Gear for Triathletes
Thinking of getting into triathlons? Before you begin you should keep in mind the amount of gear for triathletes that is required to successfully complete a triathlon, especially at the competitive level. Listed below are the bare necessities to get you through the swim-bike-run.
Unless you are already a competitive swimmer, much of the cost for a new triathlete comes from buying swim gear.
Wet Suit/Tri Suit
Beginners who are unsure whether they will stick with the sport should pick up a simple wet suit for the swim portion; however, those who plan to stick around for a while should consider a tri suit, which can be worn from start to finish as it is designed to be durable enough to be worn for the swim, bike, and run. The body is quick drying while the shorts are padded for the long haul on the bike.
Wet Suit Lubricant
The neck opening of the wet suit or tri suit is prone to chafing as the athlete continually turns his or her head to breathe. Pick up a good lubricant designed for triathletes and apply liberally around the neck.
A good-fitting pair of goggles are essential during the race, and packing an extra pair (or two) never hurts. Look for a tinted pair to use if the race will be held in sunny conditions.
Many athletes find that a swim cap is most comfortable, especially to avoid having to put a bike helmet on over wet hair. The race will likely include a swim cap in the goody bag, but bring your own just in case.
Look for a microfiber towel to help you dry off quickly before hopping on the bike during the first transition.
Eating a snack after the swim and before the bike is a good idea, as is packing race nutrition (such as energy bars or gels) into your pockets or onto the bike.
Have a water bottle ready in the transition area so that you can quickly rehydrate before getting on the bike. Although your bike will have a water bottle you may not remember to drink until you are well past the first transition.
If you are planning to participate in triathlons you likely already own a bicycle, but if not, this category will be your biggest expense.
This one should be a no-brainer!
While not necessary, some riders prefer to be laid out in a more aerodynamic position when riding.
This item is one of personal comfort, and may be especially necessary for a longer distance ride.
You must have a helmet in order to compete in most triathlons, so be sure to have one that is approved by the race committee.
Wet feet + cycling shoes are often a recipe for blisters. Investing in a good pair of non-cotton socks is recommended.
For best efficiency, consider purchasing a pair of clips for the cycling portion. These will help you better attack the race while expending less energy.
If you do not opt for a tri suit (or even if you do) a good pair of comfortable bike shorts will make your ride much more enjoyable.
If you are not wearing a tri suit you will need a shirt to wear while riding the bike and during your run.
Nothing is worse than being half way into the race and getting a flat, only to realize you do not have the means to fix it. Do not let your hard work go to waste and always be sure to have a flat kit on your bike.
Most triathlons are held during the middle of summer which means blazing sun. Protect your eyes and keep your facial muscles relaxed by investing in a comfortable pair of athletic sunglasses that you are comfortable wearing while running and biking.
A waterproof watch will help you keep track of how you are doing throughout the race. If possible, take splits during your transitions so that you have feedback for areas of improvement.
You can save yourself time and hassle by attaching your number to a race belt. When you get on the bike, simply flip the belt around so that your number is on your back. When it is time to run, turn your belt around again so that your number is facing forward. Race belts can also hold gels and nutrition.
Another obvious entry on this list, but important nonetheless.
Eliminate having to tie your shoes by wearing laces that automatically cinch in order to shave a few seconds off your time.
If your feet get sweaty during the bike ride you will likely want to change your socks before the run.
If you are sans tri suit then a good pair of racing shorts will be necessary. Look for a pair that is comfortable and does not chafe.
Depending on the length of your race and the weather, a handheld water bottle may be a necessity.
The second transition area is another good time to have a snack that is heavier than a gel.
Once you take off your helmet your head will be exposed to the sun’s harsh rays from the mid-day sun. A hat or visor can help you stay comfortable, especially if you opt not to wear sunglasses.
In order to have regular access to a pool for training, a gym membership is required.
You will want your bike to be in tip-top shape for race day, so be prepared to have it undergo a tune up before the big event. During the tune up your chain and cassette will be professionally cleaned, the brakes will be centered, the rear derailleur cable tension will be adjusted, and all the bolts on the bike will be properly tightened.
And of course our essential gear for triathletes would not be complete with out a medal display solution. Make sure you have a place to display all those medals. Check out the Triathlon Medal Hangers!