How do you decide what equipment you need for your very first triathlon?
The equipment required for a triathlon can be a daunting task for the beginner triathlete. It is not just what is required; it is the number of different options that are out there to choose from. If you flick through any triathlon magazine, there are a multitude of different items to choose from, and often you close the magazine more confused than when you opened it.
The common questions regarding the type of triathlon equipment are:
- What bike should I get?
- Do I need a wetsuit?
- What clothes should I wear?
As a triathlon beginner, I suggest that we keep things as simple as possible. The fancy "toys" can come later.
There is no need to go out and buy a new bike (unless of course you currently don't have one, and even then you could borrow one), or to buy all of the various training aids & tools that are out there.
For your very first triathlon, you just need to have the basic equipment.
The essential items for the swim portion of your triathlon racing and training are goggles and a swim cap (and of course some swimmers!!). You could add a competitive swimsuit (usually made of lycra) if you will feel more comfortable. A wetsuit may be required if there is an open-water swim in cold water.
Suggestion: Having a good pair of goggles is a wise investment. You want to make sure that they are watertight and are not going to fall off during your swim.
The essential item to have for the bike portion of your race is a bike. It is also mandatory at every triathlon event to have a helmet.
For your first triathlon, any bike that is roadworthy and is in a good condition is more than suitable. Many people actually borrow a bike for their first triathlon. If you do borrow a bike from someone, you just want to make sure that you get a chance to ride on it before the race so that you are familiar with how it handles.
I would also highly recommend having at least one (1) water bottle with you on the bike so that you can re-hydrate (as the bike is the first chance that you will get to re-hydrate from the start of the race).
Additional items for the bike leg of the triathlon may include; cycling or tri shorts, and repair equipment (spare tires, puncture kit, etc).
The essential item here is to have a pair of running shoes that is comfortable and fits your feet well. It is important that the shoes do not pinch or rub anywhere. You want to make sure that you do you some run training with the shoes that you are going to wear during the race.
In addition, your running outfit (clothes) should be comfortable and breathable and this should include a cap. You want to make sure that none of the clothes that you are wearing cause any rubbing or chaffing as this will make for a very unpleasant racing experience and may leave you wondering if triathlon is really a sport that you should continue with.
In summary, you want to make sure that the equipment that you use fits you well and that you feel comfortable using it. Remember that your equipment doesn't have to be perfect; it simply needs to be functional.