We are not triwives who know what every detail of training, racing, or all the equipment is for or means. That does not make us less supportive, it just means we operate on a need to know basis. (We have lives, too). BUT, when it comes to race day, there are certain things we WANT to know to make OUR race day easier and the chances of seeing our triathlete on the course much higher. The latter being particularly important if you have kids in tow.
So, here are our 5 need to knows to make triathlon spectating a breeze…
Know the course
Take your time to review the race course. For most races, the course is on line prior to race day. But, often there will be slight changes before the race, so be sure to check back on their website.
We like to take it a step further and walk the in and out areas with our triathlete the day before the race. This allows you and your athlete to see where you will most likely be standing and cheering them on.
This is especially important if you have kids who want to see their parent triathlete and hold up their signs in support.
Know where your triathlete’s bike is racked
Bike in and out can be very crowded areas and it is too dangerous for athletes to slow down and wave. The bike shoes and clips keep them very focused. Standing on the fencing by where your athlete’s bike is racked allows you to cheer, support them, and possibly get a high five or a kiss. We may or may not have had full conversations with our athlete’s here, as one of ours does have long T times…
Know your triathlete’s target time and zone time
Make sure you communicate with your triathlete about their anticipated target times for each discipline. Then, also talk about zone times. I have learned that if it’s a new course to us, to add a 20 minute buffer to each end of the zone time. I once missed my husband, because he was so much faster than we thought and I was not at the spot we agreed on. Big oops.
Then, I started to panic when he didn’t pass me and the athlete tracker was not working. I was so worried something was wrong, I went immediately to the next agreed upon spot. I skipped lunch and didn’t fill up my water bottle, so I was hungry and thirsty and pretty miserable. Then, he came racing by, whew, now 25 minutes earlier than his target time.
Also, remember to adjust the time if your athlete slows down at all, so you are not waiting too long in the sun or in one spot.
Know your own private hot spot
Most races will identify “hot spots” which they designate as good spots to be able to see your triathlete. Yes, they are good, but they are usually filled with so many people, which is why they’re called “hot spots.”. We recommend finding a spot that is just for you. Make it somewhere that has a straight away if possible, so that you will both have a line of sight. Shade is also a wonderful thing. Make sure you identify this spot, so that your athlete will know it is “right past the big tree after the hill” or after the mile 6 water station.
Know a little something fun you can do yourself
Race day is long, especially if you are at a full distance race. So, you HAVE to plan your day accordingly. Find time to get out on a little run, sit and enjoy breakfast with a mimosa, or even get in a little shopping. And, if the bike is a one loop out and back, yeah, it’s SPA TIME or nap time, whichever is your preference!
Armed with a few smart tips, a trisupporter can make race day a special day for everyone, including yourself..
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.