Triathlon was first played during the 1970s and it grew massively during the year 2000. There was a decline in participation for a few years but it started to back up again. In 2018, the Ironman participation numbers reached 2,500 members and triathlon participants reached more than 100,000. In 2015, it reached its peak with nearly 2.5 million participants.
The popularity of this sport continues to grow, regardless of having a torturous reputation. Why? Because of the thrill. With three disciplines (swim, bike, run) to learn and train for, no one will get bored. It’s also open to all ages, giving opportunities to everyone to bring out their competitive side. And because it’s beginner friendly. There are various courses designed for beginners to have and enjoy.
Participating in three disciplines means more gear. And if you look in the market, you’ll see thousands of products. For example, if you search for a triathlon kit in Dubai, you’ll see thousands of items and your search is going to be endless. For a beginner, this might be overwhelming. If you’re stuck at simply the first step of choosing the right gear, how can you continue on?
To help you on your journey, here’s a helpful guide to buying the essentials:
1. Swimming Kit
Swimming wetsuit. Cold water temperature is very common in this sport so you need to wear something to warm you up and help your body get familiar with the water temperature. Compared to other wetsuits, the ones made for triathlon are more elastic and have thinner rubber, which will make it easier to do several swim strokes. A good complementary to your wetsuit is a lubricant. It will help avoid blisters.
Swimming cap. The British Triathlon Federation requires this for open water events, which is why participants are provided with these. If you’re participating and you’re not provided with one, make sure to ask for it or you’ll get a penalty.
Goggles. It’s an essential item for every participant, whether a beginner or not. There are several styles in the market so make sure to find one that suits you best; one that fits your eye sockets perfectly. If you try it and it’s comfortable, go for it. If not, spend more time finding the right one. Complement your goggles with an anti-fog spray to keep it clear and fog free.
Swimming buoy. This is really recommended for beginner triathletes because panic is sometimes observed among them. With a swimming buoy within arm’s reach, they would be able support and calm themselves and then continue on.
2. Biking Kit
Bike. You don’t need to break your band by buying the most expensive one. You can either use a road bike or a triathlon (TT) bike that suits your budget. Road bikes are more recommended for beginners because they’re easier to use when climbing hills. It makes for a comfortable ride, which is what you want as a beginner. But as you gain experience, it’s a good idea to invest in TT bikes too because their aerodynamic setup will make it easier for you to ride during descents, and they perform better for longer races.
Helmet. This is an important piece for every individual ride. Triathletes must wear this during the competition to avoid possible disqualification. There are various designs you can choose from that are suitable for this kind of sport. They’re designed for airflow as well as comfort. Choose one that fits you well to avoid unwanted pain or possible danger. It’s also not recommended to buy a second hand one because you’re not sure of its safety. Don’t take the risk.
Biking clothes. You can either work biking shorts or a tri suit. Biking shorts are designed with padding for a comfortable ride. There are also straps attached to it to prevent it from slipping. Tri suits are all-in-one suits that are perfect for biking, swimming and running.
Biking shoes. If you’re just starting and you already own training shoes, then it’s okay not to buy biking shoes. But if in the long run you decide to buy, (which most probably will happen), remember to consider the cleats and the pedals.
Other accessories. Sunglasses will give your eye protection. Gloves are also nice to have to give you a good grip of the handles. Water bottles for your hydration and nutritious snacks to keep you energized. And don’t forget your basic repair kit, which should include inner tubes, tyre levers, pumps, valve taps and puncture patches.
3. Running Kit
Running shoes. For the final discipline, you need something comfortable yet high performing. Again, there’s a ton in the market and some manufacturers claim they’re made for comfort but turn out otherwise. You have to be wise about choosing. Go for the one you’ve tried and tested, and it doesn’t have to be the most expensive one out there.
Running clothes. Your choices – t-shirts, shorts or leggings, and socks. For your socks, it’s not recommended to use cotton because you’re likely to get blisters because of moisture.
Other accessories. GPS watch, sunglasses, arm band, gloves, and nip guards – all aren’t essential but are nice to have.