Triathlon Tips and Tricks
Most kids love running, biking, and swimming.
If you have never done a triathlon yourself, it is hard to know what to pack and what to wear. It seems simple enough. Run, bike, swim … or is it bike, swim, run?
Remember to review the specific instructions on the Event Website so that you and your child feel prepared. The more you know ahead of time the more fun everyone will have.
The Transition Area
The transition area is where bikes are kept (sometimes on racks but generally on the ground in the young kids’ triathlons) that are organized by age/year group to minimize confusion and lost bikes.
On race day, find your age/year group and then find your child’s numbered area within that and place the bike in this location.
The transition area is also where they leave all their gear: bike, helmet, towel, running shoes (bike shoes as well for those that are using these with road bikes), socks, t-shirt, race number (if one required), and spare hat for the run. If leaving gear/clothing it could be a good idea if it is a very busy triathlon to put it in a numbered race bag and hang it from the handlebar of their bike. Having their gear numbered and clearly identified and contained will ensure that their gear stays with their bike Kids can take their goggles with them for the swim.
Tip: Spend a moment to familiarize your child with the entry and exit gates so your child knows what to expect and where they are supposed to go next.
Kids are advised to wear goggles. Enjoy the swim – there are always plenty of adults around and the chance to stand up if needed for the younger age/year groups. Take a breather and then keep going
again if required.
Helmets mandatory and fun required!
Bring a towel to dry off (if needed), and then put on the t-shirt (and race number if one required) before the helmet (you’d be surprised at how many forget to do this).
Have the race bib already pinned on the t-shirt (if race number required). Shorts are not necessary (your child will still be wearing their bathing suit).
Tie shoes properly or get kids some elastic laces that allow for fast shoe putting on.
Tip: Kids are not used to putting socks and shoes on wet feet or riding a bike while dripping wet. It’s a good idea to practice running out of a pool, sitting on a towel, putting on t-shirt, socks, shoes, helmet, and riding around the block while still wet. Helmets must be done up before touching the bike. Safety first!
Kids will walk their bikes from where they change to the designated spot marked for getting on their bikes.
There will be a clearly marked area at the end of the bike course where they must dismount their bike.
Check the bike ahead of time to ensure their seat is the right height, tires are inflated, the chain is in good working order, and that they can manage the brakes.
You will never see bigger smiles than when your child rounds the curve leaving the transition area to head out for the run. They know the finish line is in sight. If it’s a super-hot day, a hat is a good idea, and it’s important to encourage them to stop at the water stations (if provided).
Kids should know how far they are running and follow the appropriate signs and volunteers that are there to point them in the right direction.
Talcum powder can help wet feet from sliding around in the shoes – shake some through the shoes before you leave them in transition.
Once the kids leave transition for the run, grab your camera and get yourself to the finish so you can cheer them on and snap photos of them smiling as they cross the line.
Key Gear List
- Wetsuit (if using one)
Bike (left in transition)
- Running shoes (bike shoes if using specific shoes for a road bike)
- Socks (if using)
- T-shirt (if wearing)
- Race number (If one is required – pre-pin this to the t-shirt for speed if wearing one. Older kids might want to try a race belt.)
- Spare hat for the run (if hot or you prefer running with one)
- Running shoes (note this is only for kids using road bikes with clip-in shoes)