Tri Talk Tuesday – Race Day Rituals

Do you know what is exciting right now?

I actually have a race coming up!

I mean, it’s just a 5k. Just a 5k. I say that like there’s nothing to be gained or rewarded from running a 5k, but there is. And honestly, I’m just excited to be able to do a race at this point, no matter what it is or how long the distance.

Today for Tri Talk Tuesday Cynthia, Phaedra, and myself are chatting about Race Day Rituals.


For my 5k in a few weeks, there won’t be any rituals. It’s a short race and there’s no extra gear required. But when it comes to triathlons, I have some rituals that help keep me sane and organized.

The day before I pack, pack, and pack again. I take a few hours to pack all my stuff. I spread everything out on the floor and progressively add gear to it over the day. I stare at the gear spread out on the floor for hours, all day long, making sure nothing is ever left behind. I have a triathlon checklist that I like to go by too to make sure I have everything I could possibly need, including a lot of stuff I probably don’t. Chronic over packer, party of me. I also go over my race day plan and make sure I know what I need for that and get myself mentally prepped for what’s ahead.


On race day I like to show up as early as they let you into the parking lot. Sometimes that means there’s still a “4” as the first number on the clock. Because I like to take my time and get myself all situated and mentally prepared, so I always make sure I have wiggle room and then some for time.

As soon as we get to the race site I like to help my family find a spot to set up camp. I like knowing where they are during the race and where to find them afterwards when I’m tired and stumbling off the finish line. Once they secure a spot, I head off to transition.

Once in transition, I work pretty methodically. I lay out my towel under my bike, assuming it was racked the night before, otherwise I find my transition spot and get racked up. Once my towel is laid out and pull things out from my Ogio Endurance Transition Bag and begin to set everything up back to front, so running gear first on the back of the towel then cycling stuff second on the front. I get all my water bottles that I freeze the night before out and make sure everything is open and filled correctly before loading them onto my bike.


After I have everything set up to my liking, I walk all around the transition area, scouting out the bike in/out and the run in/out. I work on a system for figuring out how to find my bike when I’m disoriented from coming out the water and walk that path a few times. Then I head back to my spot and double check my transition to make sure I have everything I need and it’s set up in the way that I prefer.

All the while I’m doing this, I’m working my way through breakfast too. I eat Luna Bars and plain bagels on race morning and I usually start eating somewhere in the 2-3 hours out from race start and slowly eat 1-3 Luna Bars and sometimes half of a bagel, all depending on race distance. I stop eating 30-40 minutes before the race start and switch to water until I have to head down to swim. Then I wetsuit up and head down to the beach.


That’s the general walk through of my typical morning leading into race day. It’s become a pretty second nature morning ritual for me to function this way the hours leading up to a race start, and it definitely works for me. The methodical way of moving through everything helps keep my mind at ease before the gun goes off.

Is there a specific flow to your race day morning?

What do you do to keep your mind at ease before a big race?

Tri Talk Tuesday will be back again on September 8th and the theme for that day is Rest and Recovery! Have a post? Come link up and join the conversation!

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4 Replies to “Tri Talk Tuesday – Race Day Rituals”

    1. Yeah, race day is really the only time I justify setting an alarm for that early. I never know how people get up and train at like 4am.

  1. In general, my best races have been the ones with less performance expectations. Perhaps I’m more relaxed and not overthinking. I still prepare appropriately (and you give great tips here!), but don’t overstress. I’ve never nailed an “A” race, though (perhaps I’m bad at picking A races)
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