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10 Race Day Hacks You May Not Have Thought About

Every time I race, I feel that I learn at least a few new hacks that I can implement into my next event to make things go a bit smoother. This past weekend I raced CapTex in Austin, TX and it was a fantastic time. A few things came up that I want to share with you just in case you encounter these same race day issues!


1.   Practice putting your hair in your swim cap. That’s right, even if you’re a guy. I do this because I want to know exactly how my goggles fit over my swim cap. That way there is no guessing on race morning, and you will already have it down, saving you time and stress.


2.   Wear your goggles tight. I like mine REALLY tight so that no water seeps in and they are hard to move. That way if someone kicks me or hits me with a swim stroke, the goggles have a better chance of staying on my head. Do this ahead of time and practice with your cap on in the pool. Try a few different levels of tightness, but in my experience the tighter the better.


3.   Practice getting out of your wetsuit in 10 seconds or less. Record yourself and see what you are doing that could possibly be done better to save you time. Know exactly what arm will do what. For example, right arm unzips the zipper as left arm pulls one shoulder out of the suit. Say what you are doing out loud so it becomes like clockwork. Rehearse this several times and use a stopwatch so you become very good at getting out of your wetsuit quickly!


4.   If you don’t run well in bare feet, think about having someone put your Birkenstocks on the ground as you come out of the water. Can I just say that this is super helpful!? I can run way better in my Birkenstocks than in bare feet and this is a game changer getting into T1.


5.   Even if you aren’t allowed to mark your bike with a bandana or balloon, you can always use a super colorful towel such as pink to help you easily locate your bike and other gear. Go to Walmart or Target and get the brightest lime green or electric pink towel you can find and lay it on the ground next to your bike. You can’t miss that kind of color. Locate your bike and gear lightning fast in transition with this little trick!


6.   Be sure your batteries for shifting are fully charged along with your Garmin computer and that you can clearly see all the screens! Don’t make the mistake of getting caught with no battery and a bike that is stuck in one gear. Before you leave your bike in transition for the night, take it for a short spin and make sure gears are shifting and computers are working. I don’t leave my Garmin overnight though.

7.   Be ultra-aware of beginners and rookies on the course. They tend to veer over into the passing lane and often have no clue about the rules of the road and good triathlon etiquette. Speak loudly but kindly when they are in your way. I had several close calls with rookies this weekend.


8.   Cut your bike stickers so they don’t flap around in the wind. Same for helmet. One thing I can’t stand is listening to my stickers flapping in the wind. I always bring a scissors and tape to every race so I can minimize extra drag by cutting down my stickers.


9.   Make sure the hardware on the bottom of your cycling shoes is clean, tightened, and dry so that you can clip in and out effortlessly. Tighten everything up with an Allen wrench during race week. There is nothing worse than unexpected loose bearings and screws on your shoes or pedals!


10. Use the bike to set you up for a successful run. I saw a lot of people bonking on the run last weekend. It was super-hot especially by the time the Olympic distance athletes hit the run portion of the race. Many were struggling in the heat. Your consistent and conscientious hydration and fueling on the bike will set you up for success on the run. Do your sweat tests for bike and run and know your fluid loss numbers for any distance over an hour!


I hope you find these hacks helpful. I don’t know about you but I for one learn something new every time I race, and I have been doing this for a long time! Don’t forget to follow me on social @marinewifemultisport on Instagram for race and training tips!


Have you thought about hiring a coach for your next iron distance event? Don’t wing it, work with an experienced coach who knows what they are doing! Click the purple button below and fill out the short form for a free 15 min phone call with Mary about your race goals!


Mary Timoney

Ironman University Coach

USA Triathlon Coach

ACSM Trainer

TriDot Coach


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