The Definitive IRONMAN Packing List
A handy guide to everything you need for your big day, with bonus race-day tips.
by Dave Schell
Packing your bag for a triathlon is a lot like going on vacation. There’s a lot of stuff to remember, and if you forget a key piece of your wardrobe you could end up standing on the sidelines cheering rather than participating. This race-day checklist will get you to the start line well prepared for any situation. Try copying it to a note on your smart phone where it can be accessed easily any time you need it.
Two approaches help me tackle the daunting task of packing for a full day of swim-bike-run. First, I thinking about packing in terms of each leg of the race, which makes it easier to remember the appropriate gear. Second, packing well in advance of the race, depending on how far you’re traveling, will help you avoid and unnecessary stress on race eve and race morning.
If you’re traveling quite a distance to your race, there are a few items you might consider bringing with you. Do you like to have your special brand of oatmeal on race morning, for example? Do you like to hydrate leading up to the race with a favorite product? How about those compression socks you were sure were responsible for your last PR? The list below contains some suggestions for pre-race items that are often overlooked or forgotten.
â¢Training clothes for final workouts
â¢Casual clothes and sunglasses
â¢Gear (watches, power meters)
â¢Hear-rate monitor strap
â¢Charging cords for devices and phone
â¢Favorite pre-race snacks
â¢Blunt scissors to trim stickers and race numbers into a more aerodynamic shape (pack in checked baggage)
For the swim try to anticipate the conditions and what you might be swimming in on race day. The biggest element you need to consider is the temperature of the water. Do some research ahead of time to learn whether the race is historically wetsuit-legal or not, remembering that it might be a race-day call. You should always bring your wetsuit just in case, but if there is a chance that you wonât be allowed to wear it, pack a race kit that works well in the water. Better yet, pack a speed suit to wear over your kit. And don’t forget the body glide for wetsuit problem areas.
It’s also a good idea to pack multiple pairs of goggles with different tints. You never know if you’ll be looking into a bright sun or overcast clouds. Give the extra pair to a family member or friend so they’re within reach should you need them. Some athletes like to bring an old pair of sandals or socks to protect their feet, which they then discard before jumping in the water. Also consider packing an old t-shirt or towel to put in transition so that you can wipe any dirt or sand off your feet before starting the bike ride. While many races have sunscreen stations where you’ll be able to have it applied, you may want to apply a favorite waterproof sunscreen before the swim so you can skip that stop. Many athletes also apply chamois cream before the swim. (See also our complete guide for swim training and racing.)
â¢Warm clothes for race morning
â¢Tri shorts and top, speedsuit, or tri suit
â¢2 sets of goggles (one tinted and one lighter pair)
â¢Old pair of sandals or socks
â¢Wetsuit or swimskin
â¢Body glide or lube
â¢Old shirt or towel
First and foremost, a week before your race, make sure your bike is in working order by giving it a quick once-over or better yet, taking it in for a professional tune-up. Tighten any loose bolts and check the tires for any signs of impending doomâsuch as cuts or nicks. Pack your tool bag with an extra tube, CO2, tire levers, and a mutli-tool. If you are flying to your race remember to leave your CO2 at home and buy one at the expo. Pump your tires to the desired pressure the morning of the race using a floor pump and toss it in your car just in case.
When it comes to cycling equipment, variety is the spice of life as different conditions may call for different choices. For a hot day (such as at IRONMAN Texas) you may opt for a traditional well-ventilated road helmet sacrificing some aerodynamic advantage to avoid overheating. (Consider bringing a road helmet for pre-race training, if you’re arriving to your destination early and have the room.) In cooler conditions like IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside, arm warmers and toe covers may be nice to have. Cycling shoes and socks (if you choose to wear them) are good in all conditions as are a pair of glasses to keep the sun, bugs, and road grit out of your eyes. Equally important as equipment choice is fuel, including water bottles filled with your drink of choice and other nutrition like gels or blocks which you will be consuming on the bike. (See also our complete guide for bike training and racing.)
â¢Cycling shoes and socks (if wearing)
â¢Nutrition (use ziploc bags to bring just the amount you need)
â¢Seat bag and tool kit: tube, CO2, levers, multi-tool
â¢Floor pump (for local races only; pump up your tires before you leave home but leave the pump in your car just in case)
Running requires the least amount of prep and you can save space in your bag by wearing the shoes and hat or visor you intend to race in, if you’d like. (Especially if the race is local.) If you have a late start and the transition area will be closed, you may want to bring an extra set of shoes to warm up in while leaving your race shoes in the transition area. For longer races, many people like to use a nutrition belt with their drink of choice. Also, don’t forget to pack a race belt to attach your number to and slip it on in T2. (See also our complete guide for run training and racing.)
â¢Running shoes (2 pairs if you have a late start time. One to leave in transition and one to warm up in)
â¢Nutrition belt, if preferred over aid stations
â¢Vaseline, powder, band-aids for running sockless or post race
Bonus: Race day tips
â On the morning of the race, wake up early and eat about three to four hours before your start time. Eat only familiar, easily-digestible foods (example: banana and a bagel with jam). Stop drinking fluids about two hours before your start time but continue to sip as needed.
â Get to the race venue early to secure a good spot in transition, if not already assigned. Ideally, this is a spot on the end of the rack close to the bike in/out. Make a mental note of landmarks (ie: count racks) to help you easily find your rack. Organize your gear in the order that you will use it running through transitions in your mind.
â Complete a good 10 to 15 minute running warm-up about 45 minutes before start time. If allowed, put on your wetsuit and hop in the water for a good swim warm-up 15 to 20 minutes before your start time. Be on the line five to 10 minutes before the gun goes off for your wave or mass start. Most importantly, remember that this is why you put in all those training hours. Believe in your training, do your best and have fun!
Race day checklist by Dave Schell of FBD Multisport (www.FBDmultisport.com)
Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2015/02/ironman-packing-list.aspx#ixzz3TJT5zpPY