Ironman Tips


By: Kevin Totterdell


This is a list made from experience after Ironman Austria 2013


Checklist of things to bring


Irish flag:  This is for the support crew to have visible during the race, all the other Irish contestants feed off it and its creates great banter all round, then have your support crew hand it to you near the finish line for you to carry , it creates great photos and a good cheer.


Porridge:  Pre measured in zip lock bags; have enough for all mornings before and including race morning. I found this great for when it came to race morning, I had the routine down in the dining room and it was one less stress.


Brennan Bread and cheddar cheese:  Bring these over the day before, it was great to have familiar fresh bread and cheese for race day sandwiches on the bike and run, I had practiced during training with these.


Fruitcake:  Was great simple solid food to have in room and on race day. You need to have simple solid familiar food in hotel as your nerves make it difficult to eat sometimes and this is great to snack on, you’ll need a lot of food pre race.


Penknife:  Came in extremely useful for a multitude of reasons.


Camera:  Great to have a camera as phones are busy being used to track athletes and batteries failed.


Tin foil:  This was used by me and 3 others for food in special needs bags.


Factor p50:  Best one is P20 factor 50, you will need 2 bottles probably, also bring baby size factor 50 to have in pocket on race day, it was a life saver; I used it when I felt myself burning later in the day and also as a lubricant when I had rubbing.


Pre swim footwear:  I wore shoes I did not get back as the swim area was tided up, I could have gone barefoot but don’t like doing this.


Wetsuit and Tri suit:  I wore a 2 piece KSWIS tri suit, very comfortable, I feel it was a good call and saved time and stress not messing in transition with changing.


Body glide:  People who did not use body glide got bad in fact nasty rashes.



  • Salt tablets

  • Gels

  • Hi 5 sachets

  • Power bars

  • Makings of sandwiches

  • Fruit cake

  • Jellies

  • Other solid food

  • Recovery drink

  • Recovery food


Ice bags:  I brought ice packs in case of injury, thankfully did not need them.


Race belt:  Ironman gave me one in race bag.


Swim cap:  Iron man supplied one, did not wear one in training swim as the water was gorgeous.


Goggles:  2 pairs just in case, you need tinted as you swim directly into the sun.


Transition towel:  Did not use.


Transition bag:  You do not need one as I used ironman one they supplied at registration.


Bike tools:  Did not use but would bring.


Gas cylinders:  You cannot bring these on the plane but they were available in the expo.


Sweatshirt for start morning:  I did need this and tracksuit bottoms.


Tape for bike:  I needed this to tape nutrition on bike.


Track pump:  I was better having my own as everyone was stressed on race morning in transition.


Blister plasters:  I did not need but others did, should have in run special needs and in bedroom for post race.


Hat / Cap:  I used on run, was great to fill with ice, also dipped in water barrels.


Bike glasses:  I used the same sunglasses on run and bike for simplicity.


Water bottles:  The more the merrier for easier organisation, I did not use course drinks on bike, see nutrition plan


Spare running top and shorts:  I put in run transition bag in case I was uncomfortable after bike, I did not use them but would bring again just in case.


Lip screen:  I did not use but should have.


Recovery compression:  This is personal, I did use it post race.


Beanie for race morning:  I did not need this, would depend on weather.


Scissors:  I would definitely have in room, very useful.


Bio freeze for run special needs bag:  I did not need but others did so good idea.


Rain jacket:  Can be used for a number of different things.


Runners x 2 pairs:  I thought I would put in run special needs bag in case they get wet, I did not put them in but stayed away from hoses to avoid blisters from wet runners, this was a common issue with others on the day.


Run socks x 2:  One for run and a spare pair for run special needs bag, I did not use but good idea.


Vaseline:  I used on nipples as you get sprayed with water on run and I get sore.


Large sticky labels for to lists on transition bags:  Worked really well to save stress.


Long sleeve running top:  Not needed as weather 30 degrees, probably would bring arm warmers just in case.


Anti fog:  Would not bother, it’s just another complication.


Packet of Kleenex:  Definitely a good idea to have a packet in transition bags and special needs in case of tummy issues, there will be no toilet paper left in portaloos.


Post it’s and pen:  I found these useful in bedroom for organising gear.


Chamois cream:  I did use this.


