Six Steps to an Awesome Triathlon

By Nicole Drummer


As we head into race season, we are often very focused on our training preparation for our upcoming race. But triathlons are complicated beasts, and the more planning and preparation you put into all aspects involved in racing, the better. Logistics such as travel, lodging, specific race logistics and your specific race plan should be attended to in a structured manner. If you don’t take care of the details, you could be left in a bit of a panic on race weekend, or worse, race morning. Here are six tips to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.


1) Know why you are doing the race. Is this a training race to dial in strategies for an upcoming event? Is this the most important race of the year? Or are you just doing it for fun? Knowing why you are doing the race will let you set the right mindset for race weekend.


2) Have specific goals. More importantly, write these goals down! They can be subjective (finish with a smile) or time specific (2:45 bike split). Whatever they are, write them down in a place you will see them. It’s also common to have three goals. One being “super achievable,” then “a solid race,” and then “an amazing race.” Your answer to #1 above will help you set these specific goals. If you work with a coach, be sure to discuss these goals with them.


3) Practice the “little” things. I’m talking about transitions to ensure they are smooth, efficient, and that you have what you need. I’m also talking about knowing how to change a flat tire or quickly take care of a dropped chain. Little things can turn into big things if you don’t practice them. 


4) Study the race materials. Race directors don’t put together athlete guides and race videos for nothing. Understand your entire weekend — know when to be where, and how to get there. Know the race course. Have driving directions ready if the race is in an unfamiliar place.


5) Get ready in your head. One key mental strategy for race preparation is to visualize a perfect race. Do this often in the weeks leading up to your race. While we can’t control external conditions like the weather or getting a flat, being ready in our head for a great race goes a long way. 


6) Have fun! OK, that may sound cheesy, but how often when we are racing are we are asking ourselves, “why am I doing this to myself again?” It’s certainly crossed my mind a few times. If it does, the answer is that “I am doing this because this is fantastic!” It is possible to be relaxed, have fun, and push yourself to your limits. In fact, you just might go faster if you are smiling.


These are just a few of the race preparation strategies you can utilize to get ready for a great race. Put in the physical training, mental training and prepare yourself for the details of your race, and you’ll be more than ready to handle any deviations that might come your way and smash through the finish line. 


Access more helpful information on how to better prepare yourself for your most successful race yet — visit


Nicole Drummer is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling Certified Coach, runs the endurance sport coaching company NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness (, and wants to make sure you have more fun and go faster whether you swim, bike, and run. You can find Coach Nicole onfacebook,twitter or contact her via email at


This article was originally published in USA Triathlon, Feb 2013.

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