First IM 70.3 Event coming up - any advice on bags/gear?


Hi all,

My very first IM 70.3 event is coming up and I was curious if anyone had any novel ideas for things to throw in my transition bags?

My current idea lists:

Swim to Bike:

  • Small towel to dry feet off
  • Energy gel to eat before riding
  • Small water bottle to drink before riding
  • Nutrition for the ride (gels, bars, almond butter sandwich)
  • Bike helmet, gloves, sunglasses, socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Race belt w/ number

Bike to Run:

  • Running shoes
  • Small towel to dry feet off
  • Fresh socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Vasoline (for lips, and I’m thinking of putting some around my arm pits to reduce friction/chaffing)
  • Small water bottle
  • Energy gel to eat before running
  • Energy balls (nut butter w/ dates and other goodness) for the run

Things I’ll have already on my bike in transition zone:

  • Repair bag (tools, co2, 2 extra tubes, manual pump)
  • Bike computer
  • Bike shoes
  • 2 full water bottles

Bike Special Needs Bag:

  • Frozen water bottle
  • An extra tube
  • Extra co2
  • Extra tire

Run Special Needs Bag:

  • ??


  • Do I need to have a blinking light mounted on my bike? The race will be entirely during the day time.
  • In order to use the Ironman tracker app for my family to follow me, I’ll need to have my iPhone on me - if I understand correctly, this used to be banned but it’s ok now? Would I be able to add this to my T1 bag on race morning?

Thanks for any advice/ideas!



Here are a couple suggestions and answers:

  1. No need for a light on the bike. Take it off. It’s not aero
  2. You won’t need your phone with you. The IM tracker will update based on you crossing timing mats. Also, IM frowns on athletes using phones as the bike computer.
  3. You most likely won’t have special needs bags for the bike and run. Those are usually only for full length IM.
  4. Put sunscreen on before you start. Don’t put it on between swim and bike unless you have spray sunscreen. Even then, it won’t stick, as your body will be wet. If you want to apply it before the run, practice doing this before race day. Everything is 10 times more difficult on race day.
  5. Don’t stop to eat a gel and drink water in T1. Get on the bike and get moving as quickly and safely as possible. Eat your gel and drink some water once you clear the chaos of the transition traffic.
  6. Let’s chat about nutrition. You won’t need as much as you think on the bike. Two bars and a couple gels will be enough. You’re only going to be on the bike for about 3 hours.
  7. Rather than vaseline, get some chamois cream and/or bodyglide. Put it on before the race, and you will be good. Maybe put a small bottle of vaseline in your T2 bag, but you probably won’t need it.
  8. Don’t eat in T2. Like T1, you want to get in and out of transition as quickly as possible. The longer you take in T2, the more your body thinks you are done with work.
  9. Race number and belt is only needed for the run. Put that in your T2 bag. You will have a number on your bike and on your helmet.

For your bags:
Nutrition (if you can’t put it on your bike. I have a bento box you can borrow if you want it)
Shoes (if they don’t let you keep them on your bike)
Small towel for a quick dry/knock crap off of your feet

Shoes (if you can put speed laces or lock laces (stretchy) on your shoes, it makes things easier)
Socks (rolled down to put them on easier)
Sunglasses (if different from the bike)
Race belt with number (attach the gels if you can)
Run nutrition
Small towel

I’ll do a post about my philosophy for transitions later this week. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll need to practice it.


Thanks for the detailed info!

  1. Consider the light gone!
  2. For my phone - I don’t use it as a bike computer (I have an Elemnt Bolt), but I’m not sure my running app will work on my watch if I don’t have my phone (iSmoothRun). I was thinking of just tucking it into my race belt and it’d be out of sight and silent, but I don’t want to get DQ’d or anything so if I have to leave it w/ my wife I will. I’ll do some experimenting w/ the app to see if I need the phone or not.
  3. Ah ok, thanks for the clarification.
  4. Will do!
  5. Great point - I didn’t think about the physiological effects of coming to a halt.
  6. During my simulation ride a few weeks back, I had 1 bar and 3 gels on the bike. I was planning on doing something similar. During the multi-brick run you put on my schedule, I’ll practice this and document what I take in.
  7. Ok - I’ll look into some bodyglide.
  8. Will do!
  9. Sounds good.

I’ll look into the laces, I’ve been thinking about doing that for a while since I don’t like the laces on my shoes anyway.

Thanks again!


I got my Stryd and heart rate strap paired up with my apple watch and iSmoothRun, took it out for a lunch time jog and left my phone behind - it worked great! So no need to bring the phone on the race.

Is there much value to recording my swim w/ my watch? I’m not going to be looking at it for pacing like I will on the run - I figure we can roughly guestimate the avg pace based upon the chip timing for any sort of post-race analysis. You’ve got me thinking that the simpler the better, and not having to fiddle w/ my watch’s water lock mode and junk while running through transition might be the better option.


@MikeP I have a few personal thoughts on the race:

  • I reiterate to practice spray sunscreen if you choose to use. At my last race, my spray sunscreen didn’t work in T2. I took a one-use packet of Zealios sunscreen and was glad I had that packet as backup. For future races, I’ll continue to use the spray as can be quick if it works (and continue to take a backup packet).
  • The last race I did, my R leg started to cramp as I was starting to run. I dilly-dallied in T2. I socialized (don’t tell Ian). I sat down and changed my socks… Next time I will get in and out quickly.
  • My feet swell and I get blisters on the toes. I use Glide on my feet or tape some of my toes for a Half or longer. Olympic or less seems ok.
  • If you are going to use different tires for the race, try them before. I tried out a race tire (weeks before the race) and got 3 flats in one hour. Race tires are not my friend. I keep my armadillo tires on the bike to race and take 1 tube.


Thanks @goldendogy for the tips! That’s an interesting idea on using the glide on the feet - I’ll have to try it out since I’m getting blisters on my toes all the time.

I remember it took me forever to get my running shoes on in my last triathlon, I recently picked up some stretchy lock laces and did some transition practice - being able to throw the shoes on like slippers and get on with the run in seconds is super nice.


Mike Pugh is running IM Williamsburg 70.3 today. He’s out of the water in about 40 minutes. Right at his goal. He’s doing great.


Mike is off of the bike. He had a 2:44 bike split, averaging a little under 20.5 MPH. He jumped 50 spots and is now in the top 70 for his AG.


Mike finished in just over 5:34. Great job for his first 70.3!


Thanks @Coach_Ian!

It was a really fun event - well run and had a great vibe. I’ll post some details tomorrow - just got home and am ready to sleep :rofl:


@MikeP Congratulations! Wow 20+ miles/hour on the bike.