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Try a Tri Message Board › What do I need? Outfit/equipment

What do I need? Outfit/equipment

Karin W.
Group Organizer
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Post #: 5
If you’ve never trained for a Triathlon before then you’re probably wondering what you need in terms of equipment and clothing.

For the swim:

  • to get started with the training just bring whatever it is you usually swim in. There is a restroom at John U Lloyd park that can be used to change into bike and running clothes in private (in an actual Triathlon you can only change in public though ...and you really shouldn't do much changing anyhow). The restroom is not very comfortable but it should do for starters. Once you get more into this and see others in their snazzy Tri suits you’ll probably want one yourself. Tri suits range in price from $80 - $300+ . The higher priced suits usually have thinner material that dries faster. That’s a big plus. Tri suits have a very thin fast drying pad. The pad protects during the bike ride and is thin enough to not bother you during the run. That way you can go without changing from swimming to biking to running to breakfast at the beach watch restaurant. Another advantage is that they provide a little warmth during the swim. Besides one-piece suits there are also two-piece shorts plus tops from the same material available. It's a matter of personal preference which style you prefer.

    Girls: some Tri suits have bras build in (usually the “shelf bras” that you also find in running tops). If you need more support you might want to wear a sports bra underneath though. Try to find one with a thin material so that it dries fast.

    Guys: I’ve seen men just doing the race in Tri shorts. Those are shorts that have a very thin fast drying pad so that you can swim, run and bike in them. The advantage of having a suit though is that it’s warmer during the swim.

    You can find good deals on the Internet for Tri suits. Just type "Tri suits" into your browser and you’ll find plenty. Local bike and run shops usually carry a few too although the selection might be limited. Check our sponsor Runners Depot where we get an extra discount (see sponsor section).

  • swim goggles

  • The girls usually wear swim caps to keep their hair out of their faces during the swim.

For biking:

  • if you have a bike then just bring whatever bike you have to the training (ok, maybe not a tricycle...). We have had people riding on beach cruisers, hybrids, mountain bikes and road bikes. Ideal for a race are of course road bikes, followed by hybrids, followed by mountain bikes. Seasoned triathletes usually invest into special Tri-bikes (Time Trial bikes, TT bikes) but you might want to wait with that until you've got a few races under your belt. I think you are allowed to use pretty much any bike in a Triathlon but I’ve never seen someone racing on a beach cruiser. There is a section on for regulations. If you have a fat tire bike but want to get into road biking read the next paragraph.

  • if you don’t have a bike yet and you're just starting then you probably don’t want to spend too much money yet. A good option for your first Triathlon or Duathlon is to get a road bike from Target or Walmart. They both offer inexpensive GMC Denali road bikes for under $200 (there are probably other decent cheap brands but that's the one I know). You can also find them on If you order them online it might require some assembly. There is a women’s version out there. I only found one with a 20 cm frame though. If you’re taller than 5’4 then you might be better off going with the men’s version (at least according to the Ebay road bike fitting guide… disclaimer: I’m not really an expert on this. I’m 5’3 with a 30’’ inseam and the 20 cm frame fits me ok.)

    I did my first two races on the GMC Denalli and it went just fine. You probably want to upgrade after that though. If you do more than 2 Tris you’re usually someone who’s hooked and you want to be just as fancy as the competition. Good road bikes range from about $900 - $4000. There are often good deals on Ebay too.

  • bike transportation can be an issue. You can get a sufficient trunk rack at Target, K-Mart or Walmart for about $50. There are better ones out there. I found the cheap ones are good enough for transporting a bike over short distances though. I just ordered the Saris Bones RS ($219 on Ebay). It’s more stable and has theft protection build in. If you have a non-standard bike or a women’s bike you might have some trouble getting it on the cheaper rack (the two posts that hold the bike might be too far apart and can’t be adjusted). I did find a way to get my women’s road bike on it but it was tricky.

  • bike helmet

  • sun glasses to protect your eyes from insects and anything else that might fly around

For running:

  • nothing special needed here for the training. We run in running shoes even if we run on the beach (on the sand).

    One thing to mention (not for training but for a race): buy a race belt (available at runner’s depot). Those are belts that you can fasten the race number to. That way you can just quickly slip the race belt on when you get off the bike and start running. This is something that many first-timers don't think of until the day before the race when they are told about it at a Multirace clinic.

A former member
Post #: 1
Thank you very very much for this advice. Being, that I am training for my first tri, I am spending a huge amount of time gobbling up all the info I can get on the web and in magazines. This post helps alot
Danny C.
user 11725945
Satellite Beach, FL
Post #: 1
I have a question about the water temperature for the Sunday Training sessions, is a wetsuit needed? It seems to still be pretty cold out....
Karin W.
Group Organizer
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Post #: 69
Already replied in an email but in case others have the same question:

Currently it's difficult to tell in advance if the weather is warm enough for swimming and everyone has a different tolerance for cold. Some of us have a wetsuit and some don't. Some of us want to tough it out and some prefer to do a warm-up run instead. We usually split into groups. If you have a wetsuit you should bring it. If you don't have one then just bring your normal swim clothes and decide in the morning if you want to swim or not.
S F.
user 11287365
Mount Pleasant, SC
Post #: 3
SUPER helpful Karin -- thanks!!

Question re: bikes. I have a hybrid -- do you think I need some kind of pedal with cages to keep my feet in (similar to what they have in Spin classes)? I'm not ready to invest in shoe and clip pedals at this stage.

Looking forward to meeting everyone for the first time on Sunday!
Karin W.
Group Organizer
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Post #: 73
I've never used cages so I might be the wrong person to ask. On my first 2 triathlons I just had normal pedals on my cheap road bike and then I went to clip pedals. I'm not quite sure how usefull cages are but I've seen others use them. In general you pedal much more efficient if you can "pull" up instead of just pushing down.
user 69874932
Miami, FL
Post #: 1
I am doing the 2575 Triathlon on March 10th. Just moved to the area. Is there anyone who might have a spare bike that I could borrow until March 10th? ANY bike would do :)

Thank you.
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