Category Archives: Race Prep

My First Triathlon: 15 Things I Learned

athletes in pain signDon’t let the title of this post fool you veterans into thinking it’s not for you. Even the veterans on the SD Tri News staff found some interesting tips and tricks to try!

By Fara Rosenzweig-via

It’s amazing what a glass of wine can lead to. I was in Napa chatting with this lovely lady. Our conversation went from our Napa trip to triathlons. I expressed how I was a runner, yogi and gym fanatic.And I was very clear that I would never do a triathlon.

Little did I know she was the PR manager for Toyota Brand and Marketing Communication, Sona Iliffe-Moon. She mentioned how she was putting together a team of ladies to represent Toyota in the Toyota SheRox Tri. I said, “That’s great! Good luck with that.”

A week later I received an email saying I was signed up for the SheRox triathlon. After numerous emails trying to get out of the event, Moon simply said, “I’m doing it; it’s my first tri and I’m not a runner, but you are, so we will be in the same boat together.”

That certainly got me.

I emailed everyone I knew who had done tris for advice. Taking their advice, and discovering some mishaps along my journey to the finish line, I share with you what I learned at my first triathlon.

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Make a List, Check it Twice: Night Before the Tri Checklist

Got Gear?courtesy of Mike Waldner

It’s the morning of the big day. Your first triathlon will be said and done, in the books, in just a few hours. Or maybe you’ll have your 131st triathlon under your race belt in a few hours. Regardless of if you’re looking at your first race or your hundred and thirty-first, little can quell that pit-in-the-bottom-of-your-stomach feeling that accompanies race jitters.

Except maybe a checklist.

Triathletes are known for being type-A beings. They have plans, and they like results. The gear checklist has the potential to eliminate unnecessary stress the night before a race and the morning of a race. Below you’ll find our favorite checklist here at SD Tri News. Feel free to print it off and modify it as needed:

SDTriNews_logo_sans_dotcomBefore the Race:

–Misc Stuff:

  • Wallet, cash, food to eat on way to event,
  • USAT Membership card (if you are a member)
  • Photo ID/License for proof of age
  • MP3 Player
  • Race Information (from Website)
  • Race Distances, Course maps, Maps to location, Addresses, Start times etc.

–Race packet

–Race packet pickup is either the day before the race or the day of

–Race Chip – should be in the packet – don’t forget it!

–Race Belt (Pin the number from the race packet to the belt )

–Numbers from packet

–Helmet and bike numbers (sometimes races have these, and sometimes they don’t)

–Triathlon suit

–Shorts and top

–Towels (2)

  • One to stand on in your transition area
  • One to dry your feet off before you put your bike shoes on
  • You might want one more for afterwards to dry and wipe away the sweat (if you work hard enough)

–Tub for washing sand off your feet (Optional)  I don’t use one – waste of time

–Plastic bag to cover your transition area in case it rains

–To keep warm the morning before – esp. if you know it is going to be cool early in the morning

–Sweat pants

–Hooded sweat shirt/top

–And/or long sleeved shirt

–Misc: Sunscreen, First Aid, medicine, aspirin, etc.


–Triathlon shorts

–Triathlon top if you plan on wearing during the swim (not an option for you ladies)

–Goggles (It is a good idea to have another pair just in case you break your first pair at the starting line.)

–Swim cap

–Most races (outdoors) will require you wear one. If so, you will find it in your race packet

–Ear plugs (if you use/need them)

–Wetsuit (not always required)

–Body glide (This is if you use a wetsuit as it will chaff around your arms/shoulders. Make sure it is a brand that will not ruin the wetsuit.)


–Bike (always a good thing to have and remember!)

–Floor bike pump

–Bike gloves – if you use them

–Helmet (This is required, don’t forget it!)

–Sunglasses (It is a good idea to have another pair just in case you break the first pair.)

–Socks (Might want to bring another pair for longer races.)

–Change of clothes for longer Ironman races – like full Ironmans


–Bike shoes (Clip them to the peddles of your bike.)

–Bottles of water and/or energy drinks

–Energy bars and gels

–Any other food items you prefer.

–Race number for bike ( Should have been in your race packet )

–Bandana – if you need one – typically for longer races


–Running shoes (with zip ties already in them)

–Running hat or sweat band

–Energy bars and gels

–Any other food items you prefer

–Socks (if you are changing them for longer races)

–Race belt / Running Number (Make sure you put it on – and the number from your race packet)


–Dry clean clothes to change into

–Dry shoes or sandals to wear.  You don’t want to wear your sweaty running shoes.

