Spring is a time of renewal, cleaning, and for many athletes, the start of race season. As you enter the race prep phase of your training, it’s never too early to start organizing your gear and make sure everything is in good working order. Just like you would perform a spring cleaning for your home, you should do the same for the gear you will rely on for race day. Here are some suggestions for the swim, bike and run to ensure you’ll be race ready!
- If your wetsuit has been hanging in a storage closet or garage all winter, time to bust it out and give it a good lookover to make sure there are no tears or cuts in the neoprene from last season. If you do find one you can perhaps find a repair patch or someone to fix it at your local triathlon, bike or dive shop.
- Give your wetsuit a good rinse or soak in the tub. I have found the neoprene can seemingly shrink every so slightly after sitting unused for extended periods of time.
- Race goggles – have a dedicated pair of goggles you only use on race day. Make sure the lenses are clean and the strap is healthy and not on the verge of snapping.
- Invest in a set of light resistance stretch cords you can use when traveling for races and pre-swim muscle activation. A $7 investment is well worth it to keep your swim lats happy.
- If you have any races in cold weather or colder bodies of water, consider doubling up with a thicker silicone cap under the cap provided to you for the race.
- Keep your bike clean! If you have been riding outdoors this winter/early spring, you likely have a fair amount of road grime caked on your frame.
- Thoroughly clean your drivetrain. Use a degreaser like Simple Green to make your chain sparkle. Make sure to clean the pulleys in the back and chain rings up front. A clean drivetrain equals free speed.
- Consider replacing your chain if it has been a while. There are tools to measure this or you can take it to your local shop and have it checked. Over time the internal pins of the chain become worn and the chain “stretches”.
- If your brakes feel unresponsive or spongy or your shifting seems a bit off it may be time to replace the cables as these too stretch over time.
- Spice things up with new bar tape and make sure if riding a road bike that your bar end plugs are secured and in good condition.
- Check your race specific shoes or racing flats to make sure they are in good shape and do not need to be replaced. If you purchase new shoes which you plan to use in a race do few runs in them before race day. Always good to break in a new set of race kicks!
- Whether you do sprint, Olympic or long course races, transitions matter. Significant time can be saved in transition in using a set of speed laces instead of the standard laces. Your local running or triathlon shop should have these. You can also buy some elastic laces at a fabric store like Joann’s and make your own.
In addition to being a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach, Coach Brad Seng is also a USAT Youth and Junior Coach and he is a NESTA certified sports nutritionist. He is also the current coach of the 17 time National Champion CU Buffaloes. Coach Seng works with a wide variety of athletes and can help you achieve your goals.