A beginners guide to triathlon gear

Tool up for success: A beginner’s guide to triathlon gear

Triathlon gear in a nutshell
Discover the world of triathlon gear and unlock your full potential with our comprehensive guide. Learn about essential equipment and optional gear that can elevate your performance in this exhilarating sport.

Embarking on the journey of triathlon, a sport that combines swimming, biking, and running, requires the right equipment to enhance your performance and overall experience. With an array of gear like wetsuits, bikes, running shoes, and helmets, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Fear not, in this blog post, we will walk you through the must-have triathlon gear and introduce you to some optional items that can help you reach your peak performance. So, let’s dive in, train smart, and get ready to conquer the ultimate challenge!

Make the most of your current situation

Triathlon gear can indeed be quite expensive, and there’s often a perception that triathlon is three times more enjoyable, implying that both the training and equipment aspects are essential. However, it’s not necessary to acquire all the gear at once or even ever.

Take, for example, an athlete we once coached who began his journey by mounting his mother’s bike on a turbo trainer, spending the entire winter training indoors. By spring, he had saved enough money to purchase his first real bike. Remarkably, he went on to win the age group in a sprint triathlon event later that year.

So, what is the must-have triathlon gear, and what items are just nice to have? Find a balance that suits your needs and budget without compromising your passion and dedication to the sport.

Swim goggles are a crucial piece of equipment for any swimmer, whether you’re training or racing. They protect your eyes from chlorine and other irritants, while also allowing you to see clearly underwater. When choosing swim goggles, consider factors such as fit, comfort, lens type, and durability. A good pair of goggles can help you focus on your technique and improve your performance, while a poor fit or inadequate protection can be distracting and uncomfortable. Choose wisely and see the difference in your swimming.

Swim gear for triathlon

Starting swim training is relatively inexpensive. All you need is a swimsuit, a pair of goggles and a swim cap.

Must have

  • Swimsuit – A swimsuit is required unless you plan to train at a clothing-optional facility.
  • Swim goggles are crucial when swimming in chlorinated or saltwater environments. While goggles may not be necessary for brackish water or freshwater lakes, they make swimming significantly more comfortable.
  • Wetsuit for open water swimming – Eventually, you will need to consider investing in a wetsuit. Although it is generally required, confirming with the event organizer is best. We recommend referring to our guide to help you select the ideal triathlon wetsuit.

Nice to have

  • Swim cap – Depending on where you live, this can be mandatory gear for training. For us here in Sweden, it is not compulsory. However, it is a great way to keep hair away from your face and keep the pool’s hygiene high. Also, if you got a cap from your last triathlon event, use it with pride. You earned it and definitely have the bragging rights.
  • Earplugs and a nose clip – These are great tools to use if you are sensitive to getting water into your ear canals and/or sinuses.
  • Paddles, pull buoy, and swim fins – Swimming has lots of extra gear that you can use to become a better swimmer. Use them wisely, and harvest the benefits.
  • Safety buoy – When swimming in open water, a safety buoy is good for several reasons. You will be more visible to others out at sea, and the buoy is something to grab onto if you need to rest. Additionally, you can put your car key and wallet in it when swimming.
  • Buoyancy shorts – To simulate swimming in a wetsuit while swimming in the pool, you can use a pair of buoyancy shorts. They will help by lifting your hips and legs closer to the surface.

Triathlon gear for the bike split

Unlike the swim and run, you can break the bank on the bike. But relax; you do not need a NASA-equipped bicycle to participate in a triathlon. As long as your equipment follows the organizer’s rules, anything goes.

One important thing when you buy your first bike, get a frame that fits you. It will last you for many years, and everything else is replaceable.

Must have

  • Bicycle – that is, any bike!
  • Helmet for outdoor cycling – Safety first, so no helmet, no riding.

Nice to have

  • Indoor cycling turbo trainer – A turbo trainer serves as an excellent tool for winter training and is ideal for those who prefer a highly organized workout. With a trainer, you have the ability to manage nearly every aspect of your cycling session.
  • Bicycle shoes – Pedaling becomes more effective when you apply force through pushing, pressing, and pulling on the pedals. Connecting your shoes to the bike enables you to generate greater power by engaging additional muscles during the entire pedal rotation.
  • Sunglasses – Going fast will make your eyes dry. So, protect them from both the sun, wind, and bugs with a pair of sunglasses.
  • Water bottles are essential when cycling, as the wind resistance you experience during training can mask your perspiration. It’s crucial to stay consistently hydrated and replenished with energy!
  • Extra tire/tube and a pump – Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. Having to end training because of a flat tire is no fun. Prevent it by having spare parts with you on your ride.
  • Multi-tool – As mentioned above, you do not want to end training because of a technical breakdown.
Triathlon gear for the bike split
Choosing the right bike for triathlon training and racing is crucial, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. While anything goes as long as it follows the organizer’s rules, a well-fitting frame is essential. Don’t get caught up in all the high-tech gadgetry; focus on finding a bike that feels comfortable and efficient. Remember, your bike is an investment that will last for years, so prioritize a good fit over the latest bells and whistles. With the right bike, you’ll be able to focus on achieving your triathlon goals without worrying about your equipment.

What triathlon gear do you need to run?

When it comes to running – well, you know the slogan – just do it!

But get yourself a pair of good shoes that fits you and the terrain you will run in. However, remember that you will run on asphalt during a triathlon event. So make sure that you practice it.

Must have

  • Running shoes – Sure, you can take the route of barefoot running, but for most, that will take a considerable amount of time to get used to. So, opt for a pair of running shoes. Go to a running-specific store, and ask for help to pick a pair that suits you.

Nice to have

  • Cap – Protection from the sun is vital. And it will keep sweat away from dropping down into your eyes.
  • Sunglasses – You do not want to run around squinting. And it would be best to see where you are going and where to put your feet.
  • Energy belt – If you are going on a longer run, having extra energy to get you through will be welcomed.

A final word on triathlon gear

When beginning your triathlon training, it’s important to work with the resources you already possess rather than getting caught up in the hype surrounding high-end gear. Focus on making informed choices about the equipment you genuinely require for your training. Gradually invest in better gear to enhance your performance and training experience as you progress.

Remember that skill development is more important in the beginning than having the latest equipment.

Your next step

Since you’re here, it’s likely that you’re contemplating taking on the exhilarating challenge of your first triathlon. Our beginner’s triathlon guide is designed to help transform your curiosity into confidence, ensuring you’re well-informed and prepared to embark on this remarkable adventure. So let’s dive in and get started on this incredible journey together!


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