You Have What it Takes!!

Triathlon is for everyone.

If you’ve seen some of the Nova Scotia races, you have seen people of all sizes, ages, and fitness levels having fun doing their own thing. You will see pretty nice bikes but also your standard run-of-the-mill mountain bike, fancy clothes but also very ordinary shorts and T-shirts. Some brave swimmers go out with just a swimsuit while others swim in a variety of styles of wetsuit.

So, what about you? … thinking of starting out and don’t know what you absolutely need?

A swim suit, goggles and a bathing cap is the basic gear. Goggles come in various shapes and prices but what you are looking for is one that fits. A snug fit around the eye socket is what you are looking for. It’s not about cost but fit. If you plan on doing a lot of swimming in a pool, you may as well invest in a 100% polyester swimsuit otherwise you will be buying a swimsuit regularly as the chlorine is quite damaging to the material. The polyester suits are more expensive but they will last longer.

Depending on whether you plan to do triathlons in open water, you may want to invest in a wetsuit. The triathlon specific full wetsuit is the best you can get for the sport. There are other non-triathlete wetsuits or surf suits that will help extend your swim season but these suits are not built for long distance triathlon. Good for short distance.

There are lots of gadgets out there to help with your swimming…flippers, pull buoys, ankle straps, etc. but a lot of swimming pools have them available for swimmers.
Flip flops are a good thing to have to walk around the pool deck and the change room. They prevent your feet from drying out due to the wet decks and oxidizing chemicals put into the pool water for our protection.

Yes, any bike with work with the exemption of a recumbent (not legal in triathlon). A helmet and a tool kit capable of fixing a flat, bike pump and a way to carry a water bottle are the basics. Riders should be self-sufficient, that means they should be able to get themselves back to the starting point.

A multi-tool is also a great device to make adjustments out on the ride or tighten loosen nuts or bolts.

1. A bike jersey with back pockets provides additional room for extra capacity to carry food or necessities.
2. Bike shoes and cleats are fun to have once you are comfortable riding.
3. Padded bike shorts are something you want to get soon. Modern saddles come without padding assuming you have bike shorts with padding.
4. For colder weather riding, you may want to invest in bike gloves or warm mitts. The padded gloves come in handy during longer rides when you also want extra padding on your hands.

Once you are comfortable with fixing a flat, you may want to invest in additional tools such as a small Phillips screwdriver to adjust derailleurs and a chain break tool.

Basically, you can get off the bike, put on running shoes if you biked with bike shoes and start running. You may want to add a hat, a way of carrying water, gels or money if you need to stop and purchase additional sustenance.

Fun Stuff
There are lots of things you can accumulate over the years, or put on your wish list in addition to the ones mentioned above. To name of few of a triathlete’s favorite toys:

1. Skull cap, helmet cover and booties if you plan to ride in cold wet weather
2. Arm warmers (they can be peeled off easily if it warms up during your workout or race)
3. Bike computer (with or without cadence) so you know how fast you are riding
4. Race belt if you prefer not to put safety pins on your nice jersey or race singlet (some race belts have room for a gel or two)
5. Running belt that holds water or energy drinks if you plan to run long
6. Race gels, energy bars, energy drinks, protein bars, etc. etc.
7. Aerobars for your road bike if you want to get aero
8. Heart rate monitor if you’re into zone training
9. HTC race singlet – just because they are so nice!!! Singlets fit under a wetsuit and take you through the bike and run
10. Bento box that fits on your bike to store gels and food, they provide easy access while riding.