Triathlete: 20 Must-Haves: Essential Beginner Tri Gear.

Competing in a triathlon requires completing three activities – swimming, cycling and running. However, you require some essential items of equipment to get you from the starting point at the edge of the water to the ending point.

Even though the races might make you think otherwise with all the lighter components and carbon fibre equipment, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get from one place to another.

We have collected the most essential triathlon gear for newbies – all the equipment which is totally required for you to prepare for training and the competition.

1. Bike

It’s nearly impossible to complete a triathlon without a bicycle. What kind do you need? If you are a novice in the sport, you could use either your beach cruiser or mountain bike for a sprint race that is close to home.

Dad’s antiquated 10-speed bicycle is adequate enough to attempt an Olympic-distance race. If you are bitten by the triathlon bug, it is time to investigate getting a bike better suited to your requirements – maybe one with clip-on aero bars – and in the long term, upgrading to a bicycle specialized for triathlons.

But for now, any bike will do. Make certain to take it to a nearby store to guarantee that everything is securely mounted and in order—the tyres are filled with air, the chain is oiled (who wants to hear squeak squeak squeak for 10 miles?), and all fasteners are firmly secured. Don’t worry about feeling fast just yet—that’ll come later.

2. Bike Shorts

It could be very tempting to utilize loose running pants or other general gym shorts for running or exercising, but here is an insider tip: Nobody ever regrets the decision to wear skin-tight bike shorts with specifically designed cushioning for the lower region. But even better than that, go the whole hog and go for an all-in-one Tri suit, there are many on the market to suit all pockets.

It might feel strange to have the thick cushioning pad beneath you when wearing cycling shorts. But that pad—or chamois—serves a purpose.

In addition to providing support, the fabric consists of special microfibers that will adjust with the contours of your body while also providing a smooth feeling that avoids chafing.

The fabric of your underwear looks okay, but it’s not very gentle on the skin due to it being cotton. Getting a pair of basic bike shorts for riding your bike will make the experience much better, so it’s not an option if you want to enjoy it. It’s only a matter of time before you wind up getting a pair.

3. Flat Kit Bag

It is necessary to acquire this item and possess the knowledge of how to utilize the components. This bag, which belongs under your seat, should be filled with everything you need if you get a puncture, such as a pump, a new inner tube, and levers to remove the tire.

See if your local store has any classes available on how to repair a flat tire. It won’t matter how great a flat kit is if you lack the necessary skills to utilize it.

4. Helmet

No, you don’t need an Aero helmet. You don’t have to get an expensive, highly engineered one with airflow vents and carbon fibres. A £50 – £60 helmet will provide the same head protection as more expensive models.

Make sure to obtain your bicycle from a neighbourhood bike shop, which usually stocks brands that have met the requirements of safety testing.

It’s not recommended to purchase a pre-owned helmet, as it’s uncertain if it has been in a collision. If it has been involved in any kind of accident, it is not safe to use. Some of the most well-known companies in the genre are Bell, Giro, and Specialized.

5. Goggles

It is suggested to obtain two sets of swimming goggles – one that is transparent or has a delicate tint (for when swimming indoors and in events with overcast weather), and a darker-coloured set which acts as sunglasses on sunny days when having to spot the buoys on the race course may be difficult.

Test the items in the store to make sure that they fit correctly. Beginners may not find traditional goggles to be as confining as a mask-style of goggles. Fit tips when trying on goggles:

  • First, hold the eyepieces to your eye sockets to see if the size of the lenses feels comfortable.
  • Adjust the nosepiece (some don’t have this) to fit accordingly. You can cut off any excess later.
  • The strap should sit just above your ears.
  • If there are 2 straps, the top one should go over the upper back of your head.
  • Adjust the straps so the goggles fit snugly and have no gaps around the edges. There should be a slight vacuum seal, but they should not fit so tightly that they hurt.

You can place the straps of your swim goggles either on top of or beneath the swim cap. Some triathletes place earphones under their swim caps to stop a competitor from yanking them out.

6. Watch

Digital Watch Images - Free Download on Freepik

After completing your initial triathlon, you should consider buying a Timex digital watch to track how far you have come since your maiden event. You will need a timepiece to assist you with regulating and organizing your training and exercises.

