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My Top 12 All Time Favorite Triathlon Hacks

This article is for all you triathletes no matter where you are in your journey, no matter what distances you race. There are hacks to everything, and I can tell you that I have learned a lot over many years racing. What is a hack for one person may not work well for another, but hopefully, you will find some value in any or all of these! And you will probably get a good laugh out of some of them! Here goes!

1. When signing up for a race, do not be intoxicated or in an altered state of mind. Think things through, especially the logistics. How far away is the race? What about getting your bike there? What are the typical race conditions? Is it wetsuit legal? Can I tie it in with a family vacation? Are you just doing it because everyone else is? Consider everything before you press the SIGN UP button!

2. The two piece tri kit makes going to the bathroom at 5:30 am in a porta potty much easier than a single piece suit. But in my experience, any time I have EVER worn a 2 piece kit, I didn’t race as well as when I wore the single piece trisuit. I think it doesn’t create as much drag in the water either. Just my 2 cents here.

One piece trisuit is better!

3. Two swim caps are a must and this is why: put one on your head, then your goggles over that, then another swim cap. This really will keep your goggles on your head and make it really hard for someone to kick them off. This also keeps your head nice and warm on a cold morning swim.

4. If the weather is looking iffy and there is a possibility of rain, ALWAYS cover your running shoes in T2 or be sure they are in a waterproof bag. I made the mistake of not covering my running shoes with a plastic bag and when I got to T2 in a downpour, I had to dump the water out of my shoes and slosh around for the first mile of the run. Then I had to run back to transition because I forgot my race belt. All of this cost me a podium finish by about 30 seconds!

5. Put your race belt on under your wetsuit and leave it there for the duration of the race. That way you never have to worry about it or remember if it is on. Be sure it is right side up and isn’t sliding around.

6. If you are using a rubber band to hold your cycling shoes level to the ground as you run out of T1 with your bike, be sure that the rubber band is thin enough to break after that first revolution of the crank arms. (This is mostly Sprint and Olympic distances.) I did a race down in Houston once and the rubber band wouldn’t break when I started to pedal. Talk about a panic episode! Finally, I had to reach down and yank it as hard as I could to finally hear it snap.

7. Do not be the last to get in the water. EVER. This is where a lot of the kayaks hang out and watch closely at beginner or inexperienced swimmers. You will find yourself wasting a lot of time trying to get past the slower swimmers and the crowd of kayaks waiting to pull you out of the lake or river. Start in a normal progression, even if you consider yourself a beginner swimmer. It’s not worth losing all that time trying to navigate the crowds in the water.

8. Don't put your nutrition inside your running shoes thinking you will grab it before putting on your shoes. I once did the entire run with no socks with a squished snicker bar in my running shoes. Oh and make sure you obey all of the transition rules. Like If it says to put your wetsuit in a bag and hang it on the T1 rack, trust me, they really mean it. Don’t leave bottles or trash in the transition area either.

9. Don’t draft on the bike, and if you do, do it far away from any officials and don't get caught.

I didn’t just say that. Don’t draft. It’s not good manners.

10. Practice working out in your trisuit or tri kit prior to race day preferably in the same conditions. If something is rubbing it’s better to find it before you spend several hours in the humidity and sun and end up with a nasty rash. This also makes for a very unpleasant shower experience.

11. If you’re doing a wetsuit legal Sprint or Olympic distance event and going for time, I suggest cutting about 2 inches off the bottom of your full length wetsuit. This make stepping out of it WAY faster and easier. If you’re going for time why not?

12. Lastly, learn to treat triathlon as a way to RELEIVE stress, not create it. Remember, you GET to work out, not HAVE TO work out. Enjoy the journey getting there and thank God each day that you are capable and strong. There are always people praying for what you take for granted.

Have you thought about hiring a coach for your next event? Click the button below and fill out the short form so we can chat about your race goals.

Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

USA Cycling Coach

ACSM Trainer


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