The Essential Triathlon Gear List For Beginners

Natalie Cecconi
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Must Haves

The two biggest expenses you’ll have when you start out doing triathlon are the bike and the wetsuit.

Your bike will become your most treasured possession and will give you the best value for your money. Once you’re hooked, it will be one of your biggest sources of joy. So be sure to get something that’s up to par with your passion.

The most important features you’ll want to look for in a bike are full suspension, lightweight, and a good fit.

Also, make sure the bike fits you perfectly. You should be able to stand over the bike and have enough seat height to allow proper pedaling while keeping your knees slightly flexed.

The wetsuit is also a substantial investment because typically, wetsuits don’t last more than a few years and they can be quite expensive. However, they will make a big difference in your comfort in the water, how easy you can learn the swim stroke, and how fast you can complete your swim.

Most triathlon wetsuits will provide enough warmth for open water training during the summer months and for races in tropical climates. However, it’s important to double-check the thickness of a wetsuit that you intend to buy.

Swim

Gear: Swimsuit, goggles, and cap Swimming is a strenuous exercise and requires a lot of skill, strength and stamina. Each of your three sporting events will count as a swim leg, but only one sport will be considered a triathlon swim. Most triathletes opt for a half or a full Ironman distance event, so double check and see how far you’ll be expected to swim.

Buying swim gear can be fun but it can also be challenging. It can be hard to find your size since not all brands make triathlon gear for certain body types. If you want to buy swimwear, it’s best to look for a shop that offers fitting services. Remember: Price ≠ Quality! Bags of triathlon gear on the Internet may be just as legitimate as those in a brick and mortar shop.

Bike

Water Bottle

The reason I chose a water bottle with hand strap over one that you have to tilt to drink is because when you’re riding your bike, you can’t tilt your bottle upside down and drink.

Biking and running are hard enough. Carrying a drink that is upside down and having to tilt back your head to get a drink is harder.

I learned this after trying that very thing. Let me tell you, it’s really hard to get that water positioned to pour in your mouth while you’re running.

Another challenge is when you’re biking where you need to carry one hand with the bike handle and the other hand on the water bottle. My hand always went to the handle on the bike, and I would then have to coax it back over to the water bottle to drink from it.

So I do believe a water bottle with hand strap is essential so you don’t have to maneuver to keep it upright to drink and you can have one hand on the bike.

Run

A triathlon is a difficult and sometimes painful athletic feat. But it’s also an exhilarating way to experience nature and pick up some fun new skills.

It puts your mind and body into a totally new place. A space where your only thought is to get across that finish line with your flag. Most triathlon participants start with a sprint or a super sprint, and then when they get a taste of the racing aspect, they graduate to a standard Olympic triathlon (swim 1500 metres, bike 40 kilometres, run 10 kilometres).

If you’ve ever thought about doing one of these races without being a pro athlete, you probably had some ideas about what to buy.

Here’s a list of the essential triathlon gear you’ll need as a beginner and how much they cost.

Nice to Haves

If you’ve purchased, or are considering purchasing a triathlon bike, there are several things you can choose to buy to enhance your riding experience.

The first is a bike computer. A basic bicycle computer will monitor your progress even if you are just using it for leisure riding.

If you plan to compete in triathlons however, a bike computer will be one of your essential triathlon gear.

You can choose from a selection of backlit units, which are capable of displaying all the important information, including current speed, cadence, heart rate, time, and more. Some of the more advanced units can also display workout data, distance covered, average speed and average pace.

A basic bike computer will set you back somewhere around fifty to sixty dollars, with the more advanced and feature-rich models costing a bit more.

If you’re planning on spending a lot of time on the road, then it’s important to get your ride fit with proper cycling shorts. A good pair of triathlon cycling shorts are designed to reduce chafing and provide enhanced support.

Since ride time can be extremely long, you want to minimize the risk of getting saddle sores. Cycling shorts will also help reduce chafing from your seat.

Swim

Gear: Swimsuit, goggles, and cap Swimming is a strenuous exercise and requires a lot of skill, strength and stamina. Each of your three sporting events will count as a swim leg, but only one sport will be considered a triathlon swim. Most triathletes opt for a half or a full Ironman distance event, so double check and see how far you’ll be expected to swim.

Buying swim gear can be fun but it can also be challenging. It can be hard to find your size since not all brands make triathlon gear for certain body types. If you want to buy swimwear, it’s best to look for a shop that offers fitting services. Remember: Price ≠ Quality! Bags of triathlon gear on the Internet may be just as legitimate as those in a brick and mortar shop.

Bike

Run

A triathlon is a difficult and sometimes painful athletic feat. But it’s also an exhilarating way to experience nature and pick up some fun new skills.

It puts your mind and body into a totally new place. A space where your only thought is to get across that finish line with your flag. Most triathlon participants start with a sprint or a super sprint, and then when they get a taste of the racing aspect, they graduate to a standard Olympic triathlon (swim 1500 metres, bike 40 kilometres, run 10 kilometres).

If you’ve ever thought about doing one of these races without being a pro athlete, you probably had some ideas about what to buy.

Here’s a list of the essential triathlon gear you’ll need as a beginner and how much they cost.

Other Gear

While you're training, you won't need much more gear since the majority of your time, to start, will be spent at your home, and you'll be able to wear whatever is comfortable for you. But as you get closer to race day, there are a few extra items you'll want to have.

You'll want to have a bike that is going to fit and is the right size for you. You can get a road bike that almost anyone can find at a neighborhood used bike store.

You'll also want an appropriate pair of shoes. It's suggested that you use the same shoes for running and cycling, as this helps the transition between bikes and running shoes to be more natural.

Another piece of gear you'll want is a helmet. This is going to protect you from head injury in the event of a fall and will have your safety as its number one priority.

Protecting your ears is also important. Because of this, you'll want to get a pair of quality cycling sunglasses that cover your eyes, your ears and also your nose.

Finally, you'll want to invest in a good pair of swim goggles if you're going to be training in the water. These will help protect your eyes when you hit the water during your swim with cold water.

In addition to the aforementioned pieces of gear, there are a few other things that beginners in triathlons often forget to pack.

Final Thoughts

Thank you again for downloading this book!

I hope this book was able to help you understand what triathlon is, how to get started, and how to train for it and start competing in it.

The next step is to head out on the open road or pool and start training for your triathlon. As you start traveling down this path, you’ll realize that it’s not a one-man show. You’ll meet many different people along the way and you’ll have all kinds of positive and negative experiences. You may meet some mean people and you may even get—or give!—a few black eyes along the way; but for the most part, it’s an incredible journey.

It’s exciting, challenging…and also mind-boggling. No matter how experienced you are with the races, the training or your overall athletic ability, you will soon discover there’s always something new to learn and master. So, dig in deep, work hard, and be patient. The rewards you get from triathlon are worth it; they are extraordinary.