Triathlon Beginner's GuidePresented by: WannaTri Coaching
For the newbie, the old racing adage “run what you brung” is the mentality to adopt when considering triathlon gear. Use those items you already own, or can borrow from a friend. This includes a bicycle, bike helmet and other items. If you plan on doing an open water race where you’ll be wearing a wetsuit, most cities have stores where a wetsuit can be rented, or borrow one from a friend.
However, there are a few key pieces of gear that will make your first race more enjoyable:
Clothing: Invest in a triathlon “kit” – either a combination of a sleeveless jersey and padded shorts or a one piece outfit padded where your body meets the bike saddle. Traditional cycling shorts have a thick pad or chamois that is not comfortable to run in, and riding with a thick wet pad after a swim can be very uncomfortable. Most athletes wear the same clothes for the entire race, so make sure you choose something that works well and will not cause chaffing or blisters.
Swim goggles: Racing goggle-less is possible, but can lead to foggy vision for the remainder of the race.
Synthetic socks: Avoid cotton at all costs, or be prepared for blisters!
Body Glide®: Use this deodorant-like stick to slick up those areas where your skin rubs against clothing, your wetsuit, the soles of your shoes, etc.
Gear and setup choices are as unique as athletes themselves, and there are those who love to experiment, while others are extremely strict about their bike and transition setup.
A bike helmet is required at all races regardless of the distance. There are dozens of other regulations that USA Triathlon enforces primarily for safety reasons.