Archive for April, 2009

All the Gear! (a race day checklist)

It is easy to think that triathlon is quite simple, you swim, bike & run, sounds basic. Whilst on race day if you have prepared correctly it can look basic, it actually requires a substantial amount of equipment, meticulous preparation & dedication to a structured training plan. What I am covering here is the gear (equipment) required on race day.

This may not be a comprehensive list as each individual has specific requirements & some of the equipment may not always be required at every race, but it should give you an idea of the gear required to compete in a triathlon. Whilst the list will be lengthy one of the keys to success in racing is keeping it simple, therefore the aim is to keep your racing equipment used during the race & left in transitions, as simple & user friendly as possible with little changing or hassle involved.

A good way to prepare for your race is to plan in advance & write a list of equipment you need to race, so on the day before the race you simply need to pack what is on the list & nothing should be forgotten. Keep the list as a document on your computer & update it after every race so it is ready for next race (it will not be a static list).

Race Essentials

  • Directions to Race & Race Instructions (ensure you have read the race instructions well in advance & that you are fully aware of the course, transition location & content (eg water or energy drink etc) & location of aid stations)
  • Race number & timing chip (if already issued to you)
  • Race Licence


  • You will need a large plastic container (around 20 – 25 litre capacity) or a large sports bag to carry everything.
  • A towel or mat to put down next to your bike to arrange your equipment & wipe your feet on after the swim (nb in some races eg Ironman or 70.3 your equipment will be in bags so therefore you will not be setting up your equipment next to your bike)
  • Pre race nutrition (you should have eaten 2 hours prior to race, to give the body time to digest your meal)
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Bike tools in the event any maintenance is required (last minute adjustments to bike set up are definitely not recommended)
  • Recovery food or drink (for post race)


  • A wetsuit, not always essential, depending on temperature of the water but advisable if permitted. You do not always have to buy one, you can hire or borrow. Whatever your method most important is to make sure the fit is perfect & the wetsuit is designed for swimming.
  • Goggles, swim cap (as a back up), neoprene swim cap (for cold water)
  • Swim suit (a tri suit is recommended to save changing for the bike & run)
  • Lubricant to help the wet suit slip off & to stop chaffing (body glide or body butter are good products to achieve this purpose)
  • Plastic shopping bag to help put the wetsuit on (place over your hands or feet)
  • Sports watch (even though most races provide electronic timing we are all obsessed with monitoring our own time)


  • Racing Bike (should be cleaned, degreased & lubricated, tyres checked for any embedded objects)
  • Helmet (aero), sunglasses (or clear glasses if no sun)
  • Number belt
  • Spare tyre (if on tubs), tube, co2 cartridges or pump (even if you think you will not repair a puncture & continue racing, think about how you will get back to transition if you do puncture, it can be a long time waiting for a support vehicle)
  • Track pump (if possible pump your tyres up at your car & leave pump in your car)
  • Bike Shoes (including rubber bands if you attach your shoes to your pedals), socks are an optional extra
  • Water Bottles & any nutrition for the bike (eg energy drink, gels or bars)
  • Bento box (usually only in long distance races to store bars & gels)
  • Talcum powder (also for your running shoes)
  • Bike clothes if not racing in a tri suit


  • Running shoes with elastic laces. Socks again an optional extra depending on distance
  • Talcum powder
  • Run clothes if again not racing in a tri suit
  • Running cap
  • Nutrition required for run

Having a list you can rely on & check off when packing your gear should give you the confidence that nothing has been forgotten, so you can focus & concentrate your mind on the race ahead. Most of all you should sleep easy knowing that everything is packed.

Parys Qualifies for ETU Duathlon European Championship

A huge congratulations to Parys, a Trifocus triathlete who has qualified for the ETU Duathlon European Championship in Hungary.  Parys earnt her place and also placed 3rd overall at the Steyning Duathlon on Easter Monday.  The Steyning Duathlon is part of the UK National Duathlon Series & comprised of a very strong field. Placing 3rd was an added bonus as Parys’s goal was to achieve qualification for the European Championship. Well done Parys

Safety Never Takes A Day Off!

Corny but true! This is a catch phrase from a good friend of mine. We all need regular reminding that in our training & racing the safety of ourselves & others should be of paramount importance.

I was further reminded of this today when I was watching a road cycling race on part closed roads, when part of the bunch decided to overtake a bus on the inside, whilst a group (they were the minority) took the sensible option & stayed behind the bus until it was safe to move forward. This careless manoeuvre by the bunch amounted to nothing as they were told to neutralise & regroup (in this race riders are not allowed to overtake vehicles). Absolutely nothing was gained by this manoeuvre, but if an accident had occurred, think of the consequences 1. for the Bus driver, 2. for the Riders, 3. for the family & friends of the driver & rider, 4. for the future of that event. Therefore it goes without saying, always take the safe option & obey marshals & the rules of the event.

