So, you've entered into a race, you've done your training, what can you do to prepare yourself for the big day?
Taper: It's important that you follow your pre-race training plan. Most will suggest tapering in the weeks leading up to the race to make sure your body isn't fatigued for the main event.
Nutrition: During your training work out what foods/fuel works well for you, both before, during and after the race. Find out which fuels or gels are provided in advance and train with this, and if they don’t agree with you then consider carrying your own. Find out before race day how many water and fuel stations there are on the bike and run routes and plan what you will carry accordingly. Make sure you don't change anything on race day. Plan your meals, and what time you need to take on food and drink before the race so there are no surprises on the day.
Clothing: Similar to nutrition, make sure you have trained in the kit and clothing that you are using on the race day so there are no surprises. New shorts might rub, a new wetsuit might be trickier to get out of and new trainers might affect your running performance.
Bike maintenance: it is a good idea to get your bike serviced prior to the race and check that it is in good working order. Pump up the tyres and check the brakes on the morning of the race. Some races allow you, or require you, to rack your bike the night before. It is important to check the bike again on the morning of the race and be prepared to make last minute fixes if needed. I once arrived on the morning of my ironman® race to find one of my tyres had burst overnight due to the change in air pressure, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time.
Know the conditions
During the days leading up to the race, it is a good idea to check the weather conditions for the race day so that you are prepared. For example, if it is a sea swim it is a good idea to monitor the sea conditions; if it is going to be wet you may consider waterproof clothing. If it is going to be super-hot you may need to increase your fluid intake.
Know the course
When you first get to the race campus familiarise yourself with the swim, bike and run courses. Where are the buoys that you have to swim around? How long is the transition distance from the swim to bike and bike to run? Are the bike and cycle routes laps, and if so how many? Where will there be water stations and how much fuel do you need to carry?
Plan your transition
Memorise where your slot is on the rack so you don't waste time trying to find it during transitions. Lay your bike and run gear out so it is ready to put on. I have used a plastic storage box to keep all my race day gear together, which has been handy to keep everything in one place in the transition zone.
The night before
Eat well, relax and get some sleep!