Essential kit list for a triathlon race
I thought I’d compile a list of things you need to take part in a triathlon race. This should be helpful for athletes who might be new to the sport – or for people who are as forgetful as I am!
Scottish or British Triathlon race licence if you have one. (Otherwise you’ll need to pay extra for a day licence).
Trisuit or whatever you plan to wear for the race. I wear an all-in-one trisuit while others favour shorts and top. A swimming costume is also fine (but not trunks only) although you might want to add shorts for decency and comfort on the bike and run. Your trisuit zipper must be working properly so you can fully zip it up.
An over-the-head towel robe can be useful if you need to change in the middle of a car park before or after the race. See Robie Robe kit review
Anti-fog solution for goggles
Sports bra (for the ladies). I wear one throughout the entire race.
A wetsuit, if it’s an open water swim.
Baby oil, Vaseline or body glide to apply to neck, arms and legs for comfort and so it’s easier to get the wetsuit off after swimming.
A race belt with your race number attached to it.
Safety pins to attach your race number to your race belt.
You will be given a swim hat to race in but you can wear another underneath if you want.
You will be given a race chip to attach to your ankle.
You will have race numbers to attach to your bike and helmet.
If the race dictates, make sure you have neoprene gloves and socks, too.
Ear-plugs, if swimming makes you dizzy
Wrist attached Garmin, if you plan to wear one.
For transition areas
Bike (make sure it complies to the race rules and is in good working order)
Bike shoes. These can be attached to the bike with elastic bands so you are ready for the off or they can be sat next to the bike. See how to transition like a pro.
Sunglasses, if you plan to wear them.
Talc for easy-on bike shoes and running shoes
Running shoes (fitted with elastic laces for speed of putting them on)
Any extra clothes you feel you might need and depending on the race length and the weather. (Note that adding anything extra such as socks, arm warmers, jackets, gloves will add extra – and unwanted – time to transitions.)
Asthma inhaler if you need one.
Gels, water etc. (I normally have gels and water already attached to my bike.)
Bike Garmin gadget (I have this already attached to my bike.)
Towel (some races allow one and some don’t)
Suncream (use a long-lasting lotion or for events that last many hours leave a bottle of cream in transition for a top up mid-race)
Also make sure you read the briefing notes of the race and the British Triathlon race rules. Breaking the rules leads to time penalties and even disqualification.
Top tips for triathlon racing
Here are some suggestions from tri racing pals.
1 If your wetsuit is hard to get on, use carrier bag/bags. Put the plastic bags over your feet and this should help you to pull on the legs of the wetsuit. Remove the bags before racing!
2 Alternatively, cut off a section of the lower legs and arms of your wetsuit. This makes it easier to get on and off.
3 A neoprene hat is legal and traps more heat. Neoprene gloves and boots are not legal unless the race has a rules exemption.
4 Less is more in transition. Keep kit ot an absolute minimum so you can quickly find what you need and get on to the next section of the race.
5 Do transition practice. It’s wasted time so aim for T1 and T2 of less than one minute each.
6 Turn your shoes upside down in transition if it’s rainy. This simple trick saves feet getting rubbed by soggy shoes.
7 Tape a sachet of energy gel to the top tube of your bike for easy access when cycling.