24 Insider Tips for a Smoother Ironman

The Bike Course Continued

  • Shout clearly what you want. Even point at a volunteer at the same time if you can.
  • Slow down before you take a hand off. Unless you're a pro, you'll easily miss what you want if you're going too fast. 
  • Pay attention to other athletes. Aid stations can be very hazardous, especially if there are a number of riders going through simultaneously. Assume everyone else riding through has the bike handling skills of 5 year old riding without training wheels for the first time. Ride defensively, but also be courteous.

More: How to Prep Your Bike For Race Day

The Transition

Volunteers in the transition areas at Ironman Florida and Ironman Arizona had these tips:

More5 Tips for Superhuman Transitions

  • Don't get frustrated when a volunteer can't find your gear bag because your number sticker fell off. Before turning in your bags before the race, use a black marker (such as a Sharpie) to mark all your bags with your race number just in case. Do it on both sides with big, bold numbers.
  • Don't tie the bag strings in a knot. Tie it in a way that will be easy to untie in the transition tent when you're excited, nervous, anxious, delirious, or exhausted.
  • Don't pack a bunch of stuff in your bag that you're not going to need. Plan ahead and limit what's in there. Many people pack way too much and then have to make too many decisions in their fatigued or delirious state of mind.
  • Organize your stuff in the bag so everything will go more smoothly when you take things out. Roll your arm warmers so you can roll them up your arm to put them on. Roll your tight fitting tri race top so that it can be pulled down over your wet chest and back. If it gets rolled UNDER then you and the volunteer will really struggle to pull it down.
  • Squeeze some chamois butter into a plastic zipper bag or get one of those single use portions. It will be easy to open and apply.
  • Tell the assistant exactly what you need him or her to do. For example, "Please pull my top down." Or "I have an In-N-Out Burger in my hat. Please unwrap it for me." All the volunteers want to do is help you move through the tent quickly, smoothly, and without worry. Many will help you apply lotion, assist with clothing, put kinesio tape on you, or whatever. Take advantage of their assistance.
  • Stay focused on the task at hand. The volunteers don't care to listen to your amazing triathlon history. They just want to move you through. Stay focused on the task.

More: 4 Triathlon Transition Tips From Gale Bernhardt

About the Author

Skip Slade is a USAT Level 1 certified coach as well as the head triathlon coach for CCFA Team Challenge San Diego. He is very passionate about helping people find success with triathlon and has coached 97 athletes to cross the finish at TriRock through Team Challenge in the past two years.

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