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Coaches Blog

Bare Essentials for Your First Sprint Triathlon

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

by April Corey

Everyone starts their triathlon journey as a “newbie”. Meaning, it is your first time racing in a triathlon and you have no clue what all you will truly need. You may have signed up for a race because you were getting bored with your same old workouts and needed a new challenge or your friend dared you or it just sounded fun.

So you've signed up and you are thinking NOW WHAT? What do I need? There are a ton of cool gadgets on the market, but they aren’t necessary when you are first getting started in triathlons. You may already have some of the basics or you may be able to borrow what you will need for your first race or two.

Once the triathlon bug has officially infected you, you can start to work on upgrading and/or adding equipment. The following is the bare bones basics of what you will need for a super sprint or sprint distance triathlon during warm weather months to get you through your first race.


You have many options on what to wear. You can wear a swim suit during the swim (I would suggest a supportive sports bra under the swim suit for the ladies) and throw on some shorts and a shirt for the bike and run while in transition. Or, you can wear a triathlon suit, or "kit." Yes, the clothing will show all your lumps and bumps for the rest of the world to see, especially when you are soaking wet. But guess what? Everyone is minding their own business and are not paying you any mind. So, wear what is comfortable, as long as it covers your beautiful assets (from your shoulders to your rear).

  • Goggles: you will need a pair that don’t leak

  • Swim cap: you do not want your hair in your face when you are swimming. Yes, they aren’t the most attractive piece of gear, but definitely needed if you have any sort of length to your hair. Most races will issue a swim cap for safety reasons.

  • Bike: any kind of bike will work, as long as it moves forward, has two wheels and you can comfortably reach the pedals. The bike can have big, knobby tires, be the bike that your dad rode when he was in college or it can be an inexpensive bike that you picked up at the local big box store.

  • Helmet: you will need a helmet. This is non-negotiable. You cannot race in a triathlon without a helmet. You should not ride on the road without a helmet. Ever.

  • Running shoes: you will need running shoes. You can also wear the same shoes on the bike as you will for the run.

  • Socks: this is a personal preference to wear socks on the bike and run

  • Watch: a water resistant watch so that you can keep track of your time

  • Sunglasses: they don’t have to be fancy and expensive but sometimes the glare of the sun is painful

  • Visor/Hat: it may be warm during your run and you want a little shade for your face and head

The most important piece of gear to remember is your SMILE! Good luck and have fun!!

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