Getting Started in Triathlon – Basic Equipment
Is it time to sign up for your first triathlon? In this and the following posts, we’ll try to explain everything you need to know about triathlon training and racing for beginners, from equipment essentials to nutrition, mental preparation and advice on hiring a coach.
Today let’s start with the basic equipment.
What are your goals?
As part of your introduction to the sport, the first thing you need to do is to consider why you are taking up triathlon and what you hope to gain from the experience. Are you motivated only by the desire to have fun and expand your social circle? Looking for a boost to combat the problems of mid-life? Were you inspired by the media coverage of this seemingly impossible feat? Already sporty and want to become an athlete? Whatever your reasons, thinking about your goals and priorities will help you to better plan your season and your training.
When browsing race calendars for interesting events, keep in mind a number of variables and options. Local races are often packed with friends and family for those who enjoy race-day support, while distant races can be a unique and wonderful way to explore foreign lands and cultures, even if they are a little out of your comfort zone. Also consider factors such as altitude (can you tolerate the lack of oxygen or are you better off at sea level?), climate (are you better off in warm or cool temperatures, in a dry or wet climate?) and the route itself (do you prefer swimming in the sea or in fresh water, a mountain route or a flat valley?) Calculate how much time you can devote to training and running and proactively communicate your plans to your partner or family. Involving those closest to you in your new sport and being honest about your planned time commitment will allow you to avoid the stress and resentment problems that can arise if triathlon training takes up a lot of time.
The equipment needed for triathlon training for beginners
Part of triathlon training for beginners is gathering the right equipment.
Although triathlon competitions and triathlon training require a lot of equipment, it is not necessary to spend mind-boggling amounts of money, especially when you are just starting out. It is likely that before one or two seasons of triathlon training and racing, you still don’t know what type of equipment best suits your needs. Starting frugally with second-hand or borrowed items can be a good idea, and then improving as your skills and experience grow. Often the competitions themselves offer the possibility of, for example, renting a wetsuit and thus having to invest in it before you know yourself well as a swimmer.
The race kit is the clothing you will wear during the swim, bike and run. It is designed specifically for triathlons because it is made of a material that dries quickly after swimming and has a built-in pad that will make the cycling segment more comfortable, but is not thick enough to make you feel like you’re wearing a wet nappy during the race. Choose something tight (lycra gives out when it gets wet) with large back pockets to store energy gels and other running or cycling essentials. Beware of annoying seams that can cause painful chafing during the race. If you plan to race somewhere that is not too hot or in times outside of summer, which is quite often the case, a triathlon-specific wetsuit is a must. Ideally, you should do a test swim during a demonstration event to see how the suit adapts to the water: on dry land, the fit is guaranteed. A pair of swimming goggles and a cap are the only other essential items: for the goggles, better to get the ones with the gasket that rests on the eyeball, because during a triathlon race you might get a foot in the face.
For the bicycle
The bike is probably the most important purchase you will make for a triathlon. If you are a beginner triathlete, focus on comfort rather than aerodynamics. Never ride a bike without a helmet, an indispensable safety device for any race or training session. Sunglasses are also indispensable to protect the eyes from flying insects and external elements on the road. If you want to make small improvements, the next steps could be a new saddle, which can improve the comfort level of almost any bike. Cycling shoes and cleats with their corresponding pedals are also practically essential, as they will connect you more closely to the bike and allow you to make the most of the uphill part of the pedalling.
Running shoes are the only additional necessity for the last leg of the triathlon, the same shoes that would be used for any 10km race. A simple and inexpensive upgrade that will allow you to forget about safety pins to apply your race number to your running belt.
Find everything you need for your first triathlon at deporvillage.net