Gear Here, There Everywhere: Your Race Packing Checklist

You’ve done all the training but on race week your mind is consumed with making sure you don’t forget anything. But your transition bag can only hold so much. So, what should you pack for your race?

Experienced and novice athletes alike feel stress over what and how much to pack race week. Let’s de-mystify this potential stressor (we’ll do a different post on how to set up your transition area to maximize speedy transitions without sacrificing what you need to feel comfortable). Here’s a purposefully comprehensive packing list, which you can subtract from if it doesn’t apply to you based on your needs or your race!

Pre-Race:

  • Race clothing: sports bra; race kit (e.g. two piece or one piece tri suit); and timing chip attached to ankle if you received it at packet pickup
  • Race morning clothes: comfortable athletic shorts/pants; tee; and light jacket if needed (a great chance to rep for your team if you’re on one, and help your teammates spot you in transition)
  • Non-race running shoes or flipflops to wear once race running shoes are set in transition
  • Bottle of pre-race hydration: water or electrolyte/carb mixture to sip throughout morning
  • Pre-race breakfast or snack: you’ll either eat at home and/or on the way to the race (e.g. oatmeal or applesauce at home; coffee?; bar in the car; rice cakes with pb, honey, etc.)
  • Watch if wearing one
  • Any rain gear if necessary
  • ID and USAT card if doing race morning check in

Transition:

  • Towels (e.g. one larger towel to go underneath your bike that you’ll lay gear on; one smaller brightly colored towel folded to wipe feet on and help ID your transition location). Remember USAT rules on how to set up your transition apply.
  • Anything special you are applying between disciplines for longer races (e.g. sunscreen; chamois cream; etc.)
  • Any medication you might need (e.g. asthma inhaler)
  • Bike pump for pre-race bike check, although you can always borrow one in transition

Swim:

  • Wetsuit and/or swimskin
  • Goggles + extra pair (de-fogging agent such as spray, baby shampoo, etc.)
  • Lube for wetsuit neck, ankles, wrists (e.g. body glide; tri slide spray)
  • Race swim cap

Bike: 

  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Bike shoes
  • Bike computer
  • Any nutrition and hydration: ensure easy access to whatever you might need (e.g. gels taped to bike or in bento; chews you’ll stick in your jersey; salt tabs; etc.) and that bottles and hydration system are securely fashioned to bike and filled 
  • Maintenance gear if necessary (e.g. flat kit)

Run:

  • Running shoes (we like to fill ours with baby powder and line heel cups w/ a little body glide for easy on)
  • Socks if you’ll be wearing them
  • Visor or hat and/or sunglasses
  • Race bib attached to race belt or with safety pins
  • Any nutrition and hydration: again, ensure easy access to whatever you might need (e.g. gels in race belt bands; jersey pockets filled as necessary with base salt tube, chews, etc.)

Post race:

  • Pop back on that tee shirt from the morning and some fresh shorts after you towel off. Re-apply sunscreen (and maybe bug spray) if hanging around in the sun with teammates afterwards.
  • Enjoy your accomplishment!

NB: Iron-distance races are slightly different and more onerous pack jobs between special needs and more variable weather throughout the race, of course. Beyond that stuff – anything else you can’t live without on race day? Comment below!

Got a triathlon question? We’ve got #triathlonanswers. Leave a comment or triathlon question below!


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4 comments

  1. This is great! I’ve tried to figure out anything you might have forgotten, but can’t come up with much:
    -Rubber bands if you’re doing flying mount/dismount?
    -Appropriate charging cords for devices, Di2, etc. Just in case.

    Like

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