A Guide to Packing for a Triathlon

So, now that you all know how to set up your transition area, let’s back up… and pack up for race day. Below you’ll find the packing list that, until now, has only existed in my head. These are the things I think of before every triathlon and typically try to pack up the day beforehand… Most tri’s are not local (which means race morning packet pickup) and start so early that we end up having to wake up at the crack of dawn just to get there.

This weekend will be no different. My birthday is tomorrow and on Saturday I’ll race with my actual age on the back of my left calf for the first time this season (something my husband will never be able to do with a December birthday… unless we move to the southern hemisphere). We are racing in Hickory (an hour away) and the race starts at 7:30am… so on the road by 5:30am, awake by 5am, means definitely being packed up the night before.


So here’s my typical triathlon packing list:

What to Wear

  • Tri suit
  • Sweats
  • Flip flops

Must Haves (to pick up your packet)

  • ID
  • USAT membership card (if you are a member… it’s worth it if you do more than 4 tris in a season)

What to pack for the Race/Transition

  • Goggles
  • Swim cap (most races will give you one, but it’s always good to have a backup)
  • Towels (at least two)
  • Bike shoes
  • Bike (w/ number)
  • Helmet (w/ number)
  • Sunglasses
  • Running shoes
  • Socks (if you are wearing them… I recommend getting to the point where you don’t)
  • Race belt (w/ number)
  • Water bottles (usually 2 unless you are going a half or full iron distance)
  • Nutrition

Optional/Nice to Haves

  • Sunscreen (I recommend a high SPF spray)
  • Timing chip anklet
  • Extra tube/repair kit (if you don’t bring it, you are planning to not finish if you get a flat)
  • Bike pump (leave it in the car unless you want it to get passed around the entire transition area)
  • Watch
  • Body glide

Post Race Bag

  • Change of clothes
  • Footwear of choice
  • Towel
  • Toiletries
  • Drink and snack of choice (Reward yourself!)

Hope you found this helpful! Now, I need to go pack!


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