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Triathlon Logistics

April 30, 2011

Good Morning Friends!

I hope you’re having a great start to your weekend. I was up bright and early at 4:30 for my race wake up call. How come it’s so much easier to wake up for a race than it is for work or a morning workout? Must be that race day adrenaline and excitement.

I am super pumped about my race this morning, in fact, I might be in the midst of it right now, keep your fingers crossed it goes well. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s a Super Sprint length which means it should be a pretty quick race. I’ve never done a tri of this distance (300 yd swim, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run). The ones I’ve done were a little longer and I’m curious to find out how it goes. I have a set a goal for myself to finish in about 1 hour.

This is the third triathlon I’ve done and I definitely feel more comfortable with the logistics of how a triathlon works. If you’ve never done a tri before the whole packet pick up, transition set up, and other factors can seem really overwhelming at first. It’s much different than just a running race and you have to put a lot more thought into the race set-up other than just showing up in your running shoes and running from start to finish.

Packet Pick-Up

I picked up my packet Thursday and I must say this is one of my favorite race shirts ever. It’s a technical T-shirt, meaning, it’s a sports dri-fit shirt. I really like the women’s fitted v-neck cut and the baby blue color. Cute race shirts are the bomb!

The packet came with the usual food samples, fliers, and t-shirt. Check out my post about what’s in a race packet for more information on what’s generally in a race packet. What’s special about a triathlon race packet is that you also get a swim cap (to match your wave), and 3 race numbers.

The small sticker race number is for the front of your bike helmet.

The larger double sided race number is to be attached to your bike. This one had adhesive so it was easy to get on, but often you will have to use provided twist ties to fasten on the race number, or find another way (for my first tri I used a shoelace and it worked great).

The traditional looking race number is to be worn on the front of your shirt or around your waist for the run.


What to Wear

The fact that you have to swim, bike, and run can make you really nervous about what is best to wear for the event. Personally, I wear a pair of tri shorts, a sports bra I don’t mind getting wet, and tennis shoes without socks. Attire is going to vary drastically from person to person. Pearl Izumi, TYR, and Zoot Sports have a great selection of tri suits to choose from, so you can swim, bike run, all in the same outfit.

Tri shorts/tri specific suits are not absolutely necessary. I’ve seen people complete a tri in a bathing suit and shorts. I myself, however, find that a pair or tri shorts are beneficial because they dry very quickly, provide cushion on the bike, and make for easier transitions. And just so you know tri shorts don’t look flattering on anyone- ask me and my friend. We had an interesting episode with tri shorts at our last tri.

If you don’t feel comfortable showing too much skin, a tri suit or a shirt would work great. In my first triathlon I made the mistake of wearing a cotton tank top. Because I was wet for the swim my shirt got wet, and that made me feel so much heavier during the run. I would definitely suggest a very lightweight water resistant type shirt because it will get wet.

Fit Chick Britt Triathlon Tip: If you choose to throw on a shirt after the swim safety pin your race number to your shirt before the race starts or buy a race belt where you can just buckle the race number on to save time in transition.


Body Marking

Before entering into transition to set up you will be marked with your race number on both shoulder and quads and your age will be marked on the back of your calf.



This can be one of the biggest fears of the triathlon. The key for me is to not over think it. Just do what you need to do and go.

When you’re done setting up the transition area all you need to bring with you is your swim cap and goggles. Leave everything else behind in transition.

For transitions here’s what I do:

Swim/Bike Transition: Wipe my feet off on my towel, slip on my shoes, put on my sunglasses, fasten my race belt with number, strap on my helmet, grab my bike, and head out for the bike exit.

Bike/Run Transition: Put my bike back on the rack, take my helmet off, grab water if needed, and head for the run exit.

Fit Chick Britt Triathlon Tip: While setting up your gear in transition make sure to take note and remember where the entrances and exits are. They are usually marked well with signs. If you have questions, make sure to ask volunteers.

 Wave Start

In your packet you will also receive information for which wave (usually divided by age/gender) you will start in. For safety and congestion reasons the race will be split into different waves starting in 3-10 minute increments. Make sure you pay attention to what time your wave starts. You should be starting in a wave where everyone around you has the same cap color. You are to wear the cap provided to coordinate with your wave, and for safety reasons (you can be spotted better in a bright colored cap).

Things to Remember:

  • Get there early to set up your transition area, especially if the bike racks are first come first serve.
  • Be courteous and don’t take up too much space in the transition areas.
  • Check out where the swim buoys are before the race begins
  • Do not wear headphones.
  • Stay 3 bike lengths behind other riders.
  • If you need to pass, do so on the left and in 15 seconds or less.
  • A quick shout of “on your left” is a great notice to the rider in front of you that you are about to pass.
  • Keep your helmet buckled at all times while on the bike.
  • Your race number must be worn in the front during the run.


I hope you enjoyed the tips and insight, and I hope I didn’t scare you off with too much information. Triathlons are really fun and a true test of endurance and athleticism. All the logistics are truly a breeze when you get there and get filled with the excitement of the events!

Well, I gotta run swim, bike, run. Wish me luck!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. shiningfromwithin permalink
    April 30, 2011 7:51 AM

    good luck!! I’m sure you’ll knock it out of the park 😀 All your tips make me really want to sign up for a tri but I get scared about the swim portion – I don’t want to be kicked in the face and I don’t really have a bike. It’s definitely on my to-do list though. I think I would do a tri like the one you’re doing, just a quick one to get a ‘taste’ of things.
    I love that they gave you a technical t-shirt, those are WAY better than cotton!

  2. April 30, 2011 8:17 AM

    I think we got a technical t-shirt for the Blue Bell run; it says dry-fit on it? This was overwhelming, but it didn’t scare me off; it made me want to do it one day! I have to learn how to swim first. 🙂 After this, would you say it’s easier to do a short tri or a longer one? Can’t wait to see how you did!

  3. April 30, 2011 9:24 AM

    This was a great post with so many great tips! GOOD LUCK! Can’t wait to read about how you did!

  4. April 30, 2011 1:25 PM

    I hope your race goes well!! I really like that shirt 🙂

  5. Lettuce Choose Healthy permalink
    April 30, 2011 2:00 PM

    good luck ! You are such a rockstar by completing a triathlon!

  6. April 30, 2011 2:04 PM

    Good luck, girl!!! I know you’re going to do awesome! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  7. May 1, 2011 12:25 AM

    Good luck, good luck, good luck!!! You’ll rock it 🙂

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