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Race Preparation

Swimming Equipment

Pool Based Swimming

  • A pair of anti fog goggles with a good water tight seal is essential as you don’t want leaky goggles for training or racing. Try before you buy is recommended as there are many different makes and designs; basically if you place your goggles on your face without the strap you should feel the suction around your eyes.
  • Swimming costume, trunks / tight fitting shorts (you don’t want baggy shorts as it will make swimming more difficult due to drag) or a triathlon trisuit. Open Water s<wimming.

Open Water Swimming

  • Anti fog goggles with a good seal as above and clear lenses for sighting and navigation.
  • A silicone swim hat has many functions. It will regain your body temperature in cooler water and lowers water resistance to give you a faster swim time. A brightly coloured hat is advisable for organisers to monitor you in the water. If you are competing in an event the organisers will provide another swim hat which you wear over the top or your own silicone hat.
  • A triathlon specific wetsuit is essential for keeping a comfortable body temperature, whilst increasing buoyancy and flexibility around the shoulders. The wetsuit should be a snug fit without being too restrictive especially around the neck or across the chest and legs. There are many different suits on the market and would advise you to try before you buy.
  • Applying a Wetsuit Lubricant (water based) around your neck, ankles and wrists will prevent chafing and discomfort. It will also make it easier to remove especially if you are in a triathlon race.

Tri4u Top Swimming Tips:

  1. Pacing – Aim to set off at a controlled pace and build in effort slightly to overcome fatigue in the latter part.
  2. Hand Entry – A common problem is the hands entering the water in line with the head or even worse, right across the head. Aim for a shoulder width hand entry as this will keep your shoulders relaxed (reducing the chance of injury) and it will also make you efficient when starting your arm pull.
  3. Body Roll – When swimming you should be aiming to have a constant rotation of around 45° through your body. This has 2 major benefits in the fact it improves your head position for effective breathing and it will help to lengthen your stroke.


Cycling Equipment

  • Bicycles come in a range of models, sizes and prices so it is important the bike is suitable for the intended use and user. I would recommend you go to a reputable cycle shop who can advise you on a bike, ensuring a correct frame size, saddle height, stem length and gearing will increase comfort and efficient riding; giving you a great biking experience.
  • A correctly fitted cycle helmet passing the safety standard requirements should always be worn. It could save your life if you have an accident.
  • For training purposes, a pair of cycle shorts, waterproof jacket and gloves will add to your comfort.

Tri4u Top Cycling Tips:

  1. Make sure you bike seat is at the right height. There should be a slight bend in your knee when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal revolution.
  2. Make sure you know how to use your gears effectively (understanding which gears make it easier on the up hills or faster on the flat sections)
  3. Try and ‘spin’ your legs relatively fast as it improves your efficiency when riding and you will become less fatigued.


Running Equipment

  • Running shoes with the correct cushioning and support are essential. A specialised running shop can look at your running technique and advice on the appropriate shoes available.
  • Clothing is a personal preference but be prepared for all weather. Items you may need are running leggings/shorts, running top, waterproof top, hat and gloves.

Tri4u Top Running Tips

  1. Stay relaxed (especially in your shoulders) if you become tense your muscle demand an increase in oxygen.
  2. Keep looking forward. It sounds simple but by looking forward instead of down, it will open up your chest and make it easier to breathe.
  3. Gradually build up your running distance which will provide an endurance base. Then introduce interval running at a higher intensity over shorter distances. Try and monitor your progress and have a target distance or time in mind.


Race Day

Arrive in plenty of time before your race time. On arrival, go to registration where you will be supplied with the relevant information and race numbers. Up to 4 numbers will normally be issued, 1 for the bike, 1 for the helmet, and 2 for your race number belt. If it is a triathlon you will need to set everything up in the transition area first. Familiarise yourself with the course especially the swim start, exit, transition area and most importantly the finish. Many events have multiple laps and it is up to you to count them for yourself. All this information will be in the race pack and reiterated at the race briefing before the start.


  • Allow plenty of time to change into your wetsuit if it is an open water swim. Assess the conditions before you enter the water. It is a good idea to warm up with a short jog or some dynamic stretches to raise body temperature and heart rate before entering the water.
  • You will generally be given only a couple of minutes to ‘warm up’ in the water. Go in slowly and acclimatise, making sure goggles are fitting correctly. You will either start in the water (deep water start) or a beach start (running from the shore/beach into the water). Either way if you are a little nervous then starting at the side of the group or slightly towards the back will allow you to have more time and space.


Make sure you are aware of the bike course, profile and technical aspects. A good way to do this if possible is the drive round the course before the race or cycle the course 2 – 3 weeks in advance of the race.

Be aware of the Drafting Rule as explained below:

The draft zone is a rectangle measuring 7 metres long by 3 metres wide which surrounds every cycle on the cycle course. The front edge of the front wheel defines the centre of the leading 3 metre edge of the rectangle. A competitor may enter the draft zone of another competitor but must be seen to be progressing through that zone. A maximum of 15 seconds is allowed to progress though the draft zone of another competitor. If an overtaking manoeuvre is not completed within 15 seconds, the overtaking cyclist must drop back.


  • The run course may also be multiple laps. It may take up to 800m for your legs to adapt to your natural running style. Even paced running is beneficial. Try and stay relaxed.
  • Make sure your number is on the front so that you can be seen as you cross the line.


Completing your 1st pool based triathlon

On arrival go to ‘registration’ where you will be given race details such as start times, race numbers and at this time body marking will take place (your race number will be written on your arm / leg). Then go to the transition area where you will set your bike, helmet, running shoes, race number (either on a number belt or pinned on your top), drinks bottle for your bike, possibly bike shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. An announcement will be made for all participants to attend a ‘race briefing’ giving full details and any changes. At this point you should be familiar with the distances, number of lengths for the swim, laps for bike and run. Arrive on poolside in sufficient time where you will be directed to your swim lane and given your swim order. After completing the swim you will enter transition and get ready for the bike.

One key rule – YOUR HELMET MUST BE SECURELY FASTENED BEFORE TOUCHING YOUR BIKE. Put on any clothing you require and your race number (must be shown on the rear for the cycling) exit transition to the ‘mount line’. On the cycle leg remember the drafting rule (see cycling section). You must dismount from your bike before the official dismount line. Your cycle helmet must remain securely fastened until you have racked your bike back its correct position and then exit the transition for the run. (Note the transition area can be very busy with many athletes coming and going in different
directions) After completing the run you will cross the finish line! Enjoy it as you have just finished your first pool based triathlon.

Completing your 1st open water triathlon

  • The only real difference is that you will swim a course and generally have to wear a wetsuit.
  • Beware of the swimming direction and possible landmarks. Safety cover will be provided if you require any assistance during this discipline.
  • See the open water swim section for equipment details.

We have additional tips, information and training plans which can be accessed via our website or email

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