Preparation for a race is really important and it’s often overlooked or taken very lightly. You often hear people saying stuff like, “I’m just a leisure athlete, no need to be so serious” “It’s ok if I don’t finish this race strong, I didn’t train that hard for it anyways.”
Regardless, if you have signed up for something, why not give it a decent go at it. Nobody wants to show up at the starting line forgetting their timing chip, turn up late when their wave have already started, getting a flat on the bike (><) during the World Championships.
A couple of buddies will be taking part in their very first triathlon, this post is for you guys ok!!
1) Admin stuff
Find out which wave I’m in and the starting time of that wave, from there I’ll decide how early I need to be there. Remember this is a big event with a LOT of participants; so give yourself plenty of time to find parking, walk to the event site, get your body marking done, set up your transition area and relax one corner to do your warm up. Take note of the parking areas (if you’re driving), road closures and where the event and transition area is.
Run through the list thoroughly and make sure you’ve got everything you need. I covered this in my post “Race Prep : Megatri“, make a list so you won’t forget. I make a list even for running events where the logistics are less complicated, but missing out something crucial would be disastrous, leading to a very very unpleasant race.
Tags – Do as much as you can at home like the helmet, bike, top or race belt. You don’t want to be fumbling and looking for that missing sticker at the event area. Put the other tags on in the morning before you head out.
Swim – Race cap, googles with anti fog, 1 gel/energy bar, heart rate monitor.
Bike – Get your bike cleaned up, check your tires for excessive wear, pump your tires and oil your chain. Pack spares if you want to. I’ll be bringing the Vittoria pit stop as I don’t want to be changing my inner tube on such a short and quick paced race.
Run – I use elastic laces for my running shoes, saves plenty of time and they are really comfortable. There are plenty of different brands and you can find them at most running shops. Might need a cap so I’d probably keep that handy at the transition area.
3) Transition Area set up
Triathlon races in Singapore are pretty similar in terms of transition area. I’ve done 2 triathlons, the Cold Storage Triathlon at East Coast Park had their transition area at a grass field while the MegaTri was in a carpark. Lay out your stuff neatly and have a towel to dry/clean your feet, good idea to have a spare bottle of drink. I used a groundsheet during MegaTri and folded it over to prevent my stuff from getting wet when it rained.
Short race so that means nutrition shouldn’t be that complicated. I’m planning to have a cookie or gel before the swim and one or two during the bike. Gatorade in the bottle on my bike and a bottle of water at my transition set up. Nutrition planning on longer races may need a bit of planning and it’s often overlooked. Many people don’t think it’s that important, and you can see it at marathons where the first food station with bananas or gels are placed at the 20+km mark, by then it’s already too late to be replenishing your depleted carbohydrate levels.
Keep calm on the swim, nervous energy is energy lost as well. I’ll have to remind myself to find my rhythm in the choppy and crowded sea swim, also trying to draft and navigate accurately to avoid swimming more than I need to. Bike will be a quick 20km so I’m hoping to clock about 33-35km/h on the flat course along coastal road. Hopefully leaving some energy left to grit my teeth through the 5km run. Pretty hard to put a prediction down for the timings, but I’m hoping a 17min swim, 35min ride and 22min run, plus some fluffing about in transition, to finish within 1:20… hopefully.
Lastly, enjoy the race, soak in the atmosphere! Encourage fellow racers, smile at knowing that the person next to you also paid almost a hundred bucks to suffer on a beautiful Sunday. I hope you guys feel how I felt on my first race; for those who won’t have the privilege to experience it this weekend. I hope this blog with make you toy with the idea of taking your first step in trying out this sport.