In triathlon, I really find it fascinating how small changes can make your life so much easier. In this article, you will find my 10 favorites hacks of all time. They are easy, inexpensive, and extremely useful. Here we go:
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1. TURN YOUR WETSUIT INSIDE OUT
I got really lucky when I rented a wetsuit for the first time. The shop owner was a triathlete himself and showed me his hack to put a wetsuit on. I have been using his technique ever since!
The hack is to turn your wetsuit completely inside out apart from 5 inches at the four extremities. You can see the difference in the picture below. I turned completely the left side but kept some inches on the right side.
Once you have roughly 5 inches left on the four extremities, lay your wetsuit on the floor with the torso part on the top.
For putting it on, I find it easier to sit down and fit one leg at a time. Then I stand and fit the rest of my wetsuit.
2. KEEP YOUR SOCK WHEN PUTTING ON YOUR WETSUIT
Another hack to put a wetsuit on is to keep your socks on. Your feet will slide much faster. In races, triathletes often use plastic bags for the same purpose. Even though it is also working, I still prefer using socks as it also reduces the risk of destroying your wetsuit with your toenails.
3. PRESCRIPTION SWIM GOGGLES EXIST!
Obviously, if you don’t wear prescription glasses, you can skip this hack. If you do, you will be happy to read that you can get swimming goggles with two corrected lenses at a reasonable price (~$50). I wish I would have known that earlier!
I wrote an entire article explaining what is important to know before buying a pair, check it here.
4. SPOT A COUPLE OF LANDMARKS BEFORE THE RACE START
Swimming is by far my weakest discipline in triathlon. I lose a lot of time due to poor technique, but a simple trick helps me tremendously to swim straighter.
Instead of targeting swimming buoys that can be hard to spot during a race, I will always study the swim course before the race start and see if I can spot a specific landmark. It might be a specific house or a high tree, basically anything out of the ordinary which would still guide me in the right direction. Having such a landmark makes it much easier to swim in the right direction.
5. TAPE EACH GEL SEPARATELY ON THEIR OPENING LINE
It is really common to see triathletes use electric tapes to store their gels on their top tube. The hack is to tape each of them separately and on their opening line. When you take one gel, the plastic will break on its opening line, and you can consume the gel immediately without using your teeth. Just make sure you clean your top tube after the race 😉
6. USE AN ELASTIC BAND TO KEEP YOUR CYCLING SHOES IN PLACE
For triathletes looking to improve their transition time, an easy hack is to tie their cycling shoes on one side to the front derailleur and on the other side to the frame or rear axle with the help of an elastic band. The shoes will remain stable in transition even when you are running towards the starting line with your bike. And the elastic will break once you are starting to pedal.
7. MAKE SURE YOUR BIKE IS ON AN EASY GEAR
An easy tip to understand but one that many triathletes forget to apply. Before each ride, I took the habit of performing a so-called M check on my bike. It takes less than a minute to perform, and it makes sure I am checking the most important parts of my bike before riding it.
When it comes to race day, I simply add one step: checking that I am on an easy gear.
Here is a video from Tredz Bikes which explains the M check:
8. INVEST IN A SPECIFIC REPAIR KIT BOTTLE / SADDLEBAG
I personally struggled to find a good place to store my repair kit. I started with a saddlebag, which, to be honest, can often look really odd on an aero road bike, and experienced a lot of different solutions along the way.
I found two approaches that work perfectly for me:
- put all my tools in a really small saddlebag. After trying several ones, I love the Castelli mini (Amazon Affiliate link). It looks really small on the bike but has enough space for a tiny hand pump, a lightweight innertube, a CO2 inflator and cartridge, 2 small tire levers, a multi-tool, some cash, and a chain-link.
- put all my essential tools in a bottle that holds on to a standard bottle holder. After testing different bottles, I think I liked the BBB BTL-18 the most (link to their website). It has a particular shape that makes the bottle hold perfectly in its cage, and the top of the bottle contains a small storage place for a banknote and a chainlink. I personally use the 630mL. It has enough place for an inner tube, 2 tire levers, a multi-tool, a puncture kit, a CO2 inflator and cartridge, some cash, and a chain-link.
9. USE ELASTIC SHOELACES ON YOUR RUNNING SHOES
Apart from using specific shoes (read carbon plates…), there are not many hacks you can apply while running. The one that saves me a lot of time in transition is definitely using elastic shoelaces. I like the ones from Xtenex, which stay in place once set.
A lot of different models exist. Just make sure to try them before race day!
10. INVEST IN A BIKE SOCK
The last hack on my list is a bag for storing your bike while traveling. We are using it each time we stay in a hotel for training or a race.
Those bags on the pictures are from a company called Velo sock. They have a lot of different models available (Amazon affiliate link). In case you didn’t know, I’m French, and my wife is Austrian, hence our specific bag colors 😀