy.




  • Tri-Suit
  • Pre-assigned Race Numbers to be pinned to Tri-Suit, both back and front
  • Safety pins
  • Race belt – not every event allows these to be used, but if you can, use one.

The Swim:

  • Wetsuit
  • Pre-assigned Swim Cap
  • Extra Swim Cap – it is highly recommended that you wear 1 swim cap under your goggles and the race swim cap over your goggles, to eliminate the chance of you losing your goggles in a mass start
  • Swim Goggles
  • Baby Oil – you’ll struggle enough putting the wetsuit on, it’ll slide off with a good helping of baby oil
  • Vaseline – you’ll be amazed where that wetsuit can rub!

The Cycle:

  • Bike – it has been known for this item to be forgotten!
  • Cycle Shoes – fact, this item has been forgotten!!
  • Cycle Helmet – you won’t be allowed to race without it
  • Pre-Assigned Race Number for bike and helmet
  • Sun Glasses – it has been known to be sunny during a British held triathlon!
  • Water Bottle
  • Sports Fuel Gel
  • Talcum Powder – try getting your feet into any shoe whilst wet, let alone cycle shoes!

The Run:

  • Running Shoes
  • Water Bottle
  • Sports Fuel Gel
  • Pre-Assigned Timing Chip – not every event issues these
  • Pre-Assigned Identity Bracelet – not every event issues these


  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Plasters
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Bandage
  • Surgical tape
  • Blister kits (2nd skin)
  • Bin liners
  • Plastic bags to put over your shoes if it rains
  • Anti fog spray for swimming goggles
  • Energy gels – at least 4 – and replace for next race
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Towel
  • Flip-flops
  • Bag for wetsuit
  • Windproof for cycling
  • Puncture kit, i.e. Spare tubes and tyres
  • Tyre levers
  • Bike tool
  • Alan keys
  • Pump
  • Lube spray for your gears
  • Gloves for cycling and normal gloves (in case the conditions are wet/cold)
  • Baseball hat (in case the conditions are hot)
  • Suncream
  • Aftersun
  • Toilet paper
  • Pen
  • Space blanket
  • Mars Bar or other food snack (jelly babies)
  • Washing up bowl to stand in whilst you take your Wetsuit off to get the sand from between your toes – if the venue has a sea swim.


  • Spare tracksuit
  • Three T-shirts
  • Warm top
  • Drink for after the race preferably coke as this helps kill any bacteria from the water and provides you with sugar.  Recovery drink.

SPARE KIT and EQUIPMENT (in the event of mechanical failure / breakage / loss):

  • Watch (if applicable)
  • Heart Rate Monitor (if applicable)
  • Trisuit
  • Swim Cap
  • Swim Goggles
  • Cycling Shoes
  • Running Shoes
  • Socks
  • Safety Pins
  • Water bottles
  • Sun Glasses


Make sure you look at all aspects of the race course, be it the lake / sea for the swim; the cycle route (always a good idea to actually drive round it); and the run (again drive round it if you can beforehand).

This way you will have no surprises on the type of terrain you will be cycling / running on and what hills / bends / turns / corners will greet you so that you can change your race pace accordingly. 

With the swim it is important to know where the marker buoys are and if there is a current or wind how it will affect the swim in order to keep within the buoys.

With all the above dealt with you should be fully prepared, enabling you to concentrate on your race, do well and most importantly enjoy it.