Safety In Training (this is not an exhaustive list & athletes should seek their own independent advice for correct safety procedures, this is more of an overview & to alert athletes to consider safety options).

Remember it is training & not racing. We are all addicted to going faster & getting a pb even in training, but never put this ahead of safety. Always obey the highway code (red lights, stop signs, roundabouts etc etc), always look (in front & behind) before changing lanes, moving off your line, stop at kerbs & look before crossing roads. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you should get the gist. The only time we should be aiming to complete a PB is in our races & particularly our ‘A’ races, you will not be able to do this if you don’t make it to race if you do not always take the safe option.

Swimming, Pool swimming, not too much should need to be said, however, check there is a life guard on duty & their position, check the direction of the lanes (clockwise or anticlockwise), ensure you are in the correct lane (Fast, Medium, Slow, Recreational), be aware of other lane users & don’t start a new length if a swimmer is about to turn for their next length, let faster swimmers overtake at the turns. If you show respect to your fellow swimmers hopefully they will show respect in return.

Open Water, Never swim alone (use the buddy system), always wear a bright coloured swim cap, only swim where it is designated for swimming. Preferably swim at a venue specifically set up for open water swimming with life guards in attendance, only swim in waterways that you are familiar with & know. Only swim in open water if you are a competent & confident swimmer, if not I suggest you seek out instruction on open water swimming.

Cycling: As stated above always obey the highway code and wear a helmet. If training in low light, night or early morning have bright lights at both the front & rear & wear reflective gear and brightly coloured clothing. Always look over your shoulder when starting to ride or changing lanes, be aware & observant of your surroundings. If cycling in a group cycle either two abreast (nice & close together) or single file, try to keep the groups small 10 (recommended) – 16 cyclists. Indicate your actions to other cars & cyclists, communicate (call or sign) all road conditions to other cyclists (eg hole, glass, stopping etc), if you hear a call pass it on. Carry a mobile phone & ID.

Running: If training in low light, night or early morning wear bright colours with reflective strips on your clothing, stop at a kerb, look & wait for other road users (trucks, buses, cars, bikes etc) prior to crossing a road. Obey traffic signals (i.e. don’t walk), do not run alone in isolated areas, carry id. If you must run with music, only have one ear piece in & keep the volume low so you can hear what is going on around you. I personally think it is safer to run without music.

Safety in Racing

Most of the principals above apply in racing. Obey the rules of the race, listen to the race briefing & obey the instructions of the marshals. Of particular importance be aware of other competitors & their actions, particularly on the bike, at the mount & dismount areas & in transition.

Whilst lengthy but not exhaustive, hopefully this has provided enough food for thought to always treat your safety as important.

Train safe

Upton Triathlon Coaching

Upton Triathlon Coaching

As an entrant to Upton Triathlon I would like to offer a coaching program to help you prepare for the big day.

What? I am offering a 13 week training program specifically tailored for Upton Tri (Sprint & Olympic distances). The program will consist of each week issuing you with the training sessions to be completed (around 7 hours per week of training). In addition throughout the program we will touch on other areas of racing to ensure you are prepared for the big day (eg, racing gear, transitions, nutrition etc). Athletes on the coaching program will also be entitled to contact me weekly either by telephone / skype or email, to discuss their progress and any concerns they may have in relation to their training & race

Who? Any one can subscribe to the coaching plan, but it will be tailored towards the beginner, novice or intermediate triathlete.

When? The program will commence on 13 April 2009 (athletes can commence a plan after this date, however the earlier you start, the better prepared you will be come race day)

Cost: A discounted rate of £60 per athlete (offer is only open to entrants of Upton Tri)

Coach:       My name is Andrew Tong, I am a British Triathlon qualified coach (Level 3). I have previously raced Upton tri myself & have coached athletes in this event, achieving 1st & 2nd in their categories, so the race & course are well known to me.

I am currently based in Australia but I am fully contactable on a UK mobile phone number, skype or email.

Contact: For further information please email me at or call me on +44 7952939233

I am a coach who is concerned with the individual & ensuring that each athlete achieves their potential whilst having a balanced lifestyle around them. I look forward to the opportunity of helping you reach your potential and being satisfied with your race result.

I am also able to provide coaching plans that are tailored specifically to the individuals season goals & their lifestyle & commitments, if you would like to make enquiries for a specific triathlon program please contact me.

“If you are comfortable with your training regime then you should be concerned. You can only make the big gains by being out of your comfort zone.”
- Me

Events Calendar

April 2009

useful links