Triathlon Race Day Do’s and Don’ts

Decrease Triathlon Race Day stresses by following these Triathlon Race Day Do’s and Don’ts.  These rules apply to any triathlon regardless of distance.  As athletes go, most triathletes definitely respect the rules.  Even my friend, Suzy Serpico, whose always at the front of the pack takes time to slow down, catch up with friends, wish everyone luck, and help someone that needs help.  Have a great race and, as always, I hope your goals are Powered By BLING!

Do:  Wake up early and eat.  This is where the trial and error during training pays off.  You know what’s going to work for you.

Don’t:  Forget your timing chip.  Put it on before you leave the house.  Also, don’t wait to get in the bathroom line.  The lines are long and you don’t want to be at the back when you can’t hold it anymore.

Do:  Take a few moments after you set up your transition to stand at the perspective of the Swim In entrance. Now move toward your transition area.  Figure out your visual clues to look for as you run in from your swim. 

Don’t:  Use someone else’s setup as your visual clue to where you racked your bike.  Chances are they will be out on the bike course before you get there.  No, you can’t put up a balloon or anything.  Count rows, look at event-specific signs on the end of you rack row. 

Do:  Organize your gear on your transition towel so that it will be easy to grab.  I like to put my bike shoes down first.  Then, my socks in my shoes, curled over so I can easily slip my foot into them.  My helmet goes on top of my shoes with my race belt in it.  My race bib is already secured to the race belt.  My sunglasses rest inside my helmet, open and ready to put on my face.

Don’t:  Invade the space of the triathletes around you.  Everyone is cramped.  Be respectful of fellow athletes and confine your gear to your towel.  Unless you get lucky and athletes around you don’t show up, then you and the other athletes around you can spread out a little.

Do:  Check bike tires for air night before.  Then, check them again in the morning.  Although most races require a bike check in the week before, they don’t recheck your tires for you.  I got out on a course after having had forgot to check my air and could tell half way through that my tires were low.

Don’t:  Forget to pack a bike repair kit in your bike bag.  You are on your own out on the course.  Be prepared.

Do:  Leave in plenty of time to get to the race.  I’m one of those athletes that likes to shoot for arriving at the venue as early as they will allow you to get into transition.  That keeps me from feeling rushed.  I can walk around talking with friends, move slowly toward my area, set up slowly, have plenty of time to spare….you get the picture, Slow is better than Rushed.  Conserve your energy.

Don’t:  Get there an hour before the race and expect to find a close parking space.  Once you park a mile or more away, you’ll still need to walk to transition, get body marked, set up your transition area, possibly eat, go to the bathroom and make your way to the swim start.  Yikes…I’d be freaking!!!!

Do:  Leave your house in the early morning hours with your jacket.  It’ll be cool that early in the morning even if it’s the peak of an August summer in Maryland.  By the time the sun comes out and it’s time to close transition, you can leave it in your gear bag.

Don’t:  Forget to make sure you know when the transition area closes so you can go back and drop all your gear you don’t want to lose. 

Do:  Wait to apply sunscreen until after you get body marked.  Otherwise, your black marker numbers will wipe off before it’s even time for the race to start.

Don’t:  Make the mistake of thinking you won’t need sunscreen.  Yes, it’s dark now, but the sun will be beating down on you by the time you exit your swim.



Cassandra Burke is a Forensic Scientist by day, and a Group Fitness Instructor, Swim Team Coordinator and Travel Agent by night. A Breast Cancer Survivor since 2010, she writes about her journey as well as her struggles – training for triathlons and races, struggling to get back her health, and balancing family life all while building her brand and finding her purpose after cancer. Subscribe to Cassandra’s newsletter for updates and follow @poweredbybling on social media! For endurance sport race travel and custom family vacation travel, visit her at

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