Getting into the sport of triathlon can seem a bit overwhelming, if you let it be. One of the most common things I see from triathletes is that they get caught up in what they read about gear or what some of their friends say the need who have been in the sport a few years. Remember, these athletes are just entering the sport of triathlon. Budgets are tight and sometimes the necessities are all you need to have success come race day. The $500 wetsuit is probably not the best use of your money. I can think of so many other ways to spend that money.
In swimming, the biggest expense will be the gym membership or pool access. If you are in a warm sunny climate and have access to the ocean, that’s awesome, but most of us don’t. Find the right pool for you which allows for flexibility to match your schedule.
Here is a list of essential swim supplies you’ll need:
Super easy choice here. We always go with the Dolfin Grab Bag option on Swimoutlet.com. Going through suits at the pool is more common when you begin to swim more. And suits can add up. That’s why we have forgone fashion for a little bit of savings. They offer you a suit of your choice in size and length, and then they send a random design. Prices for men’s jammers can be as low as $11.70 for men and $11.20 for women depending on size.
I have tried pretty much all there is out there on the market, including masks. I have settled on the Speedo Vanquishers which are super durable, and come in different colors and different shades of lenses. I would recommend purchasing 2 pairs. One pair you use for everyday training and a second pair for racing. The clear lens is great for the pool, while a metallic or smoke lens is best for racing in sunny conditions. I also recommend a defogger, although spit works nicely too. My recommendations are below:
Borrow one from a friend who has been racing triathlons. They always give them out for the athletes, and I’m quite sure we all have a few piling up that we can share with someone new. Just ask around if you don’t know anyone.
Swim Caps: FREE
There is absolutely no need to go high end, or even medium grade when starting out in the sport. My recommendation is to get on Craigslist or eBay and find a used one, either 1-2 years old. Usually after someone starts up in triathlon, they end up liking it so much they tend to upgrade and sell off their first suit. The differences in speed won’t be huge for the newcomer. I get my new athletes to purchase the X-Terra Wetsuit base model. There is always a code to get 55% off the price online. They do the job and are quite comfortable and speedy for what you need. If you go through your first season and absolutely love the sport (I bet you will), and want to start to upgrade your gear, then you can start to think about others options (ie. Roka, BlueSeventy, etc…). Use code: C-YOGITRI and you will get 60% off the following gear:
Lava Shorts, Lava Pants, Volt Sleeveless, Vortex Sleeveless, Valor Speedsuit, Vortex Fullsuit, Vector Pro Fullsuit
Using paddles are a great way to build strength in the pool. Choosing the right type will save you struggle as you try to improve upon your technique. I recommend a hand paddle that is just slightly larger than your hand. Going too big will really make your work and potentially cause some shoulder and back strain. Look for a pair that fits nicely around your hand size and read the reviews if you are uncertain which size or option to get. My recommendation is the Strokemaker Paddles. The link below will showcase all the sizes they offer. For beginners I recommend the small or at the most, medium. Remember, you don’t want to strain yourself but gradually build strength in your lats during the pull phase of the stroke.
The Finis Zoomers are your best option. I’ve been using them for years, and only have had to buy one pair, thankfulyl my feet haven’t grown. Some pools do have extra fins available for their members, so check first before purchasing your pair.
Easiest one to get. Take an old tire inner tube and cut off a piece about 2 feet long. Make sure it doesn’t include the nozzle. Tie it together around your ankles nice and snug so there is only a little bit of play. Tie a knot and you’re done. Use this with the paddles & buoy for an extra strengthening workout.
Usually the pool has a supply of buoys to use. They are great tools to use for pulling sets and to give your legs a rest on days when you run or cycle hard. You can get the basic one and it will work just fine.
If you have questions on any other swimming gear you are considering buying, please feel free to ask here on this post.