Best DIY triathlon hacks for race day

Want to save valuable time and have as stress-free a triathlon race day as possible? Erm, yes please! Great, because here are our ultimate time-saving tips…

VITORIA, SPAIN - JULY 14: Athletes run towards the transition area after finishing the swim leg of IRONMAN Vitoria on July 14, 2019 in Vitoria, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

In a sport like triathlon, every second is precious. From the moment the cannon fires, until you cross the finish line, the clock never stops.

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Veteran triathletes know that by utilising timesaving hacks and implementing DIY solutions to common issues, you can help ensure success on race day. So here are our top tips to ensure race-day success.

Top swim hacks for triathlon race day 

  • If you’re worried about a rough swim, put on your swim cap first and then place your goggles over the top of that. Then, put on a second swim cap to keep the straps in place.
  • Goggles fogging up? Rub a little baby shampoo on the inside of the lenses and rinse well.
  • Secure the Velcro strap of your timing chip with a small safety pin to make sure it stays put.
  • If you’re afraid of losing your watch during the swim, thread a small zip tie through the buckle to secure it in place.
  • By wrapping a plastic bag around your feet, you can slide your wetsuit on with ease.
  • Also, put a bit of Vaseline or baby oil around the neck, wrist, and ankle areas of your suit to prevent chafing. To help with removal, trim an inch or two off the ankle and wrist areas of your wetsuit.
  • Be sure to bring a pair of disposable sandals if there’s a long walk from transition to the swim start.

Top transition hacks for triathlon race day 

  • Set up your transition area in order of event. Place your bike gear closest to you with socks rolled up inside of shoes and helmet upside down, facing the correct direction, with the strap unlatched. For the run, create a ‘transition package’ with a hat/cap. Put your sunglasses and race belt inside of the hat and run with it out of transition, putting items on as you go to save time.
  • Place all the nutrition you will need for the run (gels, salt pills, ect.) into a large Ziploc bag. Run with the package out of transition and put everything into the pockets of your tri-suit while you’re moving.
  • Put a little baby powder inside your shoes to prevent blisters and help wet feet slide in more easily.
  • For those doing a flying mount, secure the backs of your cycling shoes to your bike with elastic bands so they don’t spin and flop as you run out of transition.
  • If you have to rack your bike overnight, and the forecast shows rain, tie a garbage bag around your back wheel to protect your chain and cassette. Use a smaller bag to cover electrical components in your cockpit.
  • When you finish setting up, count racks or look for identifying landmarks, so you don’t get lost in transition during the race.

Top bike hacks for triathlon race day 

  • If you don’t have a top tube compartment for storing nutrition, attach energy gels to your bike with packing tape. Tape just above the tear line, so you can and rip and sip.
  • Forgot the clip for your aero bottle? Electrical tape can secure your cockpit in a pinch.
  • If you don’t have a saddlebag, designate a spare bottle as a gear bottle and put a tube, tire levers, and CO2 cartridge inside.
  • Have a punctured tyre and there’s no patch in sight? Use an empty gel wrapper as an impromptu seal.
  • If you’re facing a cold start on the bike, use packing tape to cover the vents in your helmet and shoes to keep in warm air.
  • Also, pick up a cheap pair of oversized gloves from a home improvement store. They’re easy to slip on wet hands after the swim, prevent numb fingers, and can be tossed once you warm up.

Top run hacks for triathlon race day 

  • If you’re expecting a rainy race, layer duct tape on the tops of your shoes to keep most of the water out and prevent blisters.
  • During a hot race, flip your visor upside down and put ice in the top. The ice will melt and run down your head, helping to keep you cool.

Top nutrition hacks for triathlon race day 

  • Set a timer on your watch to go off every 15 minutes as a reminder to keep up with hydration and nutrition.
  • For a long- distance race, empty all of your gels into a bottle and mark lines on the outside so you know how much to take in at a time. You can also use this trick to create a concentrate hydration mix that you can supplement with water on course.
  • Miniature Ziploc bags from the pharmacy are perfect for keeping track of salt pills.
  • Cut bars or stroopwafels into quarters so they’re easier to grab out of the package.
  • When running through an aid station, pinch the top of a paper cup to create a funnel to make drinking easier.

By utilising some of these triathlon hacks, you will be certain to have a speedier, less stressful, and more successful race day experience.

Top image: Alex Caparros/Getty Images for Ironman

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