The Top 10 Essential Items For Triathlon Race Day

The Top 10 Essential Items For Triathlon Race DaySo you signed up for your first triathlon, and you have been training for months to get ready for the race. As race day approaches, you know that you are ready for the big event—you can swim, bike, and run—but how do you know exactly what triathlon gear you’ll need?

Making sure you have sufficient and reliable triathlon gear is crucial to your performance. Here are 10 essential items that you won’t want to leave behind.

Essential Gear 1: Swimwear

Some competitors opt to purchase triathlon clothing that can double as your swimwear and your biking and running clothing, but that can get expensive. If it’s your first race, you can wear any swimsuit you have that fits well and is comfortable. However, you do want to make sure it’s a race-worthy suit—wearing the latest in bikini fashions is not advised, since you need something functional that won’t fall off in the water.

Essential Gear 2: Wetsuit

This is only an essential gear item if it’s an open water swim in a cold body of water. USA Triathlon rules prohibit the use of wetsuits in water temperatures above 84 degrees; they are optional for water temperatures below 84 degrees, and highly recommended for water temperatures below 70 degrees. If you don’t own a wetsuit, they can be expensive to buy, so you may want to rent instead.

Essential Gear 3: Goggles and Swim Cap

There are no specific “triathlon” goggles that you need, but you do want to make sure that the ones you buy fit comfortably on your face and do not leak. Wear the goggles at least once on a practice swim before race day so you know they work. If you are swimming on a sunny day in the open water, you may prefer tinted goggles to help block the sunlight. As far as the swim cap, many races will provide you with one, but it’s always a good idea to take one as a backup.

Essential Gear 4: Transition Towel

After the swim, especially if it’s open water, you will want to dry and towel off the sand or dirt stuck to your feet from the transition. This prevents blisters or pain from sand stuck in your shoes during the bike and run.

Essential Gear 5: Bike

Don’t worry about having the fastest, lightest, most expensive triathlon bikes out there on your first race. If you don’t have a road bike, a mountain bike will work, and you can replace the tread tires with slick tires to make it ride smoother on the road.

Essential Gear 6: Helmet and Sunglasses

Bikers are not allowed out on the course without a helmet, so be sure you remember this item, and have it fastened before you mount your bike to avoid getting penalized. If it’s going to be sunny, you will probably also want a good pair of sunglasses for the bike and run.

Essential Gear 7: Water

There will likely be aid stations with water on the run course, but you should plan to have your own water bottle for the bike course. If you have a water bottle holder on your bike, find a bottle that will fit inside.

Essential Gear 8: Running/Biking Clothes

If you swim in a swimsuit, you may not want to bike and run in it. Don’t worry about changing out of the swimsuit, but do take an extra pair of shorts and a shirt you can throw on over it for biking and running.

Essential Gear 9: Socks and Running Shoes

Not everyone wears socks, but if you’re not used to running without socks, you may get blisters. You also need running shoes—go for high quality, comfortable shoes and make sure you run in them several times before the race to break them in.

Essential Gear 10: Camera

You will definitely want to document your first triathlon! Be sure you have a camera there to capture your sheer bliss and amazing accomplishment when you cross the finish line.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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