Triathlon involves three separate disciplines and each discipline has unique equipment requirements. This guide is aimed at the first time triathlete who does not need to purchase all the triathlon equipment. Key purchases such as a bike should not be necessary for your first triathlon, however there are certain essentials such as a bike helmet and a trisuit is extremely useful as it avoids having three different changes of clothing during the event.
Race kit (for bike & run worn under wetsuit)
Trainers or Bike shoes
Race kit (as above)
Race kit (as above)
Change of clothes
You will be required to wear a wetsuit for the Shropshire Standard Triathlon or Ellesmere Sprint Triathlon and can either purchase or hire one. Do not use wetsuits designed for surfing as these will make the swim harder than necessary as they do not have the flexibility or buoyancy of a specialist swimming wetsuit.
Don't swim without them, this piece of equipment you can buy as they are cheap enough.
Most triathletes wear a tri-suit which is an all in one with some light padding in the seat for comfort during the bike. These are cheap enough but your existing running shorts and running top are more than adequate. The race kit is worn under the wet suit during the swim.
One of the most important bits of kits as if you do not have a helmet you will not be able to race. [British Triathlon requirement]. Make sure it has one of the recognised international safety marks inside (BSI, ANSI, CAN, CEN, SNELL or equivalent)
Many triathletes each year complete their first triathlon on a mountain bike so there is no need for a dedicated road bike, but the wider tyres on a mountain bike make it much harder to pedal than on a road bike. Bikes come in different sizes so make sure you are comfortable with the size of the bike and the seat position. Bikes also come with different types of pedals which may have dedicated shoes. If the shoes do not fit you then just use trainers.
You are in a triathlon for a longer time than most exercise session you have completed before. Your body only has so much energy readily available for use in exercise. During the bike and run it will be advisable to top up your energy levels with an energy drink and/or an energy gel. A good tip is to train with supplements so as there are no surprises during the race. A rule of thumb is to top up at least once every thirty minutes.
A very sensible piece of kit as punctures do happen and it prevents writing off the race.
Again punctures do happen and also properly inflated tyres on race day will make your bike faster. If you forget your pumpand/or puncture kit and do have a puncture, the Shropshire Triathlon organisers have a van which will get you back to the start, but if you have to resort to this your race will be over - so prevention is better than cure.
Bike Shoes - Trainers
Bike shoes are a luxury rather than a necessity and almost every bike can be ridden with trainers. If the bike you have borrowed comes with specialist cycle shoes that fit you make sure you practise clipping in and out of the pedals before you race. As regards trainers, your existing gym footwear should be fine but if you have any problems during training we suggest a visit to a dedicated running footwear shop.
Elite triathletes often race with no socks but you will have a far more comfortable race with socks. Barefoot racing greatly increases the chance of blisters and other sores.
Article in Cycling Weekly Magazine
There is an article in Cycling Weekly magazine which gives even more information on what you need to purchase as you evolve from beginner to a more competitive athlete. The article can be found by clicking this link http://tinyurl.com/om5emvr