Triathlon race apparel dries quickly after the swim, and the light chamois (pad) provides protection from the bike saddle without scrunching up like a diaper during the run. Fit is paramount—find a kit that conforms to your body and feels comfortable.
Forget pinning your number to your race kit—attach it to a race belt that you can snap on easily while running out of T2.
A little lubrication can prevent painful chafing on your neck during the swim and protect any sensitive spots on the run.
Ward off tri-kit tan lines with a healthy dose of water-resistant sunscreen.
Keep your gear organized before the race and segregate the wet from the dry afterward with a tri-specific bag.
Race with the nutrition you used while training.
Sleeveless wetsuits provide ample flotation while preserving the feeling of freedom by constricting less than a full-sleeve suit. Find one that matches the contours of your body.
A pair that seals comfortably around the eyes is the most important trait of a race goggle. Try a few (and practice with them in the pool) until you find one that matches your face.
The race will provide a swim cap. If it’s really cold, consider doubling up with one of your own.
For your first pair, road shoes tend to fit more securely than tri shoes. Take a few seconds to put them on in transition to make the process as simple as possible.
A road helmet is the best option to use for both race day and training. You can eventually upgrade to an aero lid once you start striving for PRs.
Find a pair of glasses that fits firmly around your head. A loose set can bounce out of place.
Low-cut ankles and a stretchable fabric help socks slide on over wet feet. Put them on before either the bike or run.
Ample cushioning and a conforming upper are some of the most important features of a shoe when easing into the sport. Train and race in the same pair to avoid unexpected blisters.
Hold off on the buzzing and whirring features—a simple timekeeper provides enough info to get through a first-timer training plan.
Ready to learn more about triathlon? Check out our complete beginner’s guide.
Follow this order of operations to smoothly jump between disciplines.
Swim-bike transition step-by-step
1. After stripping off your wetsuit, throw it over the transition rack so other racers don’t trample it.
2. Pull the socks over your feet.
3. Jump into your cycling shoes and ratchet them tightly.
4. Put your helmet on and buckle the chin strap.
5. Throw your sunglasses on.
6. Grab any additional nutrition you may want during the ride.
Bike-run transition step-by-step
1. Place the bike back onto the transition rack by the saddle and remove your shoes.
2. Unbuckle your helmet and put it behind your run shoes.
3. Pull your run shoes onto your feet and tie the laces.
4. Snag extra run fuel, knowing that sports drink, water and nutrition products will all be available at aid stations on the run.
5. Grab your race belt and head for the “Run Out” banner. Snap the belt around your waist on the way out.