One of the most important tips for race day is to not try out new equipment on race day. This doesn’t just mean you shouldn’t try something out that you’ve never tried before. It also means you shouldn’t use new equipment even if you’ve used the same type of equipment before (i.e. a new pair of shoes that is the same model as your last pair of shoes–this still qualifies as “new equipment” even if you’re familiar with it), and as I found out in my first marathon, this also means not using equipment or a set up that you haven’t used recently (i.e. running with ankle socks after five months of training in long socks = really bad blisters in the achilles region).
My second half-Ironman (does half-Ironman + half-Ironman = full-Ironman? Answer: No) is on June 12th, in 10 days. This will be my first race with a tri-bike and an aero-helmet, and I’ve only used the former once and the latter not at all (about to go try it right now). I should have been training with both of these at least two months ago, but that’s how it goes sometimes. But in an effort to minimize race-day complications, I am going out right now to do a 1-hour ride with my race day gear. That is, my one-piece race suit, my aero helmet, my tri-bike, and a pair of heavily padded bike shorts over my race suit, since I’m adjusting to this new bike/new position/new saddle and still will be come race day.
This gives me the opportunity to test everything and find out if something doesn’t work. For example, I have no idea how wearing bike shorts over my one-piece race suit is going to work out. I’ve worn the bike shorts plenty–by themselves, and I’ve also worn the race suit in two races, but I’ve never worn them together. Maybe it will be just fine, but maybe I’ll find out that I’ve got too much material down there and it causes skin to chafe against other skin, or that some of the seams line up and rub in the wrong place, or something else I haven’t thought of. At least I’ll have time to correct the problem and try other solutions, which you can’t exactly do on race day without ruining your triathlon experience to one degree or another.