Daylights Savings Time is a little inconvenient in that we lose an hour, but it marks a great time for triathletes to conduct a reality check. With March marking the start of the triathlon season, this is a great time to run through a checklist and get ready to rumble; taking inventory of your planning and gear. Preparedness is a huge part of a successful triathlon.
Here a few things to check to make sure your season gets off to a good start. The list is not entirely complete, but it covers the most important concepts to help you be prepared:
- Have you made a list of your races and ranked them by A, B and C?
- What are your goals? How many people know about your goals?
- Do you have the first few weeks of your training plan scheduled?
- Is your gym membership renewed? Have you paid your triathlon club dues?
- If you are using a coach, have you communicated your races and other needs to them?
- Check your goggles, are they in decent shape? The lens too scratched? The strap worn? It might be time to replace them.
- Do you have a skull cap that fits you well? Skull caps can wear out and be ill-fitting. Silicon skull caps tend to last longer than latex and have a more comfortable feel.
- Does your suit fit? Whether you are wearing a speedo in a pool or a wetsuit in the ocean, does it fit? Poorly fitting suits that are too large can cause access drag in the water and slow you down.
- Do you have enough anti-chafing gel for your first triathlon? Now is the time to stock up.
- A small amount of baby shampoo. When applied to the inner side of the goggles, it will prevent fogging and not sting the eyes. (Thanks coach for this tip!)
- Is your bike clean? If it is still sitting in the corner yet to come out of winter hibernation, now is the perfect time to dust it off and get it looking sparkling again.
- Take the bike for a ride around the block; is everything in working order? Do the brakes work? Is there any hesitation in shifting gears? Make note of anything that is abnormal.
- Take the bike in for a tune-up. Whether or not there is anything wrong with the bike from your test ride, take it to a good bike shop and have a tune-up performed. This will help lube bearings and make any minor adjustments.
- When you pick up the bike, get fitted. You would be amazed at how minor adjustments to the fit can make a huge difference in your performance and your body can change since last season.
- Check you helmet and make sure it hasn’t been damaged or shows signs of rot and that it fits properly. If the helmet is damaged and needs to be replaced, it will be obvious. Make sure the fit is snug and the straps are appropriately trimmed.
- Grab your cycling shoes, shorts, and jersey and make sure they still fit. Again, loose fitting clothes cause drag, so invest in new ones if need be, especially the shoes.
- Since we just took a look at your bike shoes, check your running shoes next. Running shoes should be replaced about every 300 miles. If they show the slightest bit of wear on the bottom, go ahead and buy a new pair, your feet with thank you.
- Check your running shorts and shirt. Replace if they don’t fit right or perhaps show off more than many people care to see.
- Are you a FiveFingers wearer of the barefoot running movement? Ah, okay, so when was the last time you washed your FiveFingers? Maybe that is why you are running alone?
- Adjust the fit of your hat and make sure it is snug but not tight. Also, wash your hat.
- Grab your running belt and make sure the zippers work and it is in good shape. If it needs to be washed, wash it. If it comes with matching water bottles and you’ve lost one, consider buying a new running belt as the bottles need to fit snugly into their holsters.
- Do you have a number belt? If so, make sure it too is in working order. If not, toss some safety pins into your running belt. You don’t want to arrive at a race and not have a way of securing your number to your clothing.
- Have you made a nutrition plan? Are you going Paleo?
- Have you documented your race fueling strategy? If not, makes notes of how long your events are and what your caloric needs are. You’ll have to experiment, but start by writing down a preliminary strategy and modify as you train.
- Is your training/race fuel in your workout bag? Nothing like leaving the house to start a long run to realize you left your fuel at home. Always put extra bars in your workout bag.
- Are you near your race weight? If not, consider losing a few pounds. Your feet will thank you.
- Do you have a transition bag? If not, consider purchasing one like one of the GYST bags. They will make you more organized with less work as I demonstrate in my YouTube video.
- Do you have a spare towel?
- Consider purchasing a helium filled balloon to mark your transition area for the upcoming season. They can be re-used with a helium refill only costing a few bucks at the store.
- Have you made your transition area checklist? I’ll post one in coming weeks.
- Other Stuff
- Do you have a foam roller? If not get one as I recommend foam rolling and stretching every night before you go to bed.
- Purchase a RoadID. If anything happens to you during training or a race, this simple strap can give emergency personnel much needed information at a glance.
- Replace the batteries in your heart rate monitors and GPS devices. I was on a long bike ride (30 miles) when my GPS’s heart rate strap battery gave out and it sucked.
I hope this list helps. It is rather comprehensive, but there is no time like the present to give yourself a triathlete reality check and kick off your season right. Taking a little time now to buy a few new pieces of gear and getting the bike tuned up can save you a major headache and possibly a “DNF” later.
Available at the following link is a triathlon race day equipment checklist to make sure you don’t forget any essential equipment on race day. <Download our Triathlete_Race_Checklist>
PS If I left anything out, please leave me a comment or send an update to @AricInTraining on Twitter.