You’ve made it through the 6+ months of training and it is now race week. Race week is a ton of fun however it also means that you probably will be doing some traveling, unless you’re lucky enough to have your race in your hometown. Traveling for an Ironman is a lot of fun and a great way to explore but it can also be stressful and exhausting; especially when you save packing to the last minute, which I do not recommend. 😁
Packing is by far my least favorite part of any travel, and I notoriously am that person who is packing at 10 pm at night when I have a 5 am flight the next morning. This has resulted in me forgetting very important things such as glasses or even my contacts a couple of times… and when you are legally blind this is a problem. However, packing does not have to be stressful, in fact it can be relatively stress free.
Here are a few, albeit fairly obvious, tips for making packing less stressful:
Make a list
Yes this seems very obvious and after a few trips it may seem as though you can forget this step but it really is very important. There are so many little intricacies involved with triathlon from the big one of getting your bike in a bag to not forgetting to check the batteries on your power meter or grabbing your body glide. Making a list seems simple but it allows you to think about all that you need, keep it simple, and decrease the stress of running around at 1:00 am before your 5:00 am flight trying to remember if you packed your bike shoes.
Also, don’t take after me and start your list the Monday before your trip. This gives you time to adjust your list.
Start Packing Before Your Packing Deadline
This is a two fold tip; a) set a packing deadline and b) start packing before that deadline. Most of us triathletes are crazy, masochistic, over achieving, type A nuts where when we give ourselves a deadline we are going to do whatever it takes to hit that deadline. Tackle packing as you would your peak long run. You have a deadline, or date, in which this long run needs to be compelted but you don’t prep for this deadline on the day of the deadline. Rather you take hours, days, and weeks to prep for it. While you don’t need weeks and maybe you don’t even need days but do start ahead of time so that when that deadline comes around you aren’t running around with your head cut off.
Secondly, set the deadline for a date earlier than your drop dead date ie: the night before you have to catch the plane.
Keep It Simple
It’s easy when making your list to get wrapped up in all the things that you may need. I often find that I’ve got things like “one nice outfit”, “pillow”, and multiple pairs of shoes that I know in the end I will never wear. Take those things out. Unless you are going for an extended vacation more than likely you are going to spend 95% of your time in some sort of athletic wear and/or your triathlon gear. You don’t need all the excess. On top of that there is already so much other stuff that comes with triathlon you don’t need to add to the already teetering too heavy bag you’ve stuffed everything into.
Pack Your Own Food
This can be annoying especially when flying because of all the rules in place nowadays for flying but in the long run it is one of the most important pieces you can do, especially for those around you as it prevents you from getting hangry.
You just spent the last 6 months being putting the best fuel you can into your body to get yourself through your workouts, and on top of that you also probably spent the last six months eating every 2 huors because you are hungry all the time. Then all of the sudden you spend a day eating junk riddled with sodium at an airport and on top of that your eating schedule is all thrown out of wack due to travel, all a few days before your big day. This can completely throw you out of wack. Take the time to pack healthy and normal snacks and meals that your body is used to for travel. Not only will your body thank you but it will save you money in the long run.
I wish I had some great tips for packing your bike, but also packing my bike is something that I do not have any joy for doing. The only thing I can advise to travel on either Alaska or Southwest as they have the best prices for taking a bike with you, especially if you have one of their credit cards. My advise for packing your bike is merely to try to be patient, something I fail at completely during this process, and if you haven’t cut out alcohol for your race make sure to have a drink handy.
To share the joy that I feel when packing my bike here is a little time lapse of the time, and while you cannot hear the swear words that escape my mouth during this process I am sure you can feel the joy.
Happy Packing Everyone!!! If you have any other tips that work well for you comment to this post and let me know!!