I spent my whole life swimming competitively only to stop doing all physical activity one I graduated college and entered the “real world.” So naturally when my boyfriend (now husband) challenged me to a triathlon a few years post-college, I agreed and told him I would crush him. I had zero idea what I was doing when I signed up, but quickly learned that triathlon training is hard, but it’s also addictive.
Cut to a few years later and I have completed numerous sprint triathlons and a few Olympic distances (my husband, the one who challenged me, has gone all the way up to a Half Ironman). And the biggest obstacle in training for all of these races is the amount of stuff you need to get to the finish line. It’s easy to get caught up in all the latest and greatest gear, but what I’ve found is that you really just need the basics. If you’re a beginner—and even if you’re not—this list of products is all you need to train for race day.
FYI, I didn’t crush my husband in that first triathlon, he beat me by 24 seconds, but I’ve vowed to beat him one day.
Padded Bike Shorts
If you buy one thing this triathlon season, let these be it. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in the saddle and that means a very sore butt. Invest in a quality pair of padded bike shorts—your booty will thank you.
Sure, you could get a general sense of how long you’ve been running from a regular old watch. But will that watch tell you exactly how far you’ve run, how many calories you’ve burned, your heart rate and if your mom is trying to call you? This ultra-thin GPS-enabled watch has it all and can be used for swimming, biking and running. Plus, it synchs with your smartphone to display call and text alerts.
Protect your noggin with this super comfortable helmet. It’s even got strategically placed vents to allow for maximum air flow.
These anti-fog goggles are a favorite in the swimming community. They come with four interchangeable nose pieces to make sure you get the perfect fit. Plus, the mirrored UV protected lenses are perfect for outdoor training.
Buy a bunch (these will rip overtime and you will lose many) in your favorite colors.
These triathlon sneakers provide light, natural support and are ideal if you’re training on asphalt. With a quick lace system (you don’t need to tie them!) and a sock-like liner, you’ll be able to easily slide these on during your transition.
If your race is outdoors, chances are the open water will be a little chilly. Stay warm and buoyant in this wetsuit.
Whether it’s biking or running, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the sun while training. These sunglasses not only protect your eyes with polarized lenses, they won’t bounce while you’re moving. Plus, they look pretty bada$$.
Buy lots and apply it everywhere (literally, everywhere!) to avoid chafing. You can thank me later.
Think of this as an expandable fanny pack that looks cool and doesn’t bounce while you run. It fits essentials like your phone, keys, tissues and energy gels, so you can have easy access to everything you need while you train.
Make your transitions easier and swim, bike and run in the same outfit. This suit has everything—hip pockets for storage, padded bike shorts to protect your backside, and material that will stay put and limit chafing. It’s perfect for training or race day.
If you’re going to train hard, you’re going to have take the right steps to recover properly. The hours spent biking, swimming and running can leave you sore and tight. Enter the foam roller, your new best friend. This multi-surfaced roller replicates the feeling of a massage therapists hands to relieve knots, kinks, joint pain, soreness and muscle pain.
As you can see, there’s a lot of equipment that comes with training for a triathlon. So, you’re definitely going to need a cool, yet functional, bag to haul all your gear around. This bag has a million organizational pockets, plus exterior mesh compartments to keep your wet gear separate. It’s also got a laptop sleeve—perfect if you’re commuting to work after training.
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