First Triathlon Preparations: Race Week, Race Day and Nutrition Tips

author : FishrCutB8
comments : 6

A little bit of everything from training, your equipment list, laying out a transition area and other pre-race preparations.

In the words of this woman, "Luck favors the prepared"

Here is the information that helped me through my first triathlon. I found it in lots of places, but a most of it came from stuff I found at BeginnerTriathlete.com; my apologies for not being able to credit all the incredible people who made this list possible. I hope it helps.

RACE WEEK

Training
This isn’t the time to do long, hard runs and rides. Reduce your volume by about 30 percent. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the race, warm up, then do some steady, short efforts that bring you up to race speed. Take Thursday off altogether. The day before your race, exercise enough to break a sweat, 15 to 20 minutes

Sleeping
Concentrate on getting some good rest the entire week. It's going to be hard to sleep the night before, but one night's deficit will not hurt much. One week of less-than-ideal sleep will.

Eating/drinking
Do not skip meals race week, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate throughout the week. Don’t eat a late-night meal the night before the race.

Equipment check
At least 2 days before, pump tires, and go over your bike thoroughly. Are your goggles leaking, or do they suck? GET NEW ONES RIGHT AWAY!!!

The night before
Pack your stuff. Make a list of your strengths and why you are doing this.

Essential items for your race bag:

  • Wetsuit or swim suit
  • Swim goggles
  • Suntan lotion
  • Warm up oil
  • Bike shoes
  • Socks
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses
  • Run shoes
  • Hat
  • Towel to place running shoes and gels for run, stand on when you change
  • Bottles-High GI Carbs (freeze them, if you like), after race recovery bottles –High GI Carbs, protein, electrolytes
  • Energy gels/bars
  • Bananas
  • Toilet paper
  • Race clothes
  • Race numbers
  • Plastic bags to cover stuff in case of rain
  • Marker so you can find your stuff easily (balloon, flag, etc.)
  • Pam to spray on edges of wetsuit to ensure easy-off.

RACE DAY

Early bird gets the worm
Know where you’re going, and give yourself time to get there. Get to the race early! There may be lines up to 90 minutes before the event. Find a good spot to rack your bike equidistant from where you need to run in and out.

Attend the race briefing
If you are new, then the race briefing is essential. It tells you what to expect during the race, and small changes that may have occurred.  It also goes over the courses again - which can be confusing especially if more than one distance is being run simultaneously.

The expo
Walk around and get into the spirit of the race.

Transitions
Walk from the swim finish to the transition entrance to your bike. Walk from your bike to the bike transition exit. Walk from your bike to the run exit. Do it again

Properly and effectively laying out a transition area
Lay out your transition area on your bed the night before to ensure you have everything. Bring a sports bag to pack gear into the triathlon venue. Also, a small collapsible ice chest for hydration is helpful. Try to get on the outside end of bike racks – there’s more space, and it’s easier to find your bike. Find out local rules –can you leave a bag or an ice chest in the transition area?

The set-up I did or wish I had done:

  • Rack and secure my bike
  • Place a bath towel on the ground parallel to my bike
  • Take race belt with number for run and place running shoes on top of number (some will safety pin their number on their shirt, but I find that flapping is very irritating)
  • Make sure that the tongue of my shoes and laces are open
  • Place bike shoes on the towel directly behind running shoes
  • Loosen up the straps and ensure they’re open and ready…place socks inside
  • Leave the portion of the towel to the rear of my bike open to stand on
  • Place a water bottle near this area to wash away any debris that I pick up.
  • Make sure I know where my hydration is located
  • If it is hot, bury running cap in the ice chest
  • Place helmet on aero bars or bike and put shades inside
  • Place shirt on top of bike seat, so it is just within my reach.
  • Run through everything mentally to double-check and make sure that I haven’t forgotten anything, then place my hydration on my bike.
  • Reset my bike computer.
  • Double-check to make sure my bike is in the right gear (small chain ring in front and a gear that I can easily push coming out of Transition One).

Other pre-race preparation
Warm up and stretch -- enough to break a sweat and get the blood moving to your muscles. If you can, jump in and swim a few laps so you’re not jumping in cold. Stay warm in-between -- throw on a sweatshirt or warm fleece jacket that you can hand off to a friend before you jump in.

Relax and wait
Use the time to warm up, then find a quiet place to read or listen to music. Warm up and stretch again before you start your race. Sip on water, but don’t overfill yourself -- take in about 6 oz. H2O.

A WORD ABOUT NUTRITION

Day before the race
Avoid all types of caffeine and alcohol--careful with energy drinks, most have caffeine. Focus on full hydration. Get urine as light in color as you can. Take in mostly complex carbohydrates, at least 100-200 grams before you go to bed. This makes sure glycogen stores will not be totally empty in the morning. If you take in too many calories, your body will convert the excess to body fat

On the morning of your race
Drink enough water to make up for non drinking hours of sleep. Get in another 100-200 grams of complex carbohydrates. As the day goes on, every 3-4 hours have another 100-200g of complex carbs. Make sure your last meal is 3-4 hours before the race. If you need carb calories closer than the 3 hour mark and your last meal was longer than 3 hours ago, sports drinks will work; you can sip that up to 15 min. before the race. If race lasts longer than 45 min. pick up sports drinks and water as you go.

Post race
Sports drinks are perfect for a quick post race recovery. I mixed mine with two scoops of whey and was really glad I did--absolutely perfect! Potassium is lost in sweat -- bananas are a great source for that. When you get home, eat a balanced meal of complex carbohydrates and protein. Replenish your glycogen stores and rebuild the muscle you broke down.

Decide if you are going to fish or cut bait, then DO IT!

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date: June 13, 2005

FishrCutB8