While writing my race report about the Château de Chantilly triathlon (http://chasingchrissie. wordpress.com/2011/09/01/chateau-de-chantilly-tri-race-report/) it occurred to me that while race mornings don’t stress me out any longer because they have become such routine, this may not be the case for everyone. So I though it may be helpful for some to see what I do.

Firstly, one of the tricks to get it right is to have a plan, and stick to it. You may adapt it for the next race if things didn’t quite work but at 5 am on a Sunday morning it’s best not to challenge your brain too much. I used to write the steps on a piece of paper the day before. By now this is no longer necessary, because I’ve obviously memorised it over the years. I pack my bags the night before, the same goes for attaching spares to my bike, and checking everything is in working order. But let’s have a look at it. While still at home/ accommodation:

  • Eat breakfast (first thing, so my body has time to digest it)
  • Prepare drinks bottles/nutrition for race
  • Take Asthma meds
  • Brush teeth
  • Put trisuit on
  • Put contact lenses in (if I still have to drive then I may do this when I get there)
  • Put on sunscreen (if I expect it to be sunny)
  • Put on more clothes
  • Grab bags and bike and go

For simplicity let’s assume this is a race where you rack you bike in the morning pre race not the night before. I like to arrive about 1 hour before transition closes or my race starts. Again I have a clear plan about setting up transition, and I usually follow the order of the race.

  • Attach stickers to bike/helmet (neat trick is to put a layer of electrical tape underneath – comes of easier and without leaving marks!)

  • Attach shoes to pedals and use rubber bands/dental floss to keep them horizontal; put some baby powder into shoes to help dry feet later (obviously don’t do this if you’re not doing a flying mount out of T1)

  • Put drinks bottles/nutrition on bike

  • Hang bike onto rack

  • Attach race number to number belt, put upside down helmet onto handlebars, put number belt and sunglasses inside

  • Lay out run shoes/nutrition/running hat/inhaler ready for T2

  • Attach Garmin to bike and make sure it’s found a satellite signal

  • Grab wetsuit/hat/goggles, as well as babyoil and vaseline to get ready for the swim

I travel to most my races by myself, so I usually leave my bag in transition, often wrapped up in a bin bag in case it rains. Sometimes if transition closes much earlier than my start time this is not ideal. In those cases I have mostly put my bag back into the car and then been lucky enough to find someone to keep hold of my car key while I’m racing.

Once I’m done with setting up transition I like going for a little warm up jog, and do some dry land swimming warm up exercises. This is also the time when I run through my race plan in my head and get focussed. Once that’s done I usually find someone to chat to, because I find it helps me relax. I’ve been known to keep conversation going right until the gun goes.

So that’s me. Different things work for different people, so try out what works for you. However, I’m certain a clear plan will be very useful in any case.

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