What Triathlon Gear Do I Need?

  • Posted by
  • Matt Cook
  • |
  • Mar 16, 2017 9:00:00 AM

What-Triathlon-Gear-Do-I-Need.jpgPlanning your first triathlon? You may think you need to go out and break the bank on the aerodynamic gear with the latest technology to compete. The truth is you only need certain key pieces to start training compete on race day.

Here is a list of the essential items you need to have a successful triathlon from start to finish.

The Swim


We recommend having at least two pairs of goggles, with different tints for all weather conditions and so you have an extra in case of damage on race day. Find a fit you like and train with every pair to get used to the feel and to make sure there is no leakage. Tip: Use baby shampoo as an anti-fog for your goggles.

Swim Cap

Most competitions provide swim caps to triathletes, but bring one or two just in case. A swim cap can keep you warm and hold goggles in place.


Men typically wear speedo-type briefs for comfort and speed, and women generally wear one- or two-piece athletic suits with straps that will not fall down or come undone.


A wetsuit is usually unnecessary for beginner events or for pool swims, but if you will be swimming in open water, a wetsuit is a good idea. Wetsuits help keep you buoyant, warm, and level with the water. A TriSuit is another option that is used in triathlons from start to finish.

You will also need wetsuit lubricant to reduce friction and chafing.

Transition Towel/Mat

A transition towel will help you towel off before putting on your clothes and shoes for the bike ride and run; it’s also used as a marker in the transition zone.

The Bike


If you are entering a beginner’s race, there’s no need to worry about getting something triathlon-specific and brand new; whatever is in your garage should work. Make sure to get it properly serviced with good tires and inner air tubes, a well-oiled chain, and operational gears and breaks. If buying a new bike, do your research and test as many as you can.


You do not need to spend top dollar for a fancy aerodynamic helmet. A bike helmet from your local bike shop will protect you just fine, just make sure it is comfortable, and practice with it before race day. Helmets are mandatory so don’t forget it!

Bike Shorts

It may feel strange to have padded shorts but it serves a purpose. Bike shorts move with your skin, preventing chafing and making bike riding much more comfortable. Triathlon shorts are also available with smaller pads for easier running.

Repair Bag

Flat kits are installed under your bike saddle and are stocked with everything you need to repair a flat tire. Make sure you learn how to use it before race day!

Water Bottle

You will appreciate something to drink while on your bike and for your run, so a water bottle is a must-have. Bring extra bottles for the transition area and after the race.

The Run

Running Shoes

If you already have a pair of shoes that you’re comfortable training with, it should be fine for race day. If you are buying new shoes, look for running shoes, not cross trainers, and make sure they fit your feet and running style properly. Feet tend to swell throughout a triathlon so you may want to buy a half size larger.


To avoid blisters and add comfort to your bike and run, bring socks to change into; the extra time it takes to change will be worth it.


Sunglasses can be helpful for more reasons than keeping sun out of your eyes. On the bike and run, sunglasses can keep wind, bugs, and rain out of your eyes.

Running Belt

Race belts can come in handy for many reasons. Not only can they hang onto your water bottle and food, but you can attach your race number to the belt instead of directly to your clothes.

Race Hat

A given on a sunny day, the race hat keeps the sun out of your eyes and provides extra coverage from the sun.

Now you’re ready to sign up for your first race!

Topics: Triathlon Training


Matt Cook

Matt Cook

Father of 3 and former competitive swimmer, Matt completed his first Ironman 70.3 in 2013 in Muskoka. He has since completed another 70.3 and is planning on doing a full Ironman in 2016 or 2017. Matt took up triathlons for the challenge, to relax and to just to stay in shape so he can enjoy life with his family.

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