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Things You Don't Need to Bring to Transition

I’ve been to the start of a race over 60 times in my career. I’ve seen just about everything and learned a lot along the way. If you’re a newbie or just getting into the sport, here’s my advice on everything you need and don’t need to bring to your Sprint or Olympic distance race. The Ironman and 70.3 races can be tricky with all the bags, so for the sake of simplicity I am going to talk about shorter distance races for this article. I think you will find it helpful!

What you don’t need:

Cycling gloves. It just takes too long to put these on, especially with wet hands. Unless it’s an iron distance race, I recommend skipping it.

Sunscreen. Put it on ahead of time. If you are worried that it will wash off during the swim, I recommend a sun stick that glides on and stays on longer than a spray. Do your whole body and be done with it. You don’t have time to do sunscreen in transition. Same goes for glide stick to avoid chafing- do it before the race starts.

Extra gels, gus, and nutrition. The only thing you need is a gu or gel as you get started with your run. Put it in your running shoes along with your race belt. Open it and be ready to eat it while running.

Extra bottles. Your hydration bottles are already on your bike. The run course will have water stops to keep you hydrated.

Bike frame pump. I would not put anything on my bike that will weigh it down. Bring your bike pump to the race and pump your tires before the race starts. No need to put it on your bike.

Run belt for hydration. Skip this. There are plenty of water stops along the run course. You don’t want anything weighing you down.

Socks. You don’t have time to put these on wet feet. Stand on your towel as you put on your helmet and sunglasses. Then put on your cycling shoes and go. Socks will definitely slow you down. For a shorter distance race, it’s not going to matter.

What you DO need in transition:

A gel for the run. I usually start running with this in my hand. I keep it opened and in my running shoes so it is readily available.

1 or 2 bottles already on your bike. There will be water stops on the run.

Race belt showing your number right side up. Put it inside one of your running shoes.

A towel to dry your feet before putting on your shoes. The worst feeling is having a small rock stuck under your foot when you are trying to concentrate. Don’t skip the towel.

A Helmet already on your bike.

Cycling shoes. Either near your towel or clipped in your pedals.

Sunglasses. I personally can’t ride or run without them.

Hat. A must for a hot run.

A colorful bandana or towel to recognize your stuff. Sometimes they won’t allow anything tied to the racks so just bring a colorful towel that you will recognize immediately coming into transition. No need for balloons!

If I left anything out let me know in the comments! Hope you find this helpful!

Want to take your race to the next level? Hire an experienced triathlon coach! Click HERE to message me for a free 15 min chat about your goals!

Mary Timoney

Ironman University Coach

USA Cycling Coach

ACSM Personal Trainer


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