How to: Packing for a race you are flying to (Triathlon specific)

We are < 20 days away from flying to Texas for IM TX at The Woodlands!

Aside from Boston, this is our first race that we are flying to instead of driving (or walking to the start line). That means we have a lot less space to pack everything compared to our normal, throw-it-all-in-the-trunk packing method.

We are REALLY lucky and thankful that our friend Mike is driving from Cincinnati to Texas and offered to take Jon’s bike along for the ride. This totally saves us $$$ and the hassel of either shipping or getting a bike box to check it for the flight. It also means Jon can get his bike tuned up in Cincinnati with his local go-to shop instead of having it fixed up at Ironman Village.

The more races you spectate, the more you can write this whole list yourself, even not being the one competing! This will be our 6th triathlon event together and Jon’s 8th overall.

Packing List

  • Goggles & back up goggles
  • Swim cap for practice swim
  • Sandals to wear to/from practice swim
  • Wetsuit or swim skin
  • Plastic grocery bag to help with putting wetsuit on
  • TriSlide spray
  • Body glide
  • Any ear plugs or nose plugs needed
  • If the race is not wet suit legal, or your athlete won’t be doing a practice swim in the wetsuit, you want to pack a separate race kit or swimsuit for the practice swim
  • Towel for practice swim


  • Bike
  • Bike helmet
  • Air pump
  • Bike shoes
  • Bike socks, if worn x 2- one for race day, one for bike workout
  • Flat repair kit, extra tube, CO2 cartridge, tape for handlebars, chain cleaner/oil
  • Bike repair stand (Really depends on how portable yours is… ours will be staying at home this time)
  • Bike water bottles


  • Running shoes
  • Socks (1 pair for race day, 1 pair for run special needs bag at least + others for the rest of the week)
  • Race number belt


  • TriTats (optional)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp (for use in transition race morning)
  • Water bottles
  • Nutrition for drink mix
  • Gels
  • Towel for T1
  • Food to make race day breakfast and container with utensils if you won’t have access to any from your hotel
  • Food to make pre-race dinner, if desired
  • Safety pins
  • Ribbons or identifiers for transition bags to make them easier to find


  • General travel needs (toiletries, clothes, etc.)
  • USAT membership
  • ID/passport


  • Course maps
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Sharpie marker
  • Race day spectating plans!


Of course- snacks and whatever else you might need for yourself to get through the day! I make sure to have a water bottle for myself, snacks and a lot of layers pending the weather. Wear comfortable shoes and be ready to book it during transitions!

What else is always on your packing list?






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