New to Triathlon – week 4 – New to triathlon: What’s on your kit list?

So, you’ve entered your first event or perhaps penciled one in your diary. You might be a little excited, nervous, hopefully motivated and possibly, starting to think about what you might need on race day.

The good news is that you don’t need fancy gear when you start out. In fact, it’s worth making do as much as possible for the first year, so that you really work out what’s important to you and how much you want to spend on each item.

Breaking it down by discipline:


Basic: For the swim as a basic, you could wear your normal swimsuit and then put bike/run gear on in T1. However, women do think about having a sports bra underneath and for everyone – any rubbing/chafing points from your swimsuit, particularly when sitting on your saddle.

Better: Trisuit. 

This is an all-in-one suit or two piece (shorts & vest). There is a very light, quick drying pad for comfort on the bike. The material is quick drying and usually has zip access at the front. Some have elbow length sleeves, some look like vests and all finish like cycle shorts, above the knee. If you are doing a pool-based triathlon your sleeves cannot extend below the elbow and you can’t have anything below the knee (so no calf sleeves) – although you can add clothing in Transition 1(T1) if you want to. 

Here are some examples of women’s trisuits and we do have a club version and a club tri-vest which you could wear with a pair of triathlon shorts ( If you want a non-club one there are still bargains around, if you have a search online. (lots of other online shops too)


Open water: wetsuit

You can buy a wetsuit  (£200+) or consider hiring for the season and then purchasing in the sale in the autumn:

Pool and Open water:

Silicone swim cap (in a bright colour for open water – or get the club one) and a good fitting pair of goggles. I can recommend Zoggs Predator Flex for a good, secure fit in a variety of lense options. If you need to you can get prescription goggles too – ask your pharmacist or look online.


The bike…

The actual bike can be anything roadworthy to start with. Although quite a few in the club have very nice, expensive bikes, we have been doing this a long time and all of us started out on basic bikes – mine was a hand-me-down from my brother which didn’t fit me well but it got me started. Some people use hybrids and mountain bikes for their first triathlons – anything will do but get it serviced at your local bike shop and learn how to change an inner tube (we run a class in this).

The clothing…

You’ll either be in your swimsuit with a pair of cycle shorts and a t-shirt over the top or you’ll be in your trisuit.

You’ll need cycle shoes, either your usual road shoes or some triathlon shoes (these are a bit easier & quicker to put on). Some of you might be cycling in trainers and that’s fine too – in fact you then won’t need to change shoes between the bike and run.

Socks & gloves – optional

Bike helmet which must conform to one of these standards: ANSI Z90.4, SNELL B90, EN 1078 (look inside at the label to see) and have a strap and fastener which work.


You’ll be wearing whatever you wore in the swim and bike.

Your usual running shoes (consider using elasticated laces – so much quicker to put on)

Optional: socks, hat/vizor, glasses


Useful things to have:

Race belt: (note: if you don’t have a race belt you need to attach your race number/s to a t-shirt)

Elasticated laces:

Body glide:

Talcum powder






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