–Soap/towel etc. for showering

–Beverages and food – cuz hot dogs just don’t cut it!  😉

–Don’t rely on the event to have food you want/need to eat

Other possible items / misc:

–Alarm clock

–First Aid Kit (Be Prepared!)

–Tools/bike repair stuff

–1 spare tube and/or 1 tire patch kit

–2 CO2 threaded canisters for pumping up tire

–1 multi tool/Allen wrench set, Chain lube Rags

–On the longer races – you might want to carry some of this stuff with you on your bike.  In the sprint TRI’s if you get a flat tire, well then, your day is pretty much over, enjoy the T3 and focus on the next event.

–A few other items that can help are:

  • Superglue
  • Black marker
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Ziploc bags
  •  Tape (duck, electrical,  athletic, clear tape to tape your number to your bike)
  • Spare pins
  • First Aid kit
  • Kleenex, if no TP in port-a-potties


–Blanket – you might as well sit down, kick back and enjoy – but be ready when they come in for the transition!

–Outdoor games that will not interfere with any of the participants while you wait (Football / Frisbee)

–Nutrition for yourself: food, snacks, water (just bring more) etc.

–Lawn chair if you’re getting fancy.

–Watch: To time the competitors – so you will know about when they will be coming in for the transitions

–Cowbell: because your voice will just blend in with those around you. The cowbell, everyone can hear that.

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June 26, 2014 · 10:10 pm

10 Tips for First-Time Triathletes

J - backward -helmetBy Gale Bernhardt | For

don’t know if it is accurate to write that triathlon is “the” fastest growing sport in the world; but it has definitely got to be in the top few.

If you survey people that have completed a triathlon and ask them why they decided to participate in the sport—what got them there—you may get an answer included in the list below:

  • I had too many running injuries and needed to do cross training to heal myself. Once I began cycling and swimming, I realized I enjoyed the variety and didn’t want to stop.
  • I wanted a new challenge, a change from my regular activities.
  • It was a stake in the ground. I decided to make changes to my life and triathlon was the start.
  • I wanted a way to celebrate my next birthday.
  • I was decent at several sports and the idea of combining them into a single competition seemed to be to my advantage.
  • I watched a multisport event and thought the madness looked like a lot of fun.
  • It’s a great way to stay fit because I get an overall workout—cycling and running do nothing for my upper body.
  • My buddies and I made a bet. I say a good cyclist can slaughter a good runner or a good swimmer in a multisport event. My buddies disagree. I guess we’ll just have to test those theories. Bring on the race.

The summer is still young and there is plenty of time for you to train for and successfully complete a triathlon. Need more help?


Here are ten tips for first-time triathletes:

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To Wetsuit or Not to Wetsuit

triathlon_wetsuits-300x261Spandex. Lycra. Neoprene. Gear can confuse any new triathlete. It’s one of the issues that overwhelms the non-triathlete considering triathlon for the first time. Sure, we need a bike and a pair of running shoes, a helmet and just basic workout gear. And that’s it, right? Or is it? Below we’ve located a helpful article explaining one of the more complex pieces of gear for the triathlete: the wetsuit. Read on. 

Every year around this time, we at TSC receive a deluge of questions about wetsuits, so I want to spend this week tackling the most common ones:

Q: Do I have to buy a wetsuit:
A: Ultimately no. For short races like sprint triathlons that happen in pools or typically warm water races like Eagleman and Kona, wetsuits are not only not needed but also sometimes banned because of temperature limits. However, as the distance of a race increases the more and more wetsuits help you out with body position and efficiency thus saving you time and energy. They also help keep you warm and therefore relaxed, which can be a huge help at races like Lake Tahoe.

However, even then you do not need to buy one.

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A Fashion Statement: What to Wear and When to Wear It

HITS 2012 Marble Falls TriathlonBy Paul Johnson

You are signed up for your first race, you are training, and the race date is fast approaching. Now your mind shifts to the race-day logistics. A common question from newcomers to triathlon is “what do you wear during the race?” The good news is that there is more than one right answer to this question, and here are a few thoughts that can help you properly gear up for your training and race. HITS races occur throughout the country and in a variety of climates and weather conditions, so there might be a few ways to answer this question. While we realize that everyone will have their own budget as well as a different desired performance level when they race in a triathlon, here are a few hard and fast rules when it comes to triathlon clothing.

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