Poking around on various Facebook groups and reading articles about triathlons can be overwhelming. Why? Because of the ‘stuff’ people talk about that they have. Wetsuit, transition bag, disc brakes, hydration system/vest, trainer, tri bike, road bike, saddle, etc. Sometimes, it can sound like a foreign language! It can be easy to want to buy it all!
There are lists such as: “The Best Triathlon Gear of 2019,” “15 Must Haves: Essential Beginner Tri Gear,” “Best Triathlon Watch: Buyer’s Guide,” and so many others. These lists cover clothes and gear needed during the race including an overview of watches. But, do you truly need everything on these lists, especially as a beginner athlete?
As a beginner athlete, one will need some basics. For the swim, something to swim in, swim cap, and goggles will be needed. For the bike, items needed include a bike, water bottle, shoes, and helmet. In the run, running shoes are needed as well as something to attach your bib number to your shirt. Some will wear a hat during the run or toss nutrition into a pocket. In addition, all athletes must wear a timing chip around their ankle.
At my first triathlon, in 2015, I wore a one-piece bathing suit for the swim and tossed bike shorts on over for the bike then completely changed to a run top and run shorts in T2 by using the port-o-potties. There was nothing special or out of the ordinary. I did not feel out of place as there were many triathletes with various bikes and outfits. I did not upgrade my bike (to a road bike – see prior post) until I was in season 3. My one-piece bathing suit became a tri-top with bikini bottoms for the swim and I tossed running shorts on over the bottoms. Time in T1 was reduced drastically.
The sport of triathlons can be costly from race fees, to transportation and overnight stays to the gear. For some athletes, they purchase the best of the best that is out there and others work with what they have. It is a personal and budgeting preference!
Remember, it’s not the ‘stuff’ or gear that makes the triathlete, it is the individual. Happy shopping and training!