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Triathlon - Do's and Don'ts

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Triathlon - Do's and Don'ts

Well, it is almost race week and you are all excited and at the same time anxious, be it your debut race or a target race. There are a lot of basic things that we generally forget and since three sports are involved, it is quite easy to ignore the subtleties and then face regret at the race venue. It is best to avoid last minute purchases and trying out products entirely foreign to our body.  Below is a list of do’s and don’ts for the pre-race day and the race day. 

Pre-Race Day


  • Clip your nails 1 week before race (you need them for peeling off wrappers)
  • Drink enough water (more than daily consumption)
  • Stay well hydrated including electrolytes (branded electrolyte drinks, lemon or fresh juices, tender coconut) 
  • Go for a slight jog, cycle or swim (can do all three or a brick too of very short distances)
  • Keep your cycle ready (deflate tubes overnight) 
  • Keep your puncture kit ready 
  • Prepare your swim to cycle transition bag (T1 Bag)
    1. Cycle jersey · Cycle shorts padded (if no tri suit/ tri shorts)
    2. Cycle Helmet (compulsory)
    3. Cycling Shoes & Socks (socks optional)
    4. Cycle gloves (optional)
    5. Leg sleeves (optional)
    6. Something light to eat after swim (energy gel/bar containing some protein)
    7. Towel (to wipe wet foot)
    8. Coolers or Sun glass  

Pre-Race Day-1
Pre-Race Day-2

Pre-Race Day


  • Prepare your cycle to run transition bag (T2 Bag)
    1. Running Shoes & Socks (Change of socks feels fresh) 
    2. Dry Fit jersey (if no tri suit/ tri shorts)
    3. Dry Fit shorts (with pocket, if no tri suit/ tri shorts) 
    4. Compression sleeves for arm/leg (optional)
    5. Cap 
    6. Vaseline 
    7. Race Belt with BIB pinned, along with nutrition 
  • Have a good fat, protein & carb loaded lunch and dinner 
  • Sleep early 


  • Don’t eat unhealthy, Eat the nutrition that works well for you. Some say fat, some say carbs. Don’t listen to others. 
  • Don’t eat spicy food 
  • Avoid carbonated drinks and liquor
  • Don’t walk too much
  • Avoid heavy workout  

Race Day


  • Wake up 2.5 hours before the race
  • Brush your teeth & wash your face
  • Eat your pre-race meal (a good healthy breakfast)
  • Drink water
  • Flush your stomach (yes, toilet)
  • Take a bath (if you are used to)
  • Apply anti-chaffing cream/Vaseline under your arm pits
  • Apply anti-chaffing cream Vaseline on your neck (for those who use tri suit)
  • Apply anti-chaffing cream Vaseline on your crotch · Go through the race course mentally including   
    • Swim       and its number of laps
    • Transition       T1 (its order and your plan)
    • Cycle       route and its number of laps
    • Transition       T2 (its order and your plan)
    • Run       route and its number of laps
  • Get your Nutrition gels and bars to stick on the cycle top tube
  • Get your pump for your cycle
  • Grab your swim cap & goggles
  • Change into swim suit or tri suit 
  • Warm up extensively for 15 min and also swim 200-300 m to get a feel of the water  


  • Don’t wake up late
  • Don’t eat anything spicy   

Race Day
During the Race

During the Race

  • At no point of time, try to accelerate during the race other than first 100 m of the swim
  • If your goggles get filled with water on one eye, breathe on the other side
  • If both eyes get filled, float to remove water 
  • Get out of water and head to transition
  • Remove your head cap and goggles on the run to T1 Bag
  • Get your towel and wipe your feet
  • Wear your shorts & jersey (if no tri suit/ tri shorts)
  • Wear one socks & same leg shoe and then next leg
  • Wear your helmet & sunglass
  • Eat the snack on the run to your cycle
  • Maintain the practiced average power/heart rate & cadence while cycling
  • Eat something every half hour while cycling (easily digestible gel/bar)
  • Drink often; alternate water and electrolyte every sip
  • Respect your fellow participants & volunteers
  • Thank your volunteers
  • Increase cadence at the end of your cycle leg to relax muscles
  • Head to transition
  • Change your shoes and socks
  • Eat a gel/bar at the transition
  • Wear your run outfit (if no tri suit/tri shorts)
  • Wear your socks & shoes (one leg at a time)
  • Try to avoid walking as much as possible (leads to over stretching of popliteal space)
  • Run at practiced pace 
  • Show your flair at the finish line 


Please note that there are several other things to this list that I might have missed or few things might not be useful to you from this, the choice is yours to follow this. And remember to always Have Fun!

About Raghul Ironman:

Raghul is the Head Coach at Tri Crash 'n' Burn.

A 4-time Ironman, who has coached more than a 100 athletes in the last 3 years. 


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