Imodium:  Just in case, have it in run transition and run special needs.


Insect repellent:  I did not need this.


Electrical adaptor:  I needed 2.



  • Hr strap

  • Garmin edge 800

  • Garmin 910

  • Chargers for both

  • Phone charger


Checklist stickers:  I had these printed before I went, put them on transition bags and race morning bag, would do again.


Zip lock bags:  Great idea, used lots.


Sun glasses:  Can be used on bike or run or even casual wear.


Bike gear for training cycle including arm warmers:  Club gear was great to wear.


Togs:  For practice swims






Boarding pass




Ironman registration documents


Triathlon Ireland race lisc:  (you need in registration or you need to buy one day lisc).

Checklist for organising gear when in Hotel


Pre start bag

  • Wetsuit

  • Body glide

  • Gel

  • Hi 5 drink

  • Hat

  • Timing chip

  • Goggles

  • HR Strap

  • To do sticker


Bike transition bag

  • Bike shoes

  • Helmet

  • Bottle water

  • Towel

  • Warm gear????  (Weather dependant)

  • Lip screen

  • Smile

  • To do sticker

  • Sun cream????  (Only needed if non wetsuit swim)

  • Put kids factor 50 in pocket  (number one best idea, saved the day later)

  • Race belt  (you are not allowed wear in swim)


Bike special needs bag

  • Spare gas and tubes

  • 2 x hi5 frozen bottles in cooler bags

  • Cheese sandwiches

  • Kleenex


Run transition bag

  • Hat

  • Runners

  • Socks

  • Hat

  • Sun cream

  • Garmin watch

  • Smile

  • Kleenex packet

  • To do sticker

  • Run shorts

  • Run top

  • Pain killers


Run special needs bag

  • Pain killers

  • Cheese sandwiches

  • Blister patches

  • Ice pack

  • Bio freeze

  • Spare socks


Post race bag

  • Compression

  • Tracksuit bottoms

  • T-shirt

  • Jacket

  • Recovery drink and food


Gear I used on the day



  • Wet suit

  • Ironman swim hat

  • Tinted goggles

  • Kswis 2 piece tri suit

  • Body glide

  • P20 factor 50 sunscreen

  • No watch



  • Scott plasma TT bike with 28/11 rear cassette

  • Zipp 404 front and rear with clinchers at 120psi

  • 2 frame bottle holders with a rear twin cage

  • Spares in a saddle bag

  • Adamo saddle

  • Bento box

  • No socks

  • Shoes

  • Same tri suit

  • Standard helmet

  • Sunglasses

  • Garmin 800



  • Socks

  • Runners

  • Same tri suit

  • Garmin 910

  • Peaked cap

  • Same glasses as bike



Nutrition I used



  • Morning breakfast at 4.15am.

  • Large porridge with fried fruit, bread and cheese.

  • Sipped hi5 4:1 before race.


In T1

  • Small slice fruit cake.

  • Small drink water.


On bike

Started with:

  • 2 full bottles of hi5 on bike.

  • 1 empty bottle with hi 5 powder ready to fill with water in rear cage.

  • 1 bottle with 15 power bar gels mixed 50:50 with water.


  • Picked up at special needs 2 bottles frozen hi5 (awesome).

  • Picked up later in bike, water for bottle with powder in it.

  • Bottle of water to drink as was sick of other stuff towards end.

  • Ate 2 x half power bars during bike and 4 x half bananas.

  • Took 70% of gel bottle.

  • Picked up 4 x cheese sandwiches at special need (4 slices of bread), ate 2 then ate other two 45 mins later, these were fantastic.

  • Only took one salt tablet on the bike.


Comments: solid food wins, I need to work out how to take fewer gels, and they were beginning to get to my stomach towards end,



  • Water at most aid stations

  • Cola after about 20k

  • 1 gel at 30k

  • Lots of oranges and water melon

  • Sandwiches at special needs around 20k


Comments: Did not eat crackers and was not offered pizza or pretzels. Would like some other solid food in special needs, maybe jellies or something


Stickers for using as checklists on bags etc


1) Race morning routine:

  • Put on sun cream

  • Put on chamois cream

  • Take medication

  • Eat

  • Check nutrition bags, get frozen bottles


2) In transition race morning:


