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Get prepped for your triathlon

Top race tips from triathlete Nikki Bartlett

Do you have a routine when packing for a 70.3?

Yes, I like to think I’m pretty organised. I have a list I keep on my phone and add to it occasionally. A good tip is to write a checklist and take it everywhere with you. You will find that, with each race, you will need/think of items you’ve forgotten so you can add these as you go.

I ‘chunk’ my list by each stage of the race. For example, on race day you could chunk your list into something like this:
• Racking: pump, nutrition, spare inner tubes/tubs, phone to take a selfie of you/your bike…
• Warm-up kit: spare pair of running shoes for land warm-up, bands to get the arms moving…
• Swim start kit: two pairs of goggles, spare hats, a spare Aqua Sphere wetsuit…

imageWhat are your travel essentials?
• Heinz Tomato Ketchup comes everywhere with me!
• Tea bags (caffeinated and caffeine-free)
• 9bars are a must!
• Lucy Bee Coconut Oil
• Peanut butter
• Hot chocolate
• Oats

Have you ever forgotten anything important?
There are so many things to remember for a tri race, it’s unreal – and I thought rowing was a faffy sport! If I keep my list, I rarely forget anything. However, last year I nearly forgot my goggles. Briefing had just finished and when I went to get my goggles, I remembered I’d left them in my car. I sprinted to the car and back to the start line and, in my rush, fell off the pontoon and into the freezing Scottish water!

Do you have any favoured pieces of kit?
I do. Some of these will obviously be backed by fabulous sponsors and others are I simply love the brand. I race with:
• Aqua Sphere wetsuit
• 9bars on the bike, alongside gels mixed with water
• Saucony shoes, which I train and race in
• I do have issues sleeping so I take my earplugs and eye mask everywhere
• VeloVault bike box. I’m shocking at DIY and mechanical stuff but even I can pack and unpack the VeloVault! Plus it’s MEGA secure

You’ve been competing for a few years now, so you must have perfected your travel prep: any final tips?
Prep, as you say, is the keyword. Write a list based on:
• Pre-race items: any training kit leading up to the race
• Race day: this would include your warm-up kit then the items you need for the swim, cycle and run
• Post-race: I’ve been fortunate to have great support at all my races. However, if you’re alone, you need to think about your post-race clothing and nutrition
• Other: favourite foot items, breakfast, passport, toiletries, chargers (phone, laptop, Garmin), and so on

Anything else you’d like to add?
As always, just a massive shout out to my family, friends, coach and sponsors for their fabulous support. Surrounding yourself with a great team really is key to both happiness and reaching your goals in the sport.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATriathlete Nikki Bartlett is a former GB rower who turned pro in 2015. She qualified for Kona in her first Ironman, was runner up in the Scottish Olympic Distance Champs in 2015 and is the Aberfeldy Scottish Middle Distance champion. Nikki has competed in around 15 70.3s. For more information, or to keep updated with Nikki, visit her website, follow her on Twitter @NikkiBartlett1 or check out her Facebook page.