I was recently at a training camp with Matt Dixon and Paul Buick of Purplepatch Fitness and a camper asked a question during a Q&A session about training gear and race gear. As part of his response, Paul Buick recommended to all athletes to create a “race-ready box” that contains their tried and true race gear that is ready to go.
I loved two aspects of this advice: firstly, the box should contain gear that you are familiar with, the tried and true aspect, and it should be ready to go.
Swim Box: while your wetsuit and skin suit is better off hanging in the closet than sitting in a box, it’s handy to have an extra pair of your favorite goggles sitting in your race-ready box. Also include a fresh bar of body glide, ear plugs if you use them, and my personal favorite, a pair of disposable sandals… you know the ones you get at the local pedicure salon.
Bike Box: your bike box might include a fresh race chain and cassette (particularly if you don’t have specific race wheels), a new sets of tires and tubes and a sealant (e.g. Orange Seal) to add to your tires to help prevent a flat. Note, once you’ve used your tires in racing a couple of times, you can switch to using them as training tires… you don’t need to throw them out unless there are deep cuts in the rubber.
Run Box: your race shoes, a fresh pair of socks and your race number belt. I also include a neoprene ankle strap in this box since I’ve rolled up to a few races recently that gave out velcro straps for the timing chip that caused painful chafing!