Sharone Aharon, USAT Elite Level III Coach

Race day is coming faster than you think, and before you know it, you will be standing in line for packet pickup. It’s time to get started with a consistent training program that will peak your performance on race day. In addition, you need to get the right equipment for both training and racing. As we all know, triathlon is a gear-heavy sport, so start gathering the necessary equipment now. It will take you some time to figure out what is best for you. The list can be overwhelming so let’s get you started with the basics. 

Your training equipment should also be your racing gear. You may need some extra equipment for training and some accessories for racing, but for the most part, you race and train with the same equipment. 

As I go through the list, I will recommend a few resources for you. However, your coach and fellow training partners are sometimes the best sources of information. Consult with them and reduce the time you need to gather it all up. 

Let’s start with the three prominent sports.


For swimming, you will need following:

  • Swimsuit
  • Goggles 
  • Swim cap
  • Wetsuit
  • Training equipment
    • Fins
    • Paddles
    • Pull buoy
    • Snorkel 
    • Kickboard

ROKAFINIS, and SwimOutlet are great resources for swim gear. There you can find most of your swimming needs. 


For biking, you will need the following:

  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Cycling shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Bike computer
  • Bento box
  • Bottle cage
  • Bike trainer skewer 

The bike portion of the sport is the most expensive of the three. I am a big fan of shopping local to support bike shops near you. It will help you in the long run when you need advice or emergency repairs. Develop a relationship with the owner and, most notably, the bike mechanic. Get a bike fit before you get your bike. You will have a better idea of what bike to buy and it will make your ride more enjoyable.

Our favorite brands are, first and foremost, your local bike shop. In Chicago, we like Village Cycle Center, Trek Bicycle, Peregrine Bicycle Studio, and Mox Multisport. For cycling gear, we love Rudy Project, Garmin Cycling, and XLAB. We like Wahoo Fitness, Tacx, and Saris on the smart trainer side.


The run portion has minimal gear requirements, and is the least expensive part of our sport. Just like with cycling, we love to shop local. You will need the following:

  • Running shoes
  • Soaks 
  • Running watch
  • Hat or visor

Fitted running shoes are crucial to comfort and injury prevention. Check your local store for expert advice. They will lead you in the right direction, and after some trial and error, you will find the right shoe. The same goes for socks. A good pair will keep your feet healthy. Our local running store favorites are Road Runner Sports and Fleet Feet. In the running computer department, we suggest buying a multisport watch like Garmin or Suunto.

The last item I would like to add is your training gear bag. Your gear bag is where your life is. You will constantly organize this bag based on your daily schedule, packing and unpacking it daily. Get a big bag with a wet pocket that can store gear for at least two workouts each day. 

This is not the entire list but a good start at the beginning of your training season. You do not have to get everything before you start training. I encourage researching more and getting your gear in the first few months of training.  

It’s Go Time! Start your training now and get your gear along the way.