By Rhys Chong
Purchasing the sporting equipment for triathlon is one activity which requires no sweating or training!
It gets the endorphins rushing and gives you an imagianary licence to spend money. Nobody can deny that there’s something about spending money on things we think we need that’s so satisfying and easy.
Starting out in triathlon requires some research. There’s research to be done on how to train, what to eat, and even entering the right races. Sometimes the last thing we think about is what equipment to use and when it comes to buying it, who knows what to get?
In many of the popular Triathlon magazines there are so many quality reviews on equipment and advertisements that it can leave you feeling confused. If you like to buy the latest equipment with the best reviews then the choices are amazing and if you have a big bank account you can look like a pro!
When I started out training for my ironman I wanted to buy the best equipment on the market. I had no idea what to buy so I relied on advice from Ironman athletes and magazines. But when I assessed the cost of what I wanted, i realised the bike alone was £7000 and the wetsuit was £300 to £400! I had to quickly reassess the situation..
I spoke to my coach and he emphasised…”It’s the machine on the bike and not the bike that makes the difference” He wanted me to focus on the training and forget about the fancy equipment as it was my first triathlon after all.
I decided to buy the equipment, as I needed it. I used a website called Wiggle and it has a good range of products at reasonable prices. Sometimes the prices are better than the shops as they can buy stock in bulk. It’s a fast and convenient web ordering service and one I highly recommend. If I wanted to try on things like wetsuits and tri-suits I went to the tri shops to buy these products.
The key pieces of equipment worth spending a little more money on are running shoes, bike, and goggles. If you don’t get these right, your triathlon could be very uncomfortable!
Good running shoes can prevent injuries, so visit a reputable shop which will fit you in several pairs of shoes to find the most suitable pair for you. My brother is a podiatrist and he recommended buying shoes based on comfort. There are shops that recommend insoles as well. These are not routinely required and if you have questions it’s best to chat to a physiotherapist or podiatrist first ( the cost can escalate when insoles are bought). I went to ‘Run and Become’ in Victoria and they managed to solve a blister problem with the shoes they recommended.
The bike also has to be comfortable and fit your body. I spent £1500 on my bike. Most bikes that cost around £300 to £500 will get you around a sprint and Olympic distance triathlon, but if you want to go further in distance I recommend around the £1500 mark. The most expensive bikes can cost £9000+ so this puts into perspective the quality of bike you’re buying! Talk to a good Tri store and they can give you some professional advice. I bought a road bike and added aero bars rather than buying a time trial bike. The road bike gave me more versatility when riding e.g. hill riding and flats. (A great bike is a dream to ride.)
Goggles are so hard to get right. I went through 5-6 pairs before finding what worked for me. The only way to get the right pair is through trial and error. Get the fit right and your swim sessions will be much more comfortable. If you get it wrong the swim can be a bit of a nightmare.
The rest of the equipment for triathlon can be bought with varying degrees of quality. Generally, the more expensive it is the better the quality and the longer it will last. If you plan to compete for longer than one season then you may want to invest in better quality clothing. I bought a number of DHB products from Wiggle, which is their own brand of sports products. I found their products lasted 1 to 1.5 seasons. Sometimes the zips would break or the seams start to split. I enjoyed using DHB for one season as they worked and were very cost effective in the year of training I completed.
Check out my youtube links below to see the types of equipment you will use in triathlon:
1. Invest in quality shoes, bike and goggles
2. Spend on quality clothing if you plan to continue triathlon for more than one
3. Buy as you need to save unnecessary spending
Feel free to contact Physical Edge www.physical-edge.com with your questions and read my blog on one year of Ironman training from my website. Until next time, remember to stay focused and enjoy your new sport. You’re now an athlete in currently the fastest growing Olympic sport in the world!