A sports watch should have the capability to break down your overall time into individual parts; this would mean that you can differentiate between the times when you were swimming, biking and running.

If you’re searching for a triathlon smartwatch that includes features such as heart rate monitoring, GPS tracking, and more advanced features, see our selection of the leading devices in this category.

7. Race Belt

In the T1 Pro Magnetic Triathlon Race Belt Gels at your fingertips! | Triathlon race, Triathlon, Gel

Attach the race number given to you by the race organization onto the elastic belt and wear it when you get on your bike. Make sure you put the race number on the back so race officials can monitor you.

Otherwise, you’ll lose valuable time having to put the item on once out of the water, or even worse, wear it while you swim, which is not allowed.

Once you have finished the biking portion of the race and are ready for the running section, make sure your race belt is flipped around so that your identification number is facing out. Be sure to smile as you run, as there will be photographers who are looking to identify who you are by your race number!

8. Wetsuit

The 9 Best Triathlon Wetsuits for 2023 - Triathlon Newbies

It is beneficial to try this out before the competition so you can become accustomed to it, but you may not need to if the water temperature is warm enough. It is usually recommended to wear a wetsuit if the water temperature is below 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

A definite snugness that may appear unusual initially, but this should be gone the instant you get in the liquid. A wetsuit used for swimming functions similarly to a full-body floatation device, helping the wearer remain more even on the surface of the water and thereby swim more quickly.

9. Sunglasses


Cycling Sunglasses Anti-UV Glasses Goggles Riding Bike Sports Polarized Eyewear: Yellow

A basic set of sports shades, which start from as low as $45, can be invaluable in biking and running activities. Wind, bugs, rain, and an unexpected outflow of energy drink from your bottle can all be kept away by your eye protectors. They are also superb for reducing the brightness of the sun.

10. Running Shoes

Do not wear any workout or leisure shoes; purchase a pair of shoes specifically intended for running. You can easily locate older models that are marked down in price on the internet.

If you’re participating in a shorter triathlon, wearing racing shoes may be suitable. If you’re going on a long journey, you should probably get training shoes as they provide stability, cushion and comfort.

A suggestion for triathletes looking to save time is to use adjustable laces or toggles on their sneakers.

  • Toggles are put on your shoestrings to cinch the laces tight quickly. Once the toggle is on, just cut the laces shorter or secure the laces to a lower section of the shoestring so they don’t flop around while you’re running.
  • Stretch laces are elastic-like laces that have toggles. The laces stretch for easy on/off; just tighten the toggle for security.

If you make the effort of putting on socks in the initial transition (T1), you can keep them on for the second transition (T2) and continue on your way. You can have a brand new set of socks ready to go at terminal two alongside your running shoes.

11. Running Hat

Best running caps and visors in 2023 - 220 Triathlon

We spend plenty of time outside in races, as well as in practice. It is vital to keep your head safe from the sun’s rays, in addition to being beneficial by blocking the sun from your eyes.

12. Earplugs and Nose Plugs

If you’re looking to stop water from entering your ears, you might want to consider wearing a set of comfy silicone earplugs. If desired, you can use a nose plug to stop water from entering your nostrils.

13. Bike Shoes

Cycling shoes with a rigid sole provide much more energy than running shoes. Shoes that directly attach to the cycle’s pedal are referred to as “clipless” and these offer the best pedalling energy.

For triathlon activities, buy shoes that can be put on and taken off quickly for faster transitions.

  • Shoes that have 1 or 2 hook-and-loop strap closures generally allow faster change-outs than shoes with laces.
  • Look for a loop at the top-back of the heel—it helps you pull the shoe on more easily.

14. Socks

Some racers choose to forgo wearing socks to speed up their transition times even faster. Don’t attempt this for the first time on the day of the race. Practice this many days earlier. Head to the track and jog a couple of circuits. Keeping socks close by so that you can easily put them on when necessary.

If you are worried about developing blisters caused by excessive heat, perspiration and rubbing, you will be glad to have taken the time to put on socks before riding the bike. It’s truly awful to have painful, blistered, and bloody feet after riding a bike and still having to run.

