The very thought of a triathlon race can bring in excitement and stress, and it is quite natural to be forgetful under stress. Forgetting an important piece of triathlon gear or accessories can cost you time and effort during the event.
To avoid the last-minute hassle, we have compiled a list of 15 must-haves that you should carry in your triathlon bag before you head to your event.
You need to swim, cycle and run. So, you need all the equipment that can get you from the starting line to the finish without much hassle. Here is a checklist of 15 essentials that will make your race day more relaxing and stress-free:
- Flat Kit Bag
- Portable Hydration Bottle
- Race Belt
- Digital Sports Watch
- Triathlon Wetsuit
- Wetsuit Lubricants
- Earplugs and Nose Plugs
- Triathlon Swim Socks
- Triathlon Speed-Laces
- Sunscreen, Sunglasses, and a Hat/Visor
- Extra socks
Nothing can be more terrifying than a flat tire during your triathlon event. A flat repair kit is a must-have essential that can be installed under your saddle. It should include a tube and tire levers and a mini-pump/hand pump or CO2 container to fix the flat tire. Needless to say, you must know how to use it because flat tires are an inevitable part of the game.
You can pick an aero helmet or the one with vented channels and carbon fiber structure or an inexpensive brain bucket. The choice is yours. However, make sure you do not compromise on quality parameters and choose the one that has passed the standardized testing for safety. All triathlon races require a helmet and they will not allow you out of the transition area without one for your safety.
Two pairs of triathlon goggles are ideal. One that is used in indoor pools or under cloudy conditions that have no tint and the other with mirrored lenses and ideally polarized for sunny days to make sighting the buoys easier. You can also try mask-style goggles for more comfort.
Triathletes experience dehydration more frequently than many other athletes, so having a hydration bottle can be a lifesaver. Chances are the triathlon race will have regular aid stations that have water and some nutrition available at each spot. However, running out of supplies has been known to happen and you don’t want to be caught in that kind of situation. So, it is recommended you carry your portable hydration bottle with added electrolytes to be on a safe side.
All triathlon races require you to clip your race numbers on your person. Using a triathlon race belt strapped on to your waist where you race number clip on it makes it easier for officials to track you. Pinning your numbers onto your shirt during the race is feasible, but the race belt will make it easier to manage from bike to run.
To keep track of your progress, it is important to carry a digital sports watch that offers split timing to note the swim, run, and cycling time as a component of your overall time. It helps many stay focused when they have a goal time in mind.
Choose from wide a range of the best triathlon wetsuits, offering the perfect fit, flexibility, and comfort for your swim style and body type. You can opt for full sleeve triathlon wetsuits for improved hydrodynamics or a sleeveless triathlon wetsuit for races with warmer water temperatures. Additionally, you can also invest in a thermal skull cap to protect against heat loss from your head in colder waters.
The best quality wetsuit lubricant is proven to reduce transition time for triathletes by up to 60%, which makes it a must-have. It eases the entry and exit from all types of wetsuits. It eliminates chafing and abrasion and prevents rashes on your skin. In addition to Suit Juice, also consider Body Glide or TriSlide. All three are excellent anti-chafe products with different modes of application- a manual pump, a solid stick, and an aerosol spray. Your body will thank you later for using them.
Depending on the length of your race, it is important to carry some nutrition with you: granola bars, bananas, and gel packs during your triathlon race. It will boost your energy and performance tremendously and is an absolute necessity for long course races. Only use items you have used during training on race day. Never try something new during a race. You don’t want to spend all your time in the port-a-john because your stomach didn’t agree with your fuel choice.
Earplugs and nose clips are helpful for keeping the water out of your ears and nose. You can choose from silicone moldable earplugs, conical earplugs, and molded earplugs based on comfort and utility. Of course, not everyone needs these- it’s personal preference.
Triathlon swim socks create an extra insulating layer for better comfort. You can swim for a longer length of time if your feet are insulated and warm. Be sure to check with race directors about whether the water temperature is cold enough to allow swim socks for a specific race. Water temperatures must hit a threshold to allow them to be utilized. They are also great for protecting your feet from rough terrain when exiting the water and running to T1.
Triathlon speed laces are heavy-duty elastic cord laces with a spring-loaded lock that is perfect for speedy transitions. You simply need to replace your traditional laces with these elastic cords, adjust the tension, and tie off the ends, so they don’t slip through the cord-stopper. Saves you critical time fumbling with tying your shoelaces.
No matter the weather on race day, you must protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Use a high quality, high SPF product that is sweat proof and filters both UVA and UVB rays. For long course races, be sure it’s handy for reapplication in transition. Sunglasses are imperative to protect your eyes not only from the sun but from rain and wind. Make sure they are comfortable. A hat and/or visor is another great item to use on your run. It provides still more protection from the sun and a nice mesh that is great to absorb sweat keeping it out of your eyes. A favorite on hot race days, people douse their hat with cold water or fill it with ice at aid stations before continuing on their long run.
A towel is especially handy when you exit the water from your swim and strip off your wetsuit. Use it to dry off your feet before slipping on socks and your cycling shoes to prevent blisters on the bike and run portion, and to wipe the salt and sweat from your face in T2.
Some people train without wearing socks at also if that’s you this doesn’t apply. But everyone knows running in wet, sweaty socks creates blisters. So pack an extra pair of socks to change if needed during T2.
Other items that can be considered are anti-fog spray, safety buoy, and body glide anti-chaff stick. The trick is to think about your pain points and pick products that will help you ease the discomfort and you are good to go!
Early planning is the key to last-minute composure in the event. Apart from the above, you must ensure your triathlon apparel are in the best shape. Also, you should invest in high-quality triathlon gear for maximum ease and comfort. Refer to a comprehensive triathlon wetsuit buying guide for more help.