Competing in your first Triathlon?

Posted by Jason Zagami

Competing in your first Triathlon?

I say the most important rule on race day is don’t try anything new. Unless you’re looking to sabotage yourself, don’t try a new pair of shoes, a different fueling strategy, or modify your equipment in any way.

Jesse Kropelniki of QT2 Triathlon Systems and I have put together these six areas to focus on for your first Triathlon.


You need to know the in’s and out’s of your gear and equipment. If you can’t repair a derailed bike chain, fix a flat tire, or quickly get in and out of your wetsuit, then go back and practice.


Jesse recommends Powerbar Energy Gel for race day fueling. You will need 0.7g to 1.0g of carbs per hour for every Kilogram of body weight.

You should have adequately tested out your fueling strategy on your endurance days to see how your GI Tract responds. If you feel fine, perfect. If it upsets you, you may have to try another product.


Hydration requirements will vary depending on the environment (Temperature, Humidity, Sun Exposure, Etc…) Pre-Race Hydration is crucial. Hydration plays a larger role in performance than people actually realize. During time trials, track how many ounces your drink per hour. Weigh yourself just before and just after. If you’ve lost more than 2% of your body weight, you’re not hydrating accurately. Two hydration options to consider are Powerbar Ironman Perform and Gatorade Endurance. Their sodium balance is optimized for ultra-endurance events.


Pushing through at Max Effort is not a strategy. Nearly every endurance event record set in the past 40 years, has been done so with Negative Splits. You should know your body well enough by race day to know what effort level is sustainable for the duration of that race. Keep up your max sustainable pace for the first 90% of the race, then push through at Max Effort for the final 10% of the race.

A useful tool for finding your pacing is the Triathlon Calculator


Make a checklist a week before of everything you need, otherwise you may forget something crucial. Get to 8 to 10 hours of sleep the night before and no alcohol at least 48 hours before your race.

For a good pre race checklist visit the City Sports triathlon race day page


The 15-20 minutes post race window is a crucial time for recovery nutrition. Jesse has seen good results in his athletes with drinks such as Endurox and Ultragen. They meet the glycemic requirements of Ultra-Endurace athletes.

Jesse Kropelnicki is the triathlon coach of professional athletes Caitlin Snow, Ethan Brown, and Jacqui Gordon.


Jesse is also the founder of QT2 Systems, LLC; a leading provider of triathlon coaching.

For more on Jesse visit his blog at

Jason Zagami
Founder of Solid Body Fitness
Strength & Conditioning Coach
CrossFit Level 1 Certified Personal Trainer
CrossFit Certified Indoor Rowing Instructor

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