10 Critical Pieces of Triathlon Gear


Sure, technically, you could complete a triathlon with only a swimsuit, goggles, bike, helmet, and running shoes.  But, what fun would that be.  Like I have said before, some husbands shower their wives with diamonds, mine gives me triathlon gear!  Thank you, honey!

1.  Good running shoes and socks – go to a local running store and get fitted.  Running creates a lot of impact on your joints and if you’re in the wrong shoe for the way your body impacts the ground, you could be setting yourself up for injury before you ever get started.  As for socks, you want breathable material, running specific socks.

2.  Road Bike – at least an entry level, high quality road bike.  Watch for those clearance sales.  I got my Trek Lexa S which was regularly $1200 for $800 at my local bikes sale.  If you don’t have that to invest and aren’t sure of the sport, rent.

3.  Helmet – goes without saying.

4.  Tri Suit – this is a preference item, one piece vs. two piece.  But I would invest in one or the other.  It’s just easier than changing wardrobes.

5.  Bike Cadence meter – You don’t need something expense.  Just an entry level wireless bike cadence meter.  Your goal being a cadence of 90 consistently.

6.  Mirrored Swim Goggles –  It’s bright outside.  It also never fails that your swim start is directly into the sun!  Why is that?  I’m beginning to think it’s a conspiracy on the part of the Race Directors!  Come you guys, fess up!  Which one of my Race Director friends is going to come clean with us??

7.  Insulated Water Bottles – Yes, plural.  Even with a sprint, in the heat of a hot summer day you need lots of hydration.  If you’re a back-of-the-packer, you’ll need more.  I take 4 water bottles to a sprint tri –

  • one for pre-race.  It’s a long time between when you need to arrive for the event and the start of the event.  You’ll need to hydrate and eat during this time.
  • two for my bike – one with water and one with water/electrolyte mix
  • one for the run – I like to carry my own water.  I don’t want to depend on the water stops.  My body might decide it needs water at a different mile marker.

There will be plenty of water at the end of the race for you to suck down!

8.  Race Belt – This is probably the best $8 investment you will make. EVER!  I got a race belt with locks for my bibs and a little pouch in front on clearance from one of my favorite online gear outlets for less than $8.  So, I got my daughter one too.  They had pink in them, so the hubby just got a generic black, no-pouch version.  This things rules the races!  In just one year of triathlons, 5K’s, and family fun runs, I’ve saved at least 10 shirts from being poked with safety pins.

9.  Race Nutrition – Whatever you’ve experimented with and found works for you.

10.  Race Watch – It doesn’t have to be fancy like the Garmin 910XT or Polar V800 (Hint, Hint – Only my husband see this parenthetical right?).  Most of the standard Heart Rate Monitor/GPS watches out there can do cadence, laps, time, loops, etc these days.  I like to use mine during swim training to help me keep track of my laps.  My mind tends to water and then I spend 4-5 laps trying to visualize how many laps I finished.  You know who you are…I’m not the only one.  For bike, See #5.  For run, a watch will help you monitor your pacing, interval training and heart rate zones.

Have a favorite piece of gear I didn’t mention?  Share it below.


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Cassandra Burke is a Forensic Scientist by day, and a Group Fitness Instructor, Swim Team Coordinator and Travel Agent by night. A Breast Cancer Survivor since 2010, she writes about her journey as well as her struggles – training for triathlons and races, struggling to get back her health, and balancing family life all while building her brand and finding her purpose after cancer. Subscribe to Cassandra’s newsletter for updates and follow @poweredbybling on social media! For endurance sport race travel and custom family vacation travel, visit her at pbbtravel.com.


  • Cajun says:

    Wow. This sounds like an expensive sport! I only have experience in competitive swimming. My one summer spent swimming in an outdoor league, then the next summer coaching a kid’s outdoor league convinced me I would be very bad at competitive outdoor swiming. I am in awe of your mighty prowess! Keep up the awesome work. Happy SITS DAY!

  • JoAnn says:

    I love my Garmin. It also has a feature that measures my bike cadence (a seperate attachment). I just wish it was waterproof so that I could take it in the swim with me. I’ve only done one triathlon, but I am excited to get into it again 🙂

  • Jean Lynd says:

    Very good list. Thanks & happy SITS Day, late!

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