It’s been a long winter… to say the least. But finally, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Tri season is right around the corner. Maybe you’ve been training hard to compete in your first-ever swim, bike, run event, or maybe this isn’t your first rodeo. Either way, you’re ready for some action!
Training is of course your number one priority, your body has to be in tip-top shape to even consider competing. But beyond all of your training efforts, what else do you need to prep for the season ahead? Checking on all of your gear and equipment is right up there at the top of the list, along with researching your upcoming events.
So what exactly should you be looking for in your equipment checks? How should you organize your gear for maximum efficiency? What questions should you ask about your race sites? If your brain is bursting with these questions and you’re slightly (or majorly) overwhelmed with the thought of finding answers, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading and we’ll share all of our secrets, from our very own Speed Hound athletes, on how you can make sure you’re organized and ready to go on race day.
Find the Right Fuel
Race day is NOT the time to try new foods. This is just an all-around no-no. Your body needs the next 30 days to get used to fueling for the big day, so start your meal plan now. Where are you going to get your calories from? Are you accounting for an increase in electrolytes?
Start answering these questions now. Then, adopt a routine and stick with it. Give your digestive system a chance to adjust. These things need time, so the more you give, the better. The right fuel for your body is something only you (and your trainer) can navigate.
There’s a significant amount of science that goes into your pre-race and race day nutrition, so don’t hesitate to reach out to other athletes and ask for help. If you’re not 100% sure of your nutrition game, it’s best to ask questions before it’s too late.
Make Sure Your Bike is Race Ready
This is another area where you might want to enlist the help of a professional. If at all possible, get your bike to a local bike shop for a good once (or twice) over. Surprises are great, but not when it comes to your bike and triathlons.
If your bike’s been in storage for the off-season while you’ve been using a trainer, this step is still important. A bike that hasn’t been used can still sustain wear and tear. But, on the other side of things, there are different kinds of issues that your bike can face if it’s been used regularly.
Regardless of how often your bike’s been used, it needs to be cleaned, lubed, and completely checked from handlebars to chains, the cassette, the tires… and everything in between. The whole shebang has to be race-day-ready.
Just Say No to Brand New Shoes
Race day isn’t the time to try new foods… OR new shoes. If you do need new shoes, give yourself a couple of weeks and plenty of workouts to break them in before the first race of the season. Your race shoes need several miles on them to ensure there’s no hot spots that will inevitably be a huge issue at the worst time… mid-race.
Even the slightest bit of discomfort from your shoes can blow up into a major issue, either during the race or even after. It’s also imperative to make sure you’re practicing and training in the exact shoes you’ll be wearing for the race, so make any adjustments before you train… we’re looking at you, speed laces!
Gather Your Gear
Before you can make your list and check it twice, do a little background check on your race location. If you’re going local, you won’t need to pack nearly as much, of course. But if you're traveling, especially to a region with a big climate difference, you’ll want to plan accordingly.
Check any race reviews from years’ past, and scan social media. Anything you can gather to keep in your back pocket will help you prepare… there’s really no such thing as over preparing, here. And don’t be shy! While you’re scrolling the social feeds, ask questions and leave comments. The race community is such a supportive one, everyone’s willing and ready to help one another get across that finish line.
Here are a few essentials that are often forgotten or neglected, so do yourself a favor and start inspecting these now:
- Goggles: you won’t want a brand new pair for race day, but they should be relatively fresh. Do a swim or two with these to ensure they’re a good fit, and if you can, test them out in an open water swim.
- Flat Tire Kit: things get used, lost, and sometimes just disappear. Especially when you’re focused on the finish line- so comb through your flat kit to make sure it’s all there. It’s entirely possible you used it last season, or lent it out to someone else, and don’t even remember.
- Transition mat: don’t forget to pack this baby! You’ll want to do a few practice runs with your mat, but then go ahead and give it a good wash (along with your race kit) so it’s fresh for race day.
The Wrap Up
These are just a few things that we at Team The Speed Hound always do before our season begins. And, even a few times throughout the season. You and your trainer can nail down all the specifics, but in our attempt to help everyone crush tomorrow, we wanted to share some of the things we’ve learned along the way.
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