Four essential items that belong in your transition bag that you're probably forgetting
Posted Aug 28 2010 6:18am
Most triathletes spend the majority of time during the days and weeks prior to a race planning their triathlon gear for the race itself - shoes, helmet, bike, wetsuit, goggles and all the crucial elements to finish a triathlon. But the majority of these same triathletes neglect to consider post-race triathlon gear needs.
But if you show up in the race transition area with a backpack full of the essential triathlon gear you're going to need after the race, you'll be prepared for a much more comfortable and successful race and recovery. So without further ado, here's the essential triathlon gear you're probably forgetting.
If you can consume a combination of protein and carbohydrates within 20-30 minutes after crossing the finish line, your muscles will have the amino acids they need to repair the muscle fibers that become damaged during a triathlon. Unfortunately, most triathlon finish lines offer bananas, oranges, energy bars, pizza, or other foods that are notoriously low in protein.
Pack your own protein, and you'll be set for far faster recovery, which is especially important if you want to get back to training or racing soon after your event. I personally put a bottle of something called "Recoverease" in my backpack, which contains essential amino acids and enzymes that assist in protein digestion.
Sure, to avoid cramping you may already use salt capsules or a sport drink with electrolytes during the race - but after a race, you continue to sweat and lose valuable salts and minerals. In addition, one primary cause of muscle soreness is calcium leakage within muscle tissue. So after each race, I spray my arms and legs with a topical magnesium - which can displace the calcium and also replace a notoriously deficient mineral. Since I added topical magnesium to my post-race triathlon gear, I've specifically noticed a much faster heart rate recovery, and less "dead leg" phenomenon after an event.
Have you ever finished a triathlon and realized that although you're going to need to stick around for a few hours to chat with friends and attend the award ceremony, you stink to high heaven? Often, jumping back into the swim venue just doesn't seem to wash that stink away, and most triathlon finish line areas don't have locker rooms equipped with showers.
Combined with sweat, bike oil, blood, gravel, sand, dirt and all the other compounds that collect on your body during race, it can be downright unpleasant standing around in your post-race filth. But by putting some baby wipes, or better yet, some environmentally friendly, athlete-designed Actionwipes into your post-race triathlon gear bag, you'll smell like a spa, feel clean, and look great - especially if you have to hop up on the podium.
2) Comfy clothes:
When it comes to post-race triathlon gear, it seems as though clothes would be a no-brainer. But whether clothes are easily forgotten while packing a bike, wetsuit and other crucial items, or folks just don't remember that there are many post-race hours spent standing around and socializing, clothing just doesn't seem to make it into many post-race gear bags.
If you peak in my post-race backpack, I always have a) a comfortable, breathable t-shirt or tanktop; b) loose-fitting cargo shorts that won't chafe against sore areas; c) underwear that will wick away sweat and also not chafe against sore areas d) flip-flops, sandals, or anything else that in no way resembles a running shoes.
By either leaving a backpack full of this essential post-race triathlon gear in transition area, or having a spouse, family member or friend give it to you after the race, you'll be set for a faster recovery. Beware that some races do not allow "loose" transition areas with backpacks strewn about, so be prepared for the latter option. For more triathlon gear tips just like this, along with audio interviews with coaches and triathlon experts, check out http://www.rockstartriathleteacademy.com .
Ben Greenfield is the Renaissance man of the sport of triathlon.
He's a fast triathlete, a coach, a personal trainer, and much more more.