The kind of thickness you like in a sock is mostly down to individual preference, but make sure they are constructed using materials that are water-absorbing like merino wool or synthetic fibres.

Suggestion: Consider putting powder, lubricant, and/or duct tape on areas inside your shoes that may rub uncomfortably if you don’t wear socks.

15. Tools

Ich bin mit der Qualität mehr als zufrieden

It is hoped that you will cycle easily through the biking part, however, you just can’t predict whether you will experience a puncture. That’s why it’s always good to be prepared.

Although some events provide resources throughout the competition, you can be confident you won’t have to depend on others as you will be equipped with your own supplies. On the bike have:

  • 2 extra tubes
  • 2 or 3 tyre levers
  • Bike multi-tool
  • CO2 cartridge and/or hand pump

16. Cycling Gloves

Unisex cycling gloves for men and women | Santini Cycling

Should you use them? Whether or not you think it’s worthwhile to wear them comes down to how comfortable you feel.

17. Nutrition

How to Carry All Your Nutrition For Your Ironman Triathlon - AgeGrouper

The type of food that is provided for free at the race is typically determined by the sponsors involved. Race organizers typically offer bananas, cereal, cookies, protein bars, gels and beverages for competitors.

A person’s choice between bringing their own food and drinks or procuring them while on the journey is a personal matter. If you choose to carry your own, there are several ways to do so:

  • Water or beverage: Traditional water bottles fit into standard water-bottle cages on your bike. Triathlon-specific bottles have a straw for hands-free sipping while cycling and a mesh plug for quick refilling. They slip into some types of aero bars; otherwise, you can use special brackets that clip onto any handlebar.
  • Food storage: Some riders use a cycling jersey and stash snacks in the rear pockets. Others tape their energy gels onto the handlebar. Still, others attach small hook-and-loop holders to the handlebar that are large enough to hold their energy goodies.

18. Sunscreen

Best sunscreen for runners in 2023 - 220 Triathlon

It does not matter if it is a bright, sunny day or a cloudy, grey day; UV rays are still present and can be damaging. UVA rays are associated with signs of premature ageing and skin cancer (remember, UVA stands for Aging) and UVB rays are linked to sunburn and skin cancer (this is where UVB stands for Burning).

Those with the most complexions should don an SPF 30 or more powerful water-resistant sunscreen (people with sensitive skin should wear an SPF 50 sunscreen). Put on the product before you go outside or at least 30 minutes ahead of time so that it can seep into your skin and act as a guard against the sun.

Once you have been assigned a number for your swim competition, you should wait for your skin to dry before putting on the wetsuit. You should also generously reapply during each subsequent stage.

Even if a sunscreen claims to be waterproof, it doesn’t guarantee that it won’t be removed by sweat or wiping. Don’t forget your lips and ears, too.

19. Sleeves (Arm Warmers)

Kids Arm Warmers. Winter Cycling, Cyclocross, Triathlon Slip-On Sleeves – Kids Racing Ltd

Thermal sleeves can be a useful choice for both warm and chilly days. On bright days, these arm coverings keep your complexion from suffering the ill effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. On cool days, they provide extra insulation.

Suggestion: Consider having a vest or a long-sleeved shirt available in your transition areas as they can be quickly taken off or put on depending on the temperature.

20. Compression Clothing

 Men's Compression Shirt Running Shirt 3D Print Long Sleeve Base Layer Athletic Athleisure Spandex Breathable Quick Dry Moisture Wicking Fitness Gym Workout Running Sportswear Activewear 3D Print

Triathlon clothing made to be fitted tightly, or a thin layer of clothing worn underneath, is designed to minimize tiredness of the muscles and support their quicker recovery of them.

It is believed that lactic acid accumulates in the body during arduous physical activities. This contributes to fatigue, soreness and weariness. Clothes designed for compression are intended to help boost blood circulation, stimulate circulation, and hasten the elimination of lactic acid to help with recovery.

Do not mistake clothing designed for triathlons for medical compression garments. The latter are very tight-fitting and can impair blood flow if used during exercise.


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