We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of tools to ensure you have everything you need to participate in what is surely one of the most challenging triathlon events out there.
This blog post will outline the essential equipment you need for your first 50-mile triathlon, what to wear, how much water and nutrition you should take, how long it will take, and more. So without further ado, here are our top ten must-have items for a triathlon event!
Table of Contents
The Must-Have Triathlon List
1. Wear your triathlon clothing and shoes
We recommend simply wearing tri shorts and a tri top or shirt to the race for the majority. Additionally, you will wear your running shoes and socks (if you use socks). Your running shoes should ideally have speed laces if you have previously trained with them, but nothing new should be worn on race day. Finally, bear in mind that you will almost certainly receive a shirt at the race. This is an excellent garment to change into following your race.
This may seem self-evident, but people have forgotten bikes in the past. We recommend taking a very brief, one-block test ride the night before to ensure there are no surprises — a loose seat stem or a flat bike tire can be repaired before the race. Before leaving home, inflate your tires to the desired pressure. If you’re interested in learning more about triathlon bikes, we wrote an entire piece about them.
3. Bike Carrier
If you can’t fit your bike in the back of your SUV or the bed of your truck, you’re probably transporting it on a bike rack or carrier. Ascertain that you can locate it and have all necessary parts on hand for race day morning. Numerous race mornings have been ruined by an inability to locate a small component required for the rack to function properly.
4. Bike Shoes
If you ride your bike with clipped or SPD bike shoes, don’t forget to bring them. Along with helmets, this is probably the most frequently forgotten item at home.
5. Swim Goggles:
We recommend purchasing a pair that is brand new. If the sun is out, wearing new swim goggles during your race will help reduce glare. However, ensure that you purchase a model that you have previously used and test them out before the race.
If necessary, a wetsuit. Don’t forget your wetsuit if you’re doing a triathlon. If you intend to race in a wetsuit, simply ensure that you have worn it before race day. Most races do not require wetsuits (and they might not be allowed if the water is too warm).
7. Bike helmet
Any race that follows USAT rules (the vast majority of them) requires riders to wear a bike helmet during the ride. It is not optional…. nor is it foolish.
To ensure your safety, you should bring sunglasses on the ride to protect your eyes from bugs or debris, even if the day is not sunny. Keep the sunglasses inside your bike helmet to remind yourself to wear them during T1.
Bring your driver’s license or passport with you in case you are asked to identify yourself. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to travel with a friend.
10. Water / Hydration
Always keep one bike water bottle with full water inside. You never know how long you’ll be waiting for your heat to come on, and the last thing you want is to become dehydrated. Bring Gatorade or another sports drink if you are trained with it.
This varies by race and racer, but we always keep some cliff bars and bananas in our bag just in case (ideally, something you have already used during your training). Also, if you enjoy gel shots, bring a few with you. We are not telling you what to eat in this article; we simply state that you should not forget.
12. Race packet
Bring your race packet with you to the start line. If you are running late, you will need to know where to pick it up. Some races have packets available at the bike transition area, so make sure that you check this information before race day. In addition, your race packet should include your bib number, timing chip, and any additional instructions for completing your event.
This may seem like a small point, but we’re seeing more and more people forget to bring their phones with them on race day. Remember, we often receive post-race texts or photos from participants — make sure you can get it.
14. Race Address or Directions
Get Your race address instruction. Print it out if you have to. If you are traveling, print out the directions to the race location. If you are local, print out directions to your car following the event. If you are running late getting to the race location, this is incredibly helpful information.
15. Transition Bag
This is your bag to transport your bike, shoes, helmet, and other items from the race’s swim/bike/run areas to the parking lot. Make sure that you have all of your required race items in one place, rather than haphazardly transporting them throughout the course of the day.
16. Triathlon watches
Triathlon watches are essential for holding your place in the ‘pack’ as well as monitoring your speed and distance. The watch you choose will depend on your budget, as well as how comfortable you find wearing a watch while swimming. It must be readable from the side without looking directly at it, which can mean having to twist up your arm uncomfortably. Rubber straps are also a priority, as these will provide the best grip in wet conditions – and avoid your watch from sinking to the bottom of the lake or river!