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Top ten basic necessities to race your first triathlon in 2011

Posted Jan 06 2011 11:05am


If you are looking to line up for the first time in 2011 for a triathlon, here’s a basic list of necessities to finish.

1) Swimming goggles (look into tinted as you sometimes face the sun as it rises at race start time)

2) If you plan to race early in the spring, a wetsuit is highly recommended.  There are sleeveless and sleeved but you will need at least sleeveless that so you don't freeze in the water.  The water can be VERY cold that time of year depending on your location.

3) You need a bike. Sounds obvious, but you can’t race a triathlon without one. There are no restrictions whether you use a road bike, triathlon bike, mountain bike or a cruiser bike. As long as it’s in proper working order, it’s usable.

4) Bike helmet. It must be undamaged and unaltered and meets or exceeds the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 

5) Sunglasses. On the bike it will help protect your eyes from foreign objects kicked up from your or others’ bikes. It also provides protection from sun damage as well as obviously helping you see when the sun is in your face.

6) Race belt to attach your bib. That will make it easier to run as opposed to have to worry about pinning a race bib to your shirt.

7) Running shoes. It may be obvious, but make sure you are using running shoes and not cross trainers, trail shoes or casual shoes. Not only will that make you slower, lesser shoes can cause blisters and foot damage.

8) Good pair of socks. If you cheap out on socks, get used to blisters and lost toenails .

9) Visor hats can wick sweat away from your face to protect your eyes from getting sweat in them.

10) A quality tri kit.  That means a triathlon specific shirt and shorts.  The shirt is skin tight and cut to allow free arm movement for swimming and other arm movements.  The shorts are similar to biking shorts but the pad is smaller so it doesn't feel like a wet diaper after the swim.  You would want to wear that for the entire race.  Wear it under the wetsuit for the swim so you can just ditch the wetsuit and already have it on and ready to go.  You would bike and run in it so there's no time lost changing clothes.

For more advanced triathletes:

a) Garmin or other GPS unit for training. The Garmin 310XT is nice since it's waterproof so I can use it for the entire event.

b) Triathlon specific bike or road bike with aero clip on bars. Dramatic time savings can be captured when using a bike frame specifically built for triathlon style riding.

c) Biking specific shoes that have special clips on the bottom and special pedals on the bike so you are attached to the pedals.  This gives you more power to your bike as you will pull on the upswing of your pedaling.

d) Aero helmet.  That and the aero bars will get you the most speed without going broke. Keep checking back for more beginner and advanced triathlon tips and pointers.

Ryann Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog , and is a married father of two, owner of three dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001.  Ryan is also the Kansas Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughs HERE .  Contact Ryan at: or follow him on @TriJayhawkRyan

Follow on twitter @ everymantri or view latest videos on YouTube .

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