  • Place nutrition on bike

  • Turn on Garmin

  • Pump tyres

  • Check gears


3) Pre start bag:

  • Put on timing chip

  • Use body glide

  • Drink hi 5

  • Put on hr strap

  • Put on wet suit


4) Bike transition bag:

  • Put on sun cream where needed

  • Put on lip screen

  • Drink

  • Helmet on

  • Shoes on

  • Sun glasses on

  • Put kids sun cream in pocket


5) Run transition bag:

  • Sun cream on

  • Socks on         

  • Runners on

  • Drink

  • Put on hat

  • Garmin on

  • Start Garmin

  • Put Kleenex in pocket

  • Put on lip screen

Questions I had


When do we give in transition bags?


Answer: on Saturday


Special needs bags?


Answer: on Sunday


Notes post race:


Nutrition is key 


Use solid food where possible


They run out of stuff in aid stations on 2 nd loop of bike and 2nd half of run


Ate at 4.15 am on race morning, brought my own porridge measured out in zip lock bags, worked really well


Stay out of sun before race


If buying water in Austria make sure it’s not fizzy


Hotel Plattenwirt is on run course, passed 5 times great for spectators, not air conditioned and not god for food apart from good breakfast, would recommend though


Hotel Seapark is on swim exit, much plusher but not quite as convenient


Swim hard in the middle as when you hit last 900 meters in canal you get carried and don’t and can’t do much else as there is no room in canal to pass


Bike is hilly despite being fast due to downhills


Run is flat and amazing atmosphere


Post race food crap, bring a recovery drink, very important, hard to get food at he finish due to time and busyness


I wore my trisuit for the whole race (2 piece kswiss) I would recommend this as its much less stress and no problem but beware to use sun cream


Take off sunglasses and smile for the camera crossing finish line, remember this is where your best photo opportunity comes from; there are 4 photographers from the start of the Shute to the end


Relax at the start, once the gun goes its game on and the nerves disappear

Be ready for the knocks, they are not that bad once you are aware it’s going to happen


This might sound mad or might not even be possible, but try get out in a boat the day before to find sighting points as its really really difficult to sight in the water,


Be forceful at the swim exit or you will be left in water by those who are, it’s hard to get out without help due to steepness


I peed in bushes on bike course, portaloos are horrible, to be avoided if possible


I took it easy on hills and passed loads on downhill’s


Spectators in towns are fantastic, there is buses to ferry family/friends to vantage points on bike course, would highly recommend this as atmosphere is great with music etc might make it a long day though ?


It’s hard to find bike course in car before race, map is useless and signs terrible, wouldn’t bother unless you have someone who knows course


People do run with kids across line, and wives granny’s etc


Finish line party for last two hours and fireworks after is a must


Have supports bring clothes for you as you might not want to go to hotel, you will be on a high


Spectators should bring food also as its difficult to manage to get anything decent around course


They do supply street bag, this is handed in before swim with your clothes and available at finish line after wards


Special needs bags are not returned but we did find them unattended in numbered boxes for run ones where the tent was, mine had my run socks taken by the time I found it


I was sore the next day in my thighs, everyone went for a swim which was great relief, and it was funny to watch all the duck like walking going on


Make sure your spectators have data roaming on there phones and know how to use Athlete tracker, but be aware it drains the battery and you will need to recharge during the day, the Hotels have free Wi-Fi but you must be inside


Bring the best camera you can. It’s worth it


For bike spectating, the 90k turnaround point, opposite the entrance into t2 is good under the 2nd set of traffic lights, also when your athlete finishes, walk immediately around to back of finish to meet them, they have to leave area before going to recovery tent


We flew to Venice and hired a car, took about 3 hours


Definitely would use ship my tri bike, total no brainer


If you want to buy a finisher jacket you must be at expo at 10am Monday, they sell out fast, only available Monday am, think they sell them Sunday afternoon during race?


  • People do get punctures

  • People do get sick from nutrition NB

  • People do get sunburnt

  • People do walk the marathon to finish

  • People do get done for drafting and blocking

  • Marshals are everywhere

  • Food food food

  • Trust me on the sunscreen!


Best of luck with your future Ironman expierence(s),


Kevin Totterdell.























A huge thanks to Kevin for writing this piece, If you feel as though there is something missing from this piece then feel free to comment your suggestions below.

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