A great part of the success of every endeavor boils down to how prepared you were from the start. If you’re going to be joining a triathlon, it would be in your best interest to be prepared weeks, even months, before the actual event. You’ve conditioned your mind and your body, but what about the rest? Do you have the right gear that will take you through what promises to be a challenging and physically grueling activity?
Must-have Gear for Triathlons
First, you must have a clear-cut idea of what triathlon is right for you. Knowing exactly what you’ll be up against will give you a clearer picture of the gear that you’ll need throughout the activity. Triathlons consist of swimming, cycling, and running. Here are the basic gear items that you should have, no matter what type of triathlon you are taking on.
- Clothing: The clothing item you must never do without in a triathlon is a swimsuit. Most participants opt to wear one throughout the entire race, but there are also clothing specifically designed for triathlons, such as “tri shorts”, racesuits and tops that are made from moisture-wicking and quick-drying material while providing UV protection. Wearing a wetsuit during the first leg of the triathlon will also increase your buoyancy and reduce drag, giving you a faster time. You can then slip into a pair of biking shorts before getting on a bike.
- Compression Clothing: These are placed under triathlon clothing in order to reduce muscle fatigue by improving blood flow and circulation. They are also meant to promote the faster recovery of sore and tired muscles. They also help in regulating body temperature.
- Footwear: If you opt to wear socks during the cycling stage, choose a pair whose thickness is something you’re comfortable with, and also made from moisture-wicking material. Your choice of running shoes will depend on the distance: a shorter triathlon can be run with just racing flats, but longer distances may require training shoes. You may want to slip into a pair of stiff-soled cycling shoes instead of your running shoes when you reach the cycling stage since they are made for pedaling efficiency.
- Bicycle: Again, look at the type of triathlon you’re joining. If it is on trails, a mountain bike will be necessary, although it isn’t a favorite when it comes to speed. If you have the budget for it, get a triathlon-specific bike. Otherwise, a road bike you are most comfortable with can definitely hold its own.
- Head Gear: Normally, triathlon organizers provide participants with swim cap. When choosing your swim cap, you must – again – consider the fit around your head. When trying on a helmet for biking, choose one that offers ventilation and is compatible with your sunglasses, if you plan on wearing one during the race.
- Eye Wear: Consider wearing sunglasses when jumping on to your bike. These will block wind and UV rays, and reduce glare, which wreaks havoc with your vision. During the swimming stage, wear a pair of well-fitting goggles to keep the water away from your eyes.
- Fitness Monitors: During the race, you need to be able to keep track of your fitness levels. Watch your time using a simple chronograph watch, assess if you are pushing your body too hard, too fast, using a heart rate monitor, and monitor your progress during the race with the help of a speed and distance monitor.
- Pre-Race Gear: Just as important as your gear during the race is your gear before the race. Every pre-race gear should include a large backpack or duffel bag that can be slung over the shoulder but does not hinder movements. Other items to be included are lube, or any anti-chafing product that would ease discomfort due to friction, a first aid kit equipped to deal with minor cuts, blisters, and crashes, sunscreen with at least SPF 50, and water or energy drinks that restore electrolytes.
Gear Up For The Race Of Your Life
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being prepared. What we listed are just a few of the basic items that every triathlon participant should have. There are other items that could be included, depending on your needs and personal preferences. The important thing is that they will aid you instead of hold you back when you’re in the actual race.