Race Prep: Three Days Until the Race

author : Amy Kuitse
comments : 0

A few tips for beginners during taper week to settle your nerves. Includes a race day checklist and some race day tips.


I have got a team of 14 women from work together to complete their very first triathlon - and its happening THIS SUNDAY!!! My question is this: What would you want to hear when the race is THAT close and you are feeling a bit nervous? What is it about race day that seems daunting when you haven't done it before? Any ideas, tips for beginners or suggestions would be excellent. I just don't want to miss anything!!!



Congratulations, you have made it into taper week for your first race and are several days away from the starting line! Let’s face it, there is a lot of time and hard work that goes into preparing for a triathlon and three days before the race is not the time to lose it. One of the most helpful things we can do for ourselves is to have a plan and be prepared.

I have been given some great advice over the years and one of the best things I was ever told was the following: Train the Plan, Race the Plan. This is a very simple statement and easy to understand. Going through taper week is no different when it comes to “training the plan.” Stick with what your schedule and/or coach has given you. It is written this way for a reason. You may be feeling more rested, better energy, fresh legs, etc, but that does not mean you need to slip in a “little” extra training or “just one more interval.” Stick to the plan so you are rested and ready to go on race day.

Going along with following your plan, is trusting your training. I had the opportunity to listen to Mark Allen talk on a webinar provided by Infinit Nutrition recently. One of Mark’s tips was “Trust in Your Training.” This talk was directed at Ironman training and racing, but these tips can also be used for other distances. Throughout the week provide positive feedback to yourself. Remind yourself how well prepared you are, do positive self talk everyday leading into race day, and simply draw strength and confidence from your hard work. This mental preparation is as important as the physical preparation!

Another piece of preparation that will help you feel more relaxed is having a checklist of the things you will need on race day and could include everything from breakfast to the amount of water you plan to have. This list might look something like this:

Breakfast 2-3 hours before race start:
Bagel w/light layer of peanut butter
Cup of coffee
Pre Race Swim:
15’ prior to swim start take one gel and one Endurolyte

Transition Set-up:
Towel for gear to sit on
Water bottle for transitions

Transition Bag:



Body Glide


Gels & Endurolytes

Swim Cap  Water



Gels & Endurolytes


Number Belt

Riding Shoes


Water for bike


Number Belt
Hat or Visor

Gels & Endurolytes

This is just a sample list of what you may want in your transition bag. See BT's Race Day Checklist to customize and print-out. The key in this list again is that it has you prepared for race morning. Pack the day before, be prepared.  Practice transitions in your yard or living room. Laminate the list so you can use it over and over as your check list for each race. The longer the races are the longer the list may become and you can tweak this along the way, but having a list from the beginning will help you feel more prepared as you head to the starting line.

Your keys to a positive experience and staying calm are simple, ‘Train the plan, Race the plan,’ ‘Trust in your training,’ and create a checklist for race day gear and needs. So, do as Santa does...make a list, check it twice. He has been doing this for years and has done well with it.  In all seriousness...relax and have a great time. You are prepared and ready to go!!

All the best!


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date: May 5, 2009

Amy Kuitse