Triathlon Race Day Preparation Warm Up

Triathlon Race Day Preparation Warm Up

For Olympic and Sprint Distance Triathlons

When racing the shorter distance triathlons, proper transition set-up and warm-up are essential to having a successful race. Just by following the few simple steps below, you can have a more successful and enjoyable race.

Make sure to arrive early on race morning. This will give you time to register, stretch, get numbered, and get to the bathroom. When you get into transition area, figure out where the swim exit and entrance to the transition area is, and then position your bike in the best rack possible. I would suggest being closer to the bike exit, so you don’t have to run very far with your bike. Walk this once or twice to get orientated – and since everything will be at full speed during the race, my suggestion is to run it all full speed at least once before the race.

Next, get in a short workout in each sport before the race. I like to work my way backwards, from run to swim. I suggest a run of about 15-20 minutes and with a few strides (surges) of 15-20 seconds. At the end of the run, run into the transition like you are coming from the swim, run to your rack, put on your bike shoes, helmet, and glasses and take your bike and spin for a short 10-15 minutes with 4-6, 10-15 second sprints out of the saddle. After the bike warm-up, enter back into the transition area and go through the paces as if you were actually in the race. Dismount, run to your transition area, take off your helmet, put on your running shoes on and head out toward the Run exit. Just like in the race.

Next set up the swim-bike and bike-run transitions the way you like them. I prefer shoes on the ground, helmet up with glasses inside. After you set this up, put your sun block on head to the swim start. A proper warm-up of 200-500 yards before a race will get you ready for the start. There have been many times I have seen athletes start out too fast without properly warming up. Starting the race without a proper warm-up can ruin your whole race. I know this from experience! ;-)

Remember preparing yourself is half the battle.

Arrive Early – 90 minutes before the start
Figure where you enter and exit the transition area for each event and mentally run through this a few times.
Get a proper warm-up in each event with a few accelerations to get the heart rate up and the blood pumping – prepare the body for the race!
Make sure your transition area is set up the way you want it.
Don’t forget to load your water bottle on your bike. Any engine needs fuel!
Michael Ricci is a USAT certified coach. He can be reached for personal coaching at


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