Essentials for Triathlon Race Day

Essentials for Triathlon Race Day


Since you’ll only get out of your body what you put into it, it is important to be fully fueled and hydrated on race day. Pre-race, a Kind Healthy Grain Bar is a great on-the-go snack. For both before the race and during, Osmo Nutrition offers excellent active hydration options formulated separately for men and women. During the race, try the easy-to-stomach Clif Shot Energy Gels, which come in a variety of delicious flavors.

Tri Kit

While one-piece suits are also available, a separate top and bottom allow for easier bathroom breaks. Sugoi’s RS Tri Short and RS Tri Tank offer a great option for both men and women to be worn under the wetsuit. Thanks to ergonomic tailoring, these shorts tout a sleek, low-profile fit. Comprised of Ultra Aero fabric, this firmly stretchy knit is both comfortable and aerodynamic. The tank also includes rear fuel pockets and a top flap that cuts down on drag in the water.
$80 (tank) and $100 (shorts);


Not only can a good wetsuit help you retain some warmth in chilly waters, it also contributes to buoyancy, which thereby allows you to conserve precious energy during the swim. With strategically placed stretch panels, the 2XU V:3 Velocity Wetsuit is flexible and hydrodynamic to encourage increased forward motion. Along with a Roll Bar and Floating Zip panel, this is one of the highest performing wetsuits out there.

Wetsuit Lubricant

Protecting your skin from painful chafing, whether it is from a wetsuit or a tri top, can go a long way in ensuring comfort during a race. Mission Athlete’s Five Hour Anti-Chafe Stick is a great option if you’ve found you are vulnerable to hot spots in certain areas. Infused with natural oils, you don’t have to worry about it degrading your wetsuit over many wears.


When it comes to the swim, accurate sighting is paramount, so you won’t get far in the water without a good pair of goggles. TYR’s Special Ops 2.0 Polarized Goggles are perfect for open water swimming, providing comfort and eye protection. By filtering out 99.9% of surface glare, eye fatigue is reduced and clarity enhanced.

Swimming Cap

While most races will require you to wear their issued swim cap, it’s a good idea to have a second one available to double up if it’s cold. The TYR Latex Swim Cap is a no-fuss, basic option with a classic fit, which also reduces drag and bulk.


For T1, a towel may be necessary to dry your feet off as you make the transition from swim to bike. Designed by a triathlete, TriTowels provide brightly colored transition towels with fun sayings and inspirational quotes, making them not only functional, but also fashionable.


If you’re going to be out in the sun for any length of time, be sure to apply sunscreen pre-race. Inspired by professional triathletes Alicia Kaye and Jarrod Shoemaker, Endurance Shield Sunscreen is both sweatproof and waterproof. Providing SPF 45, it won’t run into your eyes or wash off, even during a long swim.
$24 (4oz);

Cycling Shoes

A pair of perfectly fitted cycling shoes makes a big difference in overall power and comfort on the bike. Shimano’s SH-TR32 are a great multisport option, as they make use of a 3D moisture control mesh upper. A quick-dry interior allow these to be easily worn without socks and the strap positioning makes for quick entry in transition.


You never know what can happen in a race, so it’s important to protect your noggin. The right helmet can also provide superior aerodynamics that can assist at higher speeds. The Specialized S-Works Evade is a sleek-fitting helmet that touts a unique 4th Dimension Cooling Systems to vent the area directly around your head when you’re out cranking on the open road. Soft, lightweight webbing also make it comfortable and durable over many miles.


Eye-protection is a must have, particularly on the bike. In addition to keeping your eyes shaded from the sun’s rays, it’ll protect you from debris floating through the air. Spy Optic’s Screw model offers a fog-free, interchangeable lens that provides 100% UV protection, as well as comfortable rubber nose pads and temple tips that will perform in wet and hot conditions.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is one of the keys to success, particularly on a hot day. If you aren’t hydrating throughout the bike portion of the race, you might end up crashing and burning on the run. Nathan’s AP Pro Aerobar Hydration System ($75) offers horizontal positioning so you have easy access to fluids in the aero position without increasing turbulence between your arms. For a more traditional option, check out CamelBak’s Podium Ice bottle ($25) which is insulated and keeps water cold four times longer than your average sport bottle.

Bike Pump

Having a pump handy can save you a whole lot of panic if you arrive in transition only to realize you have a flat tire. The Nashbar Earl Grey Floor Pump will work both on race day and through training. With an ergonomic handle and powerful pump, you can fill up to 160 psi quickly and without hassle.


While some triathletes go sans socks, if you’re worried about blisters, a pair of technical socks can be a huge asset. Wigwam’s Ironman Triathlete Pro Low Cut model employs Ultimax Pro and will keep your feet dry and blister-free in a lightweight package.

Running Shoes

Having a good pair of shoes that are easy to pull on in transition is important when it comes to getting out of T2 fast. The Zoot Ultra TT 7.0 will carry you through sprint races all the way up to full distance events. A superior Quick-Lace system makes for easy entry and TriDry will keep feet dry and blister free.

Race Belt

Rather than messing with safety pins, a race belt is a swift clip-on option for your bib number. Fuelbelt’s Reflective Race Number Belt is a simple solution with a snap buckle closure and soft elastic webbing construction. Fully adjustable, you won’t have to worry about it bouncing around on the run.

Compression Apparel

Many triathletes enjoy the benefits of compression gear, like better blood flow and oxygenation of the muscles, particularly for the calves. The SKINS MX Calf Tights are the perfect accessory and still allow you to wear your regular socks. In addition to reducing muscle fatigue, they also provide UPF 50+ sun protection.


A hat or visor can come in handy on a hot day, both shielding your face from the sun and keeping sweat out of your eyes. The Elite Collection from Headsweats offers a little something extra in their Icefil technology, keeping you cool and effectively managing moisture. The Supervisor is sure to be a favorite among triathletes.


Being able to keep tabs on metrics like distance and pace can help motivate and keep you on track during a race. The Suunto Ambit2 S is built for triathletes, with multisport options and the latest GPS technology. Even better, with over 1,000 free accompanying apps, you can personalize the output of this watch in countless ways.

Transition Bag

Once you round up all your gear, you’ll need a way to effectively transport it. Enter the Speedo Triclops Bag. A pack specifically designed for triathletes, it has a host of pockets and compartments to fit all your equipment. Ergonomic 3D molded shoulder straps and a Turbo Vent system make it comfortable to tote around, even when it’s fully packed.
$100 (35ML) and $120 (50ML);