Training Gear 101 – Anything and Everything a Beginner Needs to Successfully Train for Your First Triathlon Many people mistakenly think that triathlon training is a costly endeavor because of all of the different gear that the sport requires. However, it is possible to train for a triathlon without cleaning out your bank account. You can stick to the basics, while ensuring your equipment is good quality and the right fit for you. Zeasorb®, the official anti-fungal partner of Ironman® brings you a list of the most important items and gear you’ll need as you train for your first triathlon. Swimsuit: During training, you’ll want to train in swimsuits that are comfortable and made for lap swimming, not leisure. It’s also a good idea to train in your race suit a few times before the race. Check the event website for any swimsuit guidelines. Tip: If you’re racing in chilly temperatures or looking to increase your speed, you may want to invest in a triathlon-specific wetsuit. Again, if you choose to do this, you should swim in the wetsuit a few times before the race. You’ll also want to practice the swim-to-bike transition in your wetsuit. Goggles and Swim Cap: This may sound surprising, but an item as simple as goggles can greatly affect the outcome of your race. Look for a pair of goggles that fits your face just right and won’t fall off in a strong wave or from a flailing arm during an open water race. If possible, test out the goggles in open water beforehand. While you’ll likely be provided with a swim cap at your race, you should also purchase one for training purposes. Tip: Consider purchasing two pairs of swim goggles—one clear or light tint (for swimming at indoor pools and race day under cloudy conditions), and a smoke-tinted pair that act as sunglasses for sunny race days. Running Shoes: If you weren’t a runner before deciding to compete in this triathlon, you definitely want to go to a running store and let the experts help you find the pair that’s right for you. They will watch your gait, analyze your arch and ask you specific questions to find the right level of support for your needs. Also, make sure you tell them you’ll be using the shoes for a triathlon, because they may have some ideas about shoes that are easy to get on quickly during your transition. Tip: Practice transitions with your running shoes after a bike workout. Use clean socks and apply an antifriction product or powder, like Zeasorb® Prevention Powder to sensitive places, including your feet. “You should apply Zeasorb® Prevention Powder during training as a preventative measure,” says triathlete and dermatologist Dr. Mark Herron, MD. “The powder becomes a barrier that prevents moisture and fungus from irritating the fold of your skin.” Cycling Shoes and Pedals: The pedals on your bike serve a major purpose – they’re a means to transfer power from you to your bicycle. A good pedal and shoe system transfers all of the power from your leg to the pedals without causing both fatigue and pain. Depending on your skill level and comfort on the bike, you may have either toe clips and straps or clipless pedals. It is important to find cycling shoes that fit very snugly, leaving just enough room for a pair of socks, and are easy to unclip or remove from your pedals. The shoes should allow very little movement but not cut off your circulation, and the release from your pedal should be seamless. Tip: With a clipless pedal system, you wear special cycling shoes, allowing you to quickly connect your shoes to the pedals and take off. Your pedal efficiency is greater using clipless pedals, as you can push down and pull up on your pedal, increasing power and efficiency. Helmet: Helmets are required in all triathlon races. You must have the straps of your helmet fastened before you exit the transition area, and you cannot remove your helmet until you’ve re-racked your bike in transition before heading out on the run. Bike Shorts: Bike shorts contain special microfibers that move with and against the skin to prevent chafing. Additionally, the bottom contains padding that you’ll be grateful for, especially after the race. Training with a basic cycle short will make for a much more pleasant bike-riding experience. Fuel: Triathlons usually provide some sort of fuel throughout the race, but it’s always good to have your own stash. Try out a few different options during training to see what works best for you. It may take a while to find the perfect formula. A great option is energy gel or some sort of food that includes calories and easyto-digest carbohydrates, such as gummy bears or jelly beans. You will need about 300 calories for every hour of race time, so incorporate this into your training. Tip: Choose a long workout day during training and practice fueling your way through race day. Get up early, eat your pre-race meal, and then start your workout around the same time that your race will start. Fuel through your long workout as you plan to during the race, and don’t forget to replenish with something nutritious after. This will give you a preview of how all of your fueling pieces fit together. Resources: If you’ve never done a triathlon before, you may have lots of questions. Take advantage of all of the great online resources (such as ironman.com), magazines and books that are available. Water Bottles: It’s important to hydrate before, during and after your race. Keep your water bottles filled on your bike and consider using a handheld bottle during the run. Try and get 20 oz of liquids (or an average size water bottle) for each hour you compete. Depending upon the length of the race and personal preference, you can also put your favorite energy drink into the water bottle for extra fuel.
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