By Vicki Edwards, East End Tri
The sport of triathlon can be very expensive. If you go to a tri specific store, you can be talked into so much equipment it will make your head spin. Will you need it all? No, not right away. If you decide to stay in the sport, you will slowly accumulate everything you need.
For that first triathlon, what do you really need? Let’s break it down.
Before the swim start you will need warm clothing. It is usually at an ungodly hour of the morning and it can be quite chilly. Dress warm. A pair of sweats and a warm sweatshirt are ideal. You can always take it off. Better to have it and not want it than to want it and not have it. A headlamp is good to have as well. It can be dark.
You will need a bag to put all your gear in. So a backpack or duffle bag works well. So does a hefty bag. You do not need to spend large sums of money on a tri specific back pack.
For the swim, you must wear something you can swim in. There are tri specific shorts for men – you wear them for the swim, onto the bike and then onto the run. They are tight and yes, they are spandex. For women the same, but we have matching tops or you can wear a top you like. A really good sports bra is a must as it will be wet from the swim and we have to run so support is key. A stick of body glide will be lifesaving. Any place that fabric rubs or skin on skin rubs you will want to glide. Chafing is very painful. You should have a good set of swim goggles. They are not required but you won’t like swimming without them. Your eyes will burn. The swim cap is provided from the race.
For the bike you NEED a helmet. You cannot race without one. Get a new one as the old ones do not meet safety standards. You need a bike – either your own or borrowed. Sunglasses are nice as you can get pebbles kicked up from bikes in front of you. Depending on how long your race is you will need a water bottle on the bike. Hydration is necessary for racing. Most times, in the goody bag you receive from the race, there will be a water bottle. Some type of nutrition is good, a gu, a gel, a bar. They will all work.
For the run you need sneakers. Most first timers will be wearing sneakers on the bike. If you like hats or a visor, you can use that. Sunglasses will be on already. A run belt is a great purchase. Relatively cheap and is the best thing for the run number to be put on. Much better than safety pins. Water is given out on the course so you should be good there. Perhaps an extra gel and you are good to go.
For that first tri, you do not need to invest your life savings. Can you, absolutely. Do you have to – no. You will see those athletes with disc wheels, $12,000 bikes, expensive power meters and sunglasses that cost more than my first car. But just remember, they did not start out that way!
Vicki Edwards is the owner of East End Tri and proudly holds the following credentials:
NY Tri Expo Steering Committee 2016
Team Challenge LI Asst Coach
USAT Certified Race Official
USAT Certified Level I Coach
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist
USMS Certified Coach
Training Peaks Certified Coach