The Top 10 things most likely to go wrong in a triathlon

Here we have outlined the most common “things going wrong” in a triathlon. Many of these can be mitigated by giving yourself more time or by being prepared. However, somethings to just go wrong – a cool head and a little bit of head up racing can me you make the most out of a bad situation!


1) Parking - get there in good time and allow longer than you think for it to be done

2) The portaloos have a queue too long to wait for! – if you get there early then you should have first dibs after sorting out your bike etc. of the toilet of your choosing. However, also keep an eye out. Often there may be loos in the transition area, or near by on part of the run course.

3) The portaloos run out of paper - bring your own! Always pack your favourite super soft toilet roll with you. And when you have been, you can make friends with the others after you by leaving it in there.

4) Your goggles could snap – have two pairs of goggles with you ready to go. Always.

5) Your wetsuit rips – if you get there in plenty of time then you don’t need to rush, but equally allow yourself heaps of time to get into your suit and make sure it is fitted before getting into the water. These issues only happen when you are rushing. Take your time and chill! Also, don’t be shy on the wetsuit lube – you can slip right in (and out) of your wetsuit then!

6) You get a bike mechanical (of any type) – these things happen but you can reduce the risk by making sure it is well serviced and it is kept clean. Change your tyres well in advance. (If they haven’t broken yet then don’t change them less than a month before the race), If you are travelling, make sure you have the right tools to put it back together and check the bike out before racing in a short ride. It is all too easy to arrive and forget to tighten something, so take a multi tool on your first ride! If you need a torque key, buy one it will give you peace of mind when travelling.

7) You have a bike tumble – recce the bike course and ride within your own skill level and what is suitable for the conditions. You can’t control the skills of other people but you can ensure you are always in control of your own and equally, by knowing the course, you will be aware of the technical points and when you may need to take extra care of those around you!

8) You lose where your bike is or lose where your transition point is – recce your transition. Work out where you are based and then make sure you have a non moveable thing to understand exactly where you are. For example, a tree, count the racks you need to pass to get to your point and walk through the transition as if you were racing – even take a video to remind yourself when you are back at home!

9) Your nutrition doesn’t seem to work – sometimes nutrition doesn’t go to plan or perhaps you lose some of it on the race course: this means you will need to adjust. Firstly, the golden rule is to practice nutrition plans in similar race conditions and intensities to ensure that it works well. Make sure you do this to reduce the risk of having any nutritional issues, tummy problems and colourful episodes. Also take an informed interest in nutrition and what you need. If you do then if you drop a bottle or it doesn’t go to plan, then you can start calculating what it is you need to do to fix it. Nutrition is a number game so make sure you know what is in the course (if you aren’t using it) and what you need in an ideal situation and from there you can therefore manage this situation as best you can with knowledge rather than in a reactive manner

10) You get jelly legs of the run – this happens. But you let it make less of an impact by running off the bike as often as you can. Take the first km nice and steady – you don’t win the race by running really hard out of T2, but you can lose it by going too face and dropping off the pace later on.

Fingers crossed, nothing like that happens, but at least you have now planned for them!

Good luck!