Starting triathon? Here's your shopping list
February 28th, 2011
03:37 PM ET

Starting triathon? Here's your shopping list

Are you ready to train for a triathlon, just like the CNN 6-pack? Want to change your lifestyle? Become a role model? Get super fit and healthy? If you answered yes, then it’s time to go SHOPPING. Woo hoo!!!

Your first year in triathlon is an expense. You’ll need a bike, a wetsuit, cycling shoes, sneakers, a helmet, and a few accessories. You can opt to borrow stuff from friends, and feel free to start with the most basic gear for more savings. Once you have everything, though, you’re good to go for years to come.

Shopping…my favorite part! Here's your list:

• Helmet – Mandatory: your helmet must be Ansi or Snell certified. Hint, if you want to look cool, and less like a beginner, snap off the removable visor in front. Just trust me on this one.

• Road bike – Purchase a bike you love. You’ll be on it often! You can also find a used bike online for much less.

• Clipless pedals and cleats – Buy “road” pedals and cleats, as opposed to other options, such as mountain biking.

• Cycling shoes – You can buy “road” shoes or “triathlon” shoes. The only real difference is that triathlon shoes are made for fast transitions, so normally the closures are Velcro only. If you are thinking that you’ll just wear your sneakers, think again! The hard bottom of a cycling shoe transfers more power. Plus, attaching to the pedal crank allows you to work every angle of the pedal stroke.

• Spare tubes – You are going to get a flat tire at some point and it’s easier to fix than it is to walk home.

• Floor pump – This measures the precise amount of air in your tires as you pump. It’s important to get the correct psi (pounds per square inch) for an optimal riding experience. Pump before you leave the house for every ride.

• Sneakers – Go to a “runner’s shop” as opposed to a sporting goods store. They are usually more knowledgeable and can evaluate an individual’s needs. Some even have treadmills to assess your form.

• Swim cap – I’d go silicone if you have long hair as it’s more comfortable.

• Swim goggles – Before purchasing, press the goggles up against your face to test how comfortable they’ll be. Most shops will let you do this.

• Wetsuit – Buy one or borrow one. I would recommend a wetsuit with long legs and long sleeves, as their main purpose is to keep you warm and buoyant.

• Sunglasses – Mandatory when riding your bike, as they protect your eyes.

• Allen keys – Allows you to adjust most parts of your bike.

• Water bottles – Always have hydration available when you ride.

Next week we'll have the first installment of our 23-week training program, leading up to the Nautica New York City Triathlon!!

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Mike Bills

    Wait, they left of ASEA, how could you do a triathlon without packing your ASEA? http://athletics.redoxscience.com/2010/08/13/endurance/asea-athletics-video/

    March 1, 2011 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Chris Johnson

    As a physical therapist, certified triathlon coach, and amateur elite triathlete, I would like to take this time to comment on a very timely post. In addition to the items mentioned (all important), I would also highly recommend that you first consult a medical professional familiar with the sport to address any impairments prior to initiating a training session. Nothing is worse than investing 10 + weeks in a training program to get sidelined by an injury that should have been dealt with form the outset. Secondly, wearing some sort of Road ID with your name as well as an emergency contact is critical because in the event you find yourself training solo and get hit by a car, having identification will improve communication regarding your care. I personally have been the victim of two hit and runs in the past 5 years as well as a few collisions in the park. Lastly, the most expensive element to triathlon training is the nutritional demand of the sport. As I am currently focusing on long course racing, I generally burn anywhere from 1000kcal to 5000kcal a day. Therefore, replenishing your system is critical and more expensive than one might think. Congratulations again on a great article

    Chris Johnson, MPT MCMT ITCA
    Owner Chris Johnson PT (www.chrisjohnsonpt.com/critters-corner)
    Co-founder Formula Tri Club (www.formulatriclub.com)

    March 4, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ray Buendia

    This is a timely post which a good friend told me about. I am two years post cancer surgery which took nearly 6 months to recover from and am training for my first triathlon. It is encouraging to see the CNN group go through the same challenges I am finding. A good running clinic is essential to avoid the beginner running injuries so common to those folks starting training and which I have suffered. My triathlon is scheduled for May 1 in San Diego, where I live. I will have to check regularly to see how the CNN group is doing.

    March 5, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Wet Wolf

    Performing a triathlon is the worst move an antsy exercise enthusiast can embark on. The chronic pounding of running on the joints, the kyphotic position that developes in the thorasic region from all the biking and not to mention the overly efficient cardiovascular system. ( Yes you heard that right)

    Ever watched the folks waddle past the finish line at a triathlon? They are hardly the lean, muscular, athletic specimens one would expect but rather jiggley love handles, and flabby bellies from all the high carb meals to "fuel" their training, or more like their fat stores.


    March 10, 2011 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Kathleen

    So.... I am just curious when the rest of the training plan is going to be posted. The first post on training for a triathlon – with the first 2 weeks of training – was the beginning of February. You follow it up with a shopping list 2? 3? weeks later. And then.... it's the middle of March here .... still no further training plan. Anyone you'd convinced into doing this - by the promise that you would be with them -- who was half way serious about doing this - would have had to have been TRAINING all this time. And yet..... no training plan from you .... after you promised one in the BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY. Honestly, I am disappointed and let down. Great way to skim something, generate a lot of enthusiasm and sales, and provide no substance.

    March 18, 2011 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
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