Swimsuit: Any swimsuit will do, but a one piece tight fitting suit designed for swimming made out of Lycra or a Durafast (doesn’t wear out as fast). material is best. To extend the life of your swim suit you want to make sure you rinse it out with clean water immediately after you finish swimming. The longer chlorine stays in your suit the faster it breaks down the material. Always air dry your suit, instead of putting it in the dryer to extend the life of the suit.
Goggles: The best way to see if a pair of goggles is going to be right for you is to take them out of the package and press them against your eyes. If they suction, then chances are they will fit you. There are also choices of goggles with tint and without. If you will be training outside or your event is early in the morning I would consider purchasing a pair with tint. Think of it as sunglasses for the pool. Sometimes goggles can get foggy/steamy inside. A cheap remedy for fog is to put a drop of baby shampoo in them and rinse them out thoroughly before you swim. There is also great anti fog sprays and drops out there for sale.
Swim Cap: Swim caps are not a requirement, but are extremely helpful in keeping your hair out of your face while you’re swimming and causes you to have less drag (aka faster) in the pool.
Bike: New or used, a bike is required! A road or hybrid bike is the best for cycling on the road. A road bike is designed to travel on smooth surfaces with skinny tires. A hybrid is a general purpose bike that can travel on a wide variety of terrains. The tires are typically wider than those of a road bike and the layout of the bike is designed for comfort. A mountain bike or beach cruiser will suffice, but you will work very hard to pedal. Road or hybrid bikes are best for triathlon road riding. If you don’t want to spend any money, just use your old bike or your neighbors’ that is sitting in the garage (but get it checked out by a pro first). You do not need a brand new bike to get started.
Helmet: A helmet is required for participation. Never skimp on the helmet you buy, get the best one you can afford, and get help fitting it properly from a pro. Never cycle without one – EVER.
Women’s Triathlon Clothes: You will eventually want to invest in cycling shorts with padding as these can provide relief on hard saddles. The padding is called a chamois. In triathlon specific shorts the chamios is a light bit of padding designed to dry quickly after swimming and be comfortable for riding and are designed to dry quickly and be comfortable when you run and not feel like a diaper. Bike shorts are fine for training on long bike rides but the chamois is thick and is not good for swimming and running. A brightly colored shirt made of moisture-wicking fabric is ideal for visibility. Stay away from cotton. Cotton is the enemy. Cotton will stick to you and cause chafing. Chafing is bad. It will make for an unpleasant experience.
Anti-chafing spray: Speaking of chafing, we recommend purchasing an anti-chafing spray or glide and applying it anywhere and everywhere. Don’t skip this step. You’ll thank us later.
Padded gloves: These are nice for comfort and protection if any accidents happen. They can also prevent your hands from becoming numb by gripping the handlebars.
Running Shoes: For running and walking you need running shoes that are recommended through a fit process for you. Being fitted for shoes usually entails a fit expert watching you walk or run and analyzing your gait cycle, and recommend an insert if needed. This will greatly reduce your likelihood of injury. Make sure you have moisture wicking socks. Quick laces are great for getting your shoes on quickly!
Sports Bra: A well-fitted fitness bra that is less than one year old is a necessity! The girls need support and if they aren’t, you may damage the Cooper’s ligament, and it’s only able to be corrected by surgery.
Running Shorts and Shirt: These are optional. If you are wearing a tri suit, you can wear only a tri suit for all three legs. If you want, you can throw on shorts and a shirt over it for your run. If you are swimming in only a swimsuit, you can run in your bike shorts, or switch to running shorts.
Transition is often referred to as the fourth discipline in triathlon. See our transition checklist for more information on what you to bring, and how to arrange your station. A Transition back pack is one of the best investment pieces you can buy for your triathlon. You are able to carry all of your gear for training and event day and keep it organized.
Hopefully that gives you an idea of where to start. You don’t need to break the bank investing in the latest gear. When you get bit by the triathlon bug, then you might want to invest in more gear. For now, go out and have fun and enjoy the minimalist approach! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or post a question. You may not be the only one with that question! You got this!