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Got To Tri Blog

What Kit Do You *Need* for a Triathlon

We’ve identified 13 essential beginner triathlon items

If you’re new to triathlon, ensuring you have the right kit ahead of your first race is key. You want to be nice and organised so that you avoid that last minute panic and can focus all your energy on the race.

There is lots of “tri gear” out there, so to help you get started we have identified a lucky 13 essential items for you.

Tri Suit

The idea of triathlon is to get from start to finish in the least amount of time, and changing from bike shorts into running shorts eats up that time, so using a tri kit allows you to wear the same outfit from start to finish. Comprising quick-drying fabric and a small chamois to make the bike ride more comfortable, they’ll help you get from swim to bike to run much more swiftly.

Race belt

You’ll be issued with a race number before every race — so this is a must.

A race belt allows you to easily clip your number on and strap it to yourself. Tip: once you’re headed onto the bike, turn it behind you so officials can track you. And once you’re done with the bike and headed onto the run, turn the belt around so your race number faces forward (and smile for the cameras) — the photographers can now identify who you are!

Sports watch

After your first triathlon, you’ll want to pick up a little digital Timex to compare your times from that first event and see how you’ve progressed. A simple sport watch should offer split timing, allowing you to split up and separate your swim, bike and run times as components of your overall time. If you catch the triathlon bug, you might justify an upgrade (of which there are many)!

Goggles

We recommend getting two pairs of swim goggles. One clear or light tint (for swimming at indoor pools and/or race day under cloudy conditions), and second pair which are smoke-tinted.

📸: blueseventy

This second pair act as sunglasses for the days when the sun is in your eyes, make sighting the buoys during the race a real challenge.Try them out in the store to be sure they fit. Some beginners find the mask style of goggles less claustrophobic than traditional goggles.

Wetsuit

This is one you want to be sure to test well before race day so you can get used to it. There’s an inherent tightness that might feel odd at first, but that should go away the moment you get in the water. A swimming wetsuit is like a full-body floatie, helping you stay level on the water, as well as much warmer.

📸: blueseventy

Wetsuit lubricant

The constant movement of the neck while swimming often creates a friction rub on the skin. Products like Bodyglide or TriSlide knock down that friction

Transition towel or mat

This is a simple one: A towel or mat serves as a visual marker of where your bike is once out of the water (many triathletes get towels that look as crazy as possible to make finding that spot even easier). It’s also a clean, dry place to stand while hauling off your wetsuit or putting on your run shoes.

Bike

Hard to do a triathlon without a bike! If you’re just getting into the sport, you can use what you have. If the tri bug bites you, then you can start thinking about getting a more appropriate bike, maybe with clip-on aerobars. But for now, any bike will do. Be sure to take it to your local shop to be sure everything’s tight and safe, that the tires are aired up and that the chain is lubed.

Tip: Aero will not make you more aero 🍫

Water bottle

Got to have something to sip on the bike, especially if you have a favourite energy drink, right? You can even take it out onto the run if so inclined.

Helmet

No, you don’t need a pointy helmet. And you don’t need a £300 one with vented channels and carbon fiber structure. A £75 helmet will protect your head just as well as the expensive ones. Just be sure to get it from your local bike shop, which generally carries brands that have passed standardised testing for safety. Bell, Giro and Specialized are among the top names in the category.

Flat kit bag

Good idea to have this one (and know how to use the goods within). Installed underneath your saddle, this little bag should be stocked with the essentials should you experience a flat tire, including a mini-pump, a tube and tire levers. Check with your local shop to see if it offers sessions on how to change a flat. Because flat tires are inevitable. Be prepared.

Running shoes

Got a pair of running shoes you’ve been using to go to the gym? Those will be good enough to make your first foray into tri.

Sunglasses

On the bike and run, a basic pair of sport sunglasses, are invaluable. Wind, bugs, raindrops and keeping the sun glare out. And you’ll look the part…

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