When Rest Becomes Detraining

a triathlete working on his bike
December 15, 2016

Mike Ricci


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Training for an event begins months before you toe the line. Preparation, hard work, and focus are key elements that lead to race day success. Just as training is essential, so is planning for race day logistics to ensure a smooth and efficient experience.

I start gathering my race items one to two weeks before the event, especially for races that require travel. It's crucial to avoid last-minute scrambling while tapering for the event. Additionally, allowing enough time for shipping ensures that any necessary supplies can be restocked from online stores.

To help me stay focused on race day essentials, I use the following checklist, which has been tried and tested:

**Triathlon Race Checklist:**

**Race: Swim**
- Wetsuit
- Goggles
- Back-up goggles
- Back-up swim cap
- Anti-chafe lube
- Tri suit / race kit
- Sports bra (if applicable)
- Towel (brighter colors are easier to spot in transition)

**Race: Bike**
- Bike
- Helmet
- Bike shoes
- Changing top/bottoms (ensure proper gear)
- Bar-end plugs (if required by race rules)
- Sunglasses
- Bike nutrition
- Socks (if applicable)
- Water bottles
- Flat kit (CO2 cartridge and dispenser or pump, extra tube, levers)
- Floor pump (coordinate with fellow athletes if racing with friends)
- Extra water bottle with water in T1 to rinse feet after the swim

**Race: Run**
- Run shoes
- Changing top/bottoms (ensure proper gear)
- Baby powder (optional, for easier shoe fitting)
- Hat or visor
- Run nutrition
- Water bottle (for transition area or to take on the run)
- Fuel belt (if applicable)
- Race number belt for a quick transition

**Race: Misc.**
- Multi-tool for bike
- Extra pair of shoes for post-transition
- Black electric tape (for securing race numbers)
- Swimsuit for pre-race swim
- Warm clothes for race morning
- Clean clothes for post-race
- Sunscreen
- Watch/bike computer
- Heart rate monitor and strap (if applicable)
- Race wheels (optional)
- Headlamp (for early starts)
- USAT membership card or print-out
- Garbage bag (for covering transition items if raining)
- Directions to race location
- Transition bag
- Wet wipes for post-race freshening
- Flip flops (comfort is key)
- Extra gels, chewies, etc. in case of race delay
- Scissors (for trimming timing chip straps)

Race day can be nerve-wracking, but ensuring you have all necessary items can alleviate some of the pre-race jitters.


Regarding your question about detraining, there isn't a one-size-fits-all formula, as fitness loss varies based on individual factors such as fitness level and training history. Detraining studies have shown that those who cease training experience significant declines in fitness, with newer exercisers being more affected. However, reducing training frequency rather than stopping altogether can help mitigate fitness loss.

Maintaining some level of activity during periods when training is challenging is crucial to preserving fitness. Even short, low-intensity workouts can prevent significant detraining. For example, during travel, aim to incorporate short runs or bodyweight exercises to maintain fitness. Additionally, creating a daily routine of exercises, such as a "Daily 7," can help maintain strength and endurance.

Remember, getting back into shape after a period of detraining can take as long as the time off. So, it's essential to stay active and avoid prolonged breaks from training to prevent setbacks in fitness progress.

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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