Ever wonder what to put in your Transition Bag?

My Top 5 Transition Bag buys

With my time ticking down, I’m preparing to over pack my transition bags for Ironman Louisville.  Ironman will be far more complicated to pack for (two separate transition bags, one for T1 (after the swim and before the bike) and one for T2 (after the bike, before the run). Additionally, I’ll have special needs bags for the bike and the run. So much to think about, but I’m starting my thoughts off by keeping it simple and narrowing down my favorite things for the entire race. I have so many things that I have jam-packed my transition bag with over the course of the 20 triathlons I have done. It’s easy to over-pack, but there is such limited space in a regular transition, that it’s necessary to pare it down.

For those that are unfamiliar with triathlon, a transition bag is a bag you have all your necessities  packed in for the race. Most triathlons have one transition area set up with bike racks, where you have your own designated spot for your stuff. Before the race, you set your transition up based on what your needs are for each segment so they are easy to get. I’ve learned over the years that a quick transition will greatly improve race time. Who doesn’t want that?

So, I’m going to narrow down my top 5 favorites today in one handy list.

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Here is my list for Top 5 Transition items:

1. Coppertone Babies Sunscreen Stick

I’m 30-something, so why would I use a baby sunscreen stick? I learned early after one of my first races that I really hate the sting of getting sunscreen in my eyes. Most of us do, right? I had the experience of sweating after applying regular sunscreen to my face before a run, and it ended up in my eyes. It was really horrible, and it’s hard on a run (or a bike, especially) to get it rinsed out of your eyes. At the recommendation of someone, I decided to try the sunscreen stick. There are a few perks for this. First, the babies’ version is tear-free. Even if I slather it on my eye on accident, I’m not going to be miserable. Second, it’s super easy to apply–you just quickly rub the stick all over your face and you’re done.  To make matters even better, it doesn’t run and drip down your face with sweat. For shorter sprint races, I just apply one coat before the swim and I’m good. For longer races, I’ll usually reapply after the bike before the run. By the way, the Kids Sunscreen Stick works just as well as the Babies Sunscreen Stick, I just use whatever is at hand when I’m packing. I started off this ritual with the Babies Sunscreen and went with what I had in a pinch.

2. Tri-Slide

There are so many amazing reasons to have SBR Tri-Slide on hand. I was lucky enough to find my bottle at a local running store, but Amazon also has this.  My first reason for using this spray is for wetsuit dressing. Putting a wetsuit on should be considered a sport in itself. There’s usually flopping, jumping, squirming and flailing involved. Tri-Slide helps the tight suit slide on. Once it’s on, I avoid the wetsuit chafe by applying it liberally on my neck and shoulders/arms. The first time I wore my wetsuit, I had a chafing spot on my neck that resembled a hickey. Not cool. This stuff has helped me avoid that. Additionally, I use it frequently on my runs around my sports bra band, and sometimes between my thighs when I’m running in shorts.  Anywhere you chafe, use it!

3. Swiftwick Aspire Zero Socks

These socks have turned me into a complete sock-snob. These were recommended to me by a friend who worked at a running store. I scoffed at the price tag at first, but quickly changed my tune when I started wearing them. Prior to converting to Swiftwick, I wore whatever cheap cotton socks I had in my dresser. As a result, my feet would remain soggy after the swim because I didn’t want to take the time to completely dry my feet before getting my socks and bike shoes on. Then, I’d have to change my socks again between the bike and the run because they were still wet–if not from lake water, it would be sweat. Not anymore! With Swiftwick socks, my feet dry rather quickly when I’m biking and then I wear the same pair when I’m running. No hot spots, no blisters, no discomfort! Even in races where I’ve doused myself with water during the run to cool off, my feet don’t stay soggy. I’ve worn these socks exclusively for every race (triathlon and running)  for the past 3 years and won’t wear anything else. I sometimes carry two pairs of them in my bag, just for peace of mind, but I don’t need to change at all in T2 like I used to. I even converted my Hubby, after he ended up with blisters from a race. The cherry on top is that they come in all kinds of fun colors, too!

4. Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Mirrored Goggles

Goggles are such a personal decision for people. Over the many years of swimming competitively and doing triathlons, I’ve stuck with Speedo and TYR brands. TYR was my go-to for swim-team days, but I’ve become accustomed to Speedo for triathlon. I just purchased my second pair of this particular model of Speedo goggles because I like the way they fit my face (again, this is something that may or may not work for you). The biggest asset for this model, though, is the mirrored lenses. I’ve done races without this feature, and could not see or spot in bright sunlight. These provide enough protection from brightness, but they’re not too dark. I’ve used mine in sunny and cloudy places and felt great. They’re anti-fog when they are brand new, but a drop of baby shampoo in each lens helps when the anti-fog wears off after a lot of usage. Don’t forget to pack an extra pair of goggles in your transition bag. You never know if you (or a fellow triathlete) will need them in a pinch!

5. Lock Laces

I don’t keep these laying around in my transition bag, but I can guarantee they are already laced on whatever running shoes I have selected for the day. When I go back to the idea of saving time in transition, Lock Laces have been a game changer for me over the past few years. They are elastic laces that have a locking mechanism that can loosen or tighten a pair of shoes very quickly. I don’t have to spend the time (or dexterity) tying shoes in transition. I slip the shoes on and GO. My triathlete kiddo uses these too. Even when I retire running shoes for everyday wear, I keep these laces on because I love them. I’m already anticipating the need during my Ironman run to loosen my laces. When I ran my full marathon a few years ago, I did not have Lock Laces. My feet were so swollen at mile 22 that I wanted to loosen my laces, but did not want to take the time to loosen and re-tie my shoes in my fatigued state. This time I can ensure I finish my race in comfort without that inconvenience.  Just like the Swiftwick socks, these babies come in a huge variety of colors so you can coordinate with the color of your shoes!

So, there you have it! This is only a small glimpse, my list could go on and on.  As I continue on with my blog, I’ll expand and share my top 5 favorite things for each segment of triathlon. That will come another day!

Do you have a favorite Item in your Transition bag you can not live without?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below.

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