THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON

The big day has come and you are on the starting blocks - it's time for your first triathlon! Do you have the right equipment? Here are some tips so you can rest easy on race day.

One might think that all you need for a triathlon is a swimming costume, a bike and some running shoes, but nothing could be further from the truth! You will need proper equipment, including some products that are crucial for respecting the rules and essential for a successful triathlon. This is the final step, but certainly the most important - preparing your equipment!

You will find a list of all the equipment you need to put in your bag on race day, plus some little tips to make things easier.

TRIATHLON EQUIPMENT : THE BASICS

The first piece of equipment which will make your first triathlon a lot easier is the famous trisuit! This cross between cycling shorts and wrestling costume will enable you to do all three sports in only one outfit! The three sports have different clothing constraints: swimming requires a fabric with a good water penetration coefficient and also quick-drying properties! Cycling requires some padding at the glutes, so you can knock off those kilometres. Finally, running requires a high degree of freedom of movement. A tri-suit gives you all of this at the same time! It also saves you from needless changes during the transitions.

Another basic is the bike. Don't worry if you don't have the latest time-trial bike with cutting edge aerodynamics. As long as you have some kind of bike, there are no regulatory restrictions. You can use a city bike or mountain bike - both are fine! No need to beg your bank for an overdraft and splash out on the latest world championship winning machine! Borrow someone's bike (provided it is the right size) or dust off your old machine in the garage. The important thing is for it to have two wheels and be driven by your muscles! However, for those gluttons for punishment preparing for a long-distance event, I would recommend a road bike, because racing at 90 km on a mountain bike might mean losing a lot of time, or even missing the cut-off time.

The final essential tool for your race are running shoes, and I did say "running". I would definitely advise against those trendy trainers in your wardrobe. After a swim and a cycle, running is tough enough psychologically without making things even more difficult, so invest in a pair of running shoes suitable for the specific event you are training for.

 

THE ESSENTIAL TRIATHLON KIT ON THE BIG DAY

We are now going to provide a detailed list of the equipment which you will need to succeed in each stage:

In the cycle park before the race

There are some items of equipment which you will not need for the race itself, but which you should not forget if you want a stress-free day, for example, something as simple as a bicycle pump (preferably a foot pump with a pressure gauge) to check the pressure of your tyres before the race. It's not essential and if you don't have one, that's fine; most of the other triathletes are sure to have one, so don't hesitate to ask if you can borrow one to check the tyre pressure. The right tyre pressure will enable you to avoid punctures and ensure the best possible grip.

 

sortie-eau
Swimming

There are some unique technical aspects and specific equipment requirements for the triathlon swimming stage. The swimming goggle must have a wide field of vision for maximum visibility and smoked glass to reduce the sun's glare.

I would then also advise you to invest in a wetsuit to improve your buoyancy and reduce muscle fatigue. You should know that wearing a wetsuit is forbidden in water temperatures above 24° and mandatory below 16°.

The cap will be part of your race pack and enable identification of the triathletes. You may consider an extra cap to be placed below the organiser's cap with the goggles between the two. They will not move around during your swim and you will be warmer in chillier temperatures!

The trisuit is the only element common to all three disciplines - if you decide to wear a wetsuit, you will already have it on underneath.

Moreover, if you are swimming in the sea, consider applying anti-chafing cream to your neck and underarms to reduce irritations caused by salt, or you will feel like you have been slathered in nettles!!!

Consider bringing a little towel to dry your feet (don't waste time drying your whole body) to make it easier to pull on your cycling socks and shoes when you get out of the water. Finally, if swimming in the sea, a little bottle of fresh water (500 cl) will enable you to rinse the salt off your feet (sometimes, the race organisers set up a rinsing zone once you get out of the water, but this is not always the case).

 

photo velo
Cycling

In sunny weather, our first tip, and one of the most important, is to take some sun cream before hitting the road, unless you want to look like a prawn at the end of the day. Obviously, the bike is fundamental to a cycling race! As we said above, check that everything is in working order before you leave it in the transition area.

The cycling equipment is just as important as your bike. You will need a mandatory approved helmet (and may not be allowed to set off without one). As regards the cycling shoes, choose simple velcro models that are easy to put on and take off. A pair of goggle may be very welcome and make the cycle race a bit more enjoyable. A pair of gloves will also make this section easier.

Finally, the last step before you start is to pull on your bib, to which you should already have attached your race number. You will also need this for the running section and it may even be mandatory at some events.

 

photo running
Running

You started by swimming for several minutes, before an exhausting cycle. The equipment you select for your run is even more crucial, since your effort will start to make itself felt. Obviously, your shoes should be suitable for the distance you will cover and your stride length. You should give priority to propulsion for short triathlons (from beginners to Olympic distance), whereas long distances require comfortable shoes with good cushioning. This final part of the triathlon is the most exhausting even for runners, since you will already have spent a great deal of energy on swimming and cycling and your body will soon let you know about it! Lastly, a cap will be very useful to protect you from the sun, if needed.

In conclusion, there is a final element that will make the big day a little easier - a big sports bag to store all your equipment. There are specific bags known as transition bags with compartments, so you can store all your equipment correctly.

You are now ready to take the plunge, both literally and figuratively, since sorting out this check-list of equipment must mean that you are nearly ready for the off. So, don't forget anything and, above all, enjoy it!

Good luck!!!

 

photo conseiller

Alexandre

I have been a triathlon fan for 5 years, tackling full-distance and full-distance triathlons. I am a member of the AMSLF Triathlon club in Fréjus, France. I have ticked off some wonderful experiences so far: Ironman® 70.3 in Aix en Provence, Polar International Triathlon in Cannes, Embrunman… A seasoned cyclist and mediocre swimmer, my running reflects my view of the triathlon itself - pushing myself to the very limit and beyond!

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