What I Used — Products for My First Triathlon

I recently wrote about my experience training for and completing my first triathlon after 50. You can read about it here.

One of the trickiest parts of preparing for a triathlon is figuring out all the gear you need. You can get many items at local swim, bike, and running stores. I bought most of my items online. Here is a list of products I recommend to train for and use during your triathlon.

Skincare

Sunscreen – It’s really hard to find good sunscreen products for a triathlon. When you’re training outside, and during a triathlon, you need to protect yourself from the sun. This one lasts and stays on better through swimming and sweating than others I’ve tried. See my review here.

Lip Balm – This is my biggest skincare challenge. My lips had always gotten sunburned and dry. I tried so many products and finally found one with SPF that works well:

Swimming

Wetsuit – A wetsuit helps keep you warm and more buoyant. It also lets you feel less of the seaweed or sea creatures that might creep you out. Florida sometimes has warmer water where wetsuits are prohibited, but many times you’ll be able to wear them. I ended up returning this when I decided the water was warm enough, but it was a nice wetsuit:


Goggles – If your goggles don’t work or don’t fit right, you’ll start off the race with irritated eyes:

Swim Cap – You will need one for practice, but on race day you will be given a swim cap in a specific color based on the age group or category you are racing in:

Anti-Chafing Lotion – I got a rash caused by friction (chafing) under my arms whenever I swam. I found this really cool all-natural, made in the USA lotion created by an Ironman winner that worked like a charm (you can also use it if you chafe in your inner thighs, etc.):

 

Other: Water shoes (some people use them, but I didn’t); Swimsuit (I already had one that I used for swimming pool practice and wore a tri-suit for open water swims and the triathlon – see info under the running section); Towel.

Bicycling

Headband – I live in South Florida, where it’s really humid. And I sweat A LOT.  I’ve used headbands for biking and running that didn’t keep the sweat from getting in my eyes. A friend I met in a bicycling club told me about these sweatbands, and they REALLY work to keep sweat from getting in my eyes:

 

Bike Shorts – I wore these on my practice rides:

Bicycle Shirts – I wear a variety of shirts on my practice rides. Here is one of my favorites:

Bike Gloves – These are not required, but I never bike without them. They help protect my hands:

Cellphone Holder – I love this! I used it on every practice bike ride. You mount it onto your bicycle and you can listen to music, and track your MPH and bike duration (with the app, below). It even comes with a plastic cover to protect your phone from rain and dripping sweat:

The free app Runkeeper – I used this on every bike ride. It kept track of my bicycle duration and miles per hour, and it did the same for my running. It also keeps track of swimming, walking, and more. You can get it here.

Road Bike – My husband and I already had these. We bought both Cannondales at a local bike shop. They are a good choice for a relatively inexpensive good road bike. You can learn more about them here.

Helmet – We also bought this at a local bike shop. Here is a similar one:

Socks – I wore the same ones for running, which I will include in the Running section.

Road Shoes – These aren’t required, and I didn’t use them during my triathlon. I have used them since, and, in hindsight, wish I had used them sooner. They make the pedaling process easier and more streamlined. You’ll also need clips to replace your pedals if you buy these shoes. We had the clips put on at our local bike shop. Here are the shoes:

Running

Cooling Towel – When it’s warm outside for running (more than 70 degrees) or biking (more than 80 degrees), I’ll loosely tie a cooling towel around my neck. I don’t do well when I’m warm and this helps:

Hat – This is one of my favorite hats for running. It’s really light and designed by a woman:

Sunglasses – I have tons, so just make sure to wear ones that offer good protection from sun and wind.

Tri suit – This is one of the essential products for a triathlon, and can come in a one-piece or two-piece. It’s created to be tight against the body, to maximize your efficiency. I decided against wearing a one-piece tri suit for two reasons: first, it’s harder to take off when you want to use the bathroom before the race and second because I don’t have a perfect body and the one-piece leaves nothing to the imagination.

It was difficult finding a great two-piece tri-suit. I ended up buying it at my local running shop. You can buy a similar one here:

Top:

Bottom:

Practice Running Shorts – I love these and own several pairs in different colors – great price, free returns, lightweight and they include a pocket for a key:

Sleeveless Practice Running Shirts – This is one of my favorites:

Short-Sleeve Practice Running Shirts – I wear these occasionally, on days when it’s a little bit chilly:

Long-Sleeve Practice Running Shirts – I wore this on a run when it was really cold out when visiting Asheville, NC:

Running leggings – I wore leggings once, on that Asheville trip. I bought the leggings at Old Navy and they were fine.

Sneakers – Great sneakers are incredibly important. You know what works for you. I have small, wide feet, and like New Balance the best.

Socks – These are also very important. I think we lose padding on our feet as we get older and I start feeling some pressure after running 3.5 miles or so. I tried many kinds and these are by far my favorite:

Cell Phone Arm Band – I wear this on my arm to hold my cell phone and protect it while running. I listen to music, otherwise, I’d probably lose my mind.

Runner’s Goo – This is stuff I swore I would never try. It is the gelatinous stuff that you squirt in your mouth. It always sounded disgusting, but it’s supposed to help you quickly get some energy during a race. I found one that’s organic and tastes good:

Race Number Belt – When you’re running during the triathlon, you need to wear your race number. You can pin it on, but it’s awkward. This is much better:

I hope these products help you get ready for your triathlon. If you’re a triathlete, please us know about additional items that have worked for you, or if you’ve had experience with any of these products for a triathlon. Share your thoughts, below!

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