I have my first sprint triathlon of the summer coming up in just six weeks. I was actually having a hard time getting motivated to train this year…I think taking the winter off from running really threw me, so I felt like I was in a rut. Well last week was a good training week (despite not getting in any pool time), so I’m feeling better about it already. Tim signed us up for a race next month, and we went and got him properly fitted for shoes. Should be interesting having a running buddy!
But there’s so much more to triathlons than just running, especially with the gear. Since I have only done sprint distances, I haven’t invested in some of the more expensive pieces of gear like a wetsuit. The water temp of the open water tri I did last year was above 83.9 degrees so wetsuits weren’t allowed, and the other tri I’ve done involved a pool. I’ve slowly started buying more appropriate gear, and am lucky to have a husband who gave me his old Specialized road bike so I didn’t have to buy one. My first sprint tri, I wore a regular sports bikini in the pool and then slipped running clothes on over for the rest of the race and wore my running shoes for both the bike and run. Last year, I invested in clipless cycling shoes and tri clothing (shorts and a singlet) that was worn for all three events. This year, I invested in slip-on & quick-lace running shoes specific to triathlons. I use websites like The Clymb and Active Gear Up and take advantage of their flash sales to save money. If I keep pursuing triathlon events and do longer distances then I’ll invest in some other pieces of gear, but for the sprint distances nothing fancy is needed.
1. 2XU Singlet—I love the half zipper in the front for when I got hot, and there’s a pocket in the back to store race fuel. I prefer a singlet withOUT a built in bra.
2. Canari Tri Shorts—My Canari tri shorts are super comfortable. There’s just enough padding to help with the bike portion, but still minimal enough to run in without it interfering. There’s a drawstring to tighten the waist and leg grippers so the shorts stay put.
3. Speedo goggles—I never swim without them.
4. Fuel and Race Bib Belt—Attach race fuel and your bib number before the race so you can just slip this guy on during the first transition (T1). It will save you time from having to pin your race bib on.
5. QuickGrip Camelbak Water bottle—The pouch is the perfect size to hold your keys or race fuel, and the water bottle is insulated!
6. Zoot Ultra TT 6.0 shoes—I love these shoes. They have a snug fit with plenty of room for my toes. I can slip my feet in and they have elastic laces that I can simply pull on to tighten, so I won’t have to spend time tying anything.
7. Specialized Road Bike—I don’t recommend using a mountain bike for these types of races, but I have seen them used. This is the bike I’ve used the last two races—a Specialized Allez Elite Double. It was actually Tim’s, but after he purchased a new bike for himself a few weeks ago this one became mine. Though the tris I’ve done haven’t had any intense hills (just minor ones), this bike has a third set of gears to help conquer hills. Because I just do sprint distances, there’s not much of a need for a triathlon-specific bike or one with tons of bells and whistles…unless you are really going for the win.
8. Giro Trinity Helmet—I wanted a white, sporty helmet that didn’t break the bank and this is just what I was looking for. It has a dial system in the back to adjust the fitting.
9. Pearl Izumi Gloves—Gloves with good padding makes gripping the handlebars for long rides much more comfortable. Plus they add a bit of extra warmth on cool mornings.
10. Shimano Cycling Shoes—The velcro straps allow me to easily slip on and take off the shoes. MTB cycling shoes have tread on the bottom of the foot (vs smooth for road shoes) so they’re easier to walk in. These fit me really well and I’ve never had a problem with any discomfort.
My Full Race Day Checklist
Swim cap—normally provided in race pack
Seat post/flat kit bag and pump—comes in handy incase of a flat during the bike portion
Clipless cycling shoes
Race number belt
Water bottles x3—my bike has a spot for two bottles, plus one for the running portion
Fuel during race—things like GU, Shot Bloks, energy bars, etc.
Bucket—carry everything in it when you arrive and then use it as a stool for putting on shoes
USAT License Number
Other Items to Consider
Wetsuit (if water temps allow)
Extra bike tubes
Ear or nose plugs for the water
Hat or visor
Recovery items—food, Ibuprofen, a change of clothes and shoes
There is definitely a need to make a checklist for these kinds of races! Forgetting any one of those items could make for an unpleasant race experience. I’ve picked up on things (like using a bucket) at different races and have added/subtracted items to my list. Besides a wetsuit, getting a different bike saddle (seat) would be next on my list of items to purchase if I pursue longer distances. Who wants to ride a bike for a long distance on an uncomfortable saddle? Not me!