Triathlon Race Day Checklist

This article highlights the items required by a triathlete to carry along into a competition. Without a complete checklist there is always the danger of entering a race without a few essentials.

When & What to Prepare

Some triathletes spend so much time on physical swim, bike run training in the lead-up to race day, but fail to make a checklist of all the essentials needed for the competition. Failure to carry adequate equipment can cost you dearly. In some cases, it could endanger you! From your bike to drinks, you need to have a comprehensive checklist to avoid any last minute panic. Failure to carry proper equipment could even result in a violation of the triathlon rules, penalties and even disqualification in some circumstances. With experience, triathletes make a mental note of their checklist but it is still essential to have a hard copy so that you go into the race with everything that you need.

Pre-Race Day Preparation

Do not take any new equipment into the race without having used it, or tested it a week before the event. Ensure that you check batteries on your heart rate monitor, get your bike tuned up, setup race wheels or check tyres and tubes. Practice doing a dry run to ensure that your gear is well organised and consider your nutrition plan for the race, ensuring you have given yourself adequate time to make purchases of your favourite bars/gels etc well in advance. This is the time to label your gear with your name and phone number on your shoes, tag of your wetsuit, inside of your helmet, bike accessories kit, etc. Depending on the race you may also need to put reflective tape on your gear.

Getting your Gear to the Event

If you are travelling by plane to an event then bike transport becomes a major component. You should be confident enough to put it back together and handle minor tuning. You'll also have to arrange the transporting of your bike to and from the race site, so bike bags are a worthy investment if you intend to travel further than you're likely to drive.

For most of us however, driving to local events means we can chuck everything into the car. However, having a compact way of getting everything from your car to the event requires thought as you'll often have to wheel your bike as well.

For a more detailed look at this subject, see our article Travelling to Events.

Transition Bag

Although you are generally not allowed to leave a bag within the transition area, most people pack a "transition bag". This can be a duffel bag, or a backpack, which contains everything you need for race day. All you should need goes into the bag, leaving your hands free to wheel your bike and carry your foot pump from carpark to race registration area. Sounds simple enough, but you'd be surprised how much stress and panic goes on before the race. After a few races you'll soon see how easy it is to forget the most obvious things and how much unnecessary stress can be caused when you feel unprepared.

Using a Checklist

Below, is our checklist of what to put in your transition bag. You could print out this page or use it as a template to make up your own checklist. Either way, the idea is to keep your checklist in your transition bag at home (leaving the essentials in there for readiness next race) as a reminder to what to pack in the lead-up to the event. At least 1 week before your event, refer to your checklist - there may be personal items to purchase/replace like sunscreen, anti-fog solution, gels and much more.

Bike Preparation for Race Day

The day before you are required to drop your bike into transition, strip off any unnecessary equipment (eg. swap out a bike pump for lighter, smaller air cartridges, remove lights), check that you have bar ends in place, and ensure you have put all the following items on your bike:
  • Tyre pliers
  • Spare tube (or tyre) or Latex tyre sealant
  • Pump or CO2 cartridge (x2)
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Bike Food Box (filled with race nutrition – gels/bars as required)
  • Bike computer (if not wrist mounted)
Don't leave valuables on your bike if leaving attended overnight. For races where bikes are racked the night before, you will be allowed into transition area for about an hour before the race start to do a last minute check and setup. If you are worried about rain (and getting a wet seat, or wet food) you can use tightly wrap a plastic bag around parts of your bike. Some people even fully wrap their bikes - see what works for you.

Transition Bag Checklist

  • Race belt and Race Bib/Timing Chip/Swim Cap
  • Registration paperwork
  • Head-light/torch
  • Money
  • Toilet paper
  • Wetsuit
  • Plastic Bag
  • Googles
  • Body Glide or baby oil lubricant
  • Talcum powder (for shoes)
  • Sunblock
  • Transition Towel/Mat
  • Single Hole Punch (pre-cut holes in your race bib sometimes don’t line-up with your race belt clips)
  • Bike Helmet (must have Australian Standard sticker (AS2063)
  • Sunglasses
  • Bike Shoes
  • Running shoes
  • Optional fuel belt for run
  • Run Cap (visor or full cap)
  • Socks (long distance only)
  • Floor Pump
  • Wrench Set/Tools for pre-race emergencies
  • Post-race clothing, towel, toiletries
  • Pre-race food/fluids

What to Wear on Race Day

Whatever clothing you have chosen to race in should be worn to the race on race day with suitable clothing over the top.
  • Tri-suit (with race bra for females) with tracksuit
  • Optional compression socks
  • Thongs
  • Heart Rate Monitor strap (optional) & HRM/Computer on wrist

Nothing New

Test all your gear and never bring anything new to the event without having tested it. Now is not the time to try something new. The bottom line is to make sure the key components are taken care of. Get to the start line well fuelled, with no fuss. Trust your training and relax.

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Created: August 2011
Revised: November 2012
Latest Feedback: November 2012


Triathlon Checklist, Race Day List, Race Day Preparation, Transition Bag Checklist, What To Wear In A Triathlon