Triathlon Transition Gear Essentials For Beginners

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Feb 24, 2014
  • Updated Mar 29, 2016 at 10:05 AM UTC
Photo: John David Becker

Pack this gear (and set it up efficiently at your transition spot) for a smooth first race.

Gear Essentials

Tri kit
Triathlon race apparel (Zoot Women’s Performance Tri Cami, $70; Performance Tri 6” Short, $70, dries quickly after the swim, and the light chamois (pad) provides protection from the bike saddle without scrunching up like a diaper during the run. Fit is paramount—find a kit that conforms to your body and feels comfortable.

Race belt
Forget pinning your number to your race kit—attach it to a race belt (Fuelbelt Race Number Belt, $12, that you can snap on easily while running out of T2.

„Body lube
A little lubrication can prevent painful chafing on your neck during the swim and protect any sensitive spots on the run (Body Glide Anti-Chafe, $6,

Ward off tri-kit tan lines with a healthy dose of water-resistant sunscreen (Skinstrong 30 SPF, $12.99,

„Transition bag
Keep your gear organized before the race and segregate the wet from the dry afterward with a tri-specific bag (BlueSeventy Transition Bag, $100,

Race with the nutrition you used while training (Clif Shot Bloks, $1.75,; Honey Stinger Energy Chews, $2.00,

Sleeveless wetsuits (TYR Hurricane Category 1, $225, provide ample flotation while preserving the feeling of freedom by constricting less than a full-sleeve suit. Find one that matches the contours of your body.

A pair that seals comfortably around the eyes is the most important trait of a race goggle. Try a few (and practice with them in the pool) until you find one that matches your face (Blueseventy Element, $12,

„Race cap
The race will provide a swim cap. If it’s really cold, consider doubling up with one of your own.

„Cycling shoes
For your first pair, road shoes tend to fit more securely than tri shoes (Specialized Women’s Torch Road, $125, Take a few seconds to put them on in transition to make the process as simple as possible.

A road helmet (Specialized Echelon II, $65, is the best option to use for both race day and training. You can eventually upgrade to an aero lid once you start striving for PRs.

Find a pair of glasses (Scott Leap, $125, that fits firmly around your head. A loose set can bounce out of place.

Low-cut ankles and a stretchable fabric help socks (Fit Ultra Light Runner Low, $15, slide on over wet feet. Put them on before either the bike or run.

„Running shoes
Ample cushioning and a conforming upper are some of the most important features of a shoe when easing into the sport (Nike Women’s Flyknit Lunar1+, $160, Train and race in the same pair to avoid unexpected blisters.

Hold off on the buzzing and whirring features—a simple timekeeper (Soleus Dash, $55, provides enough info to get through a first-timer training plan.

RELATED – Rookie In Training: Practice Your Triathlon Transitions

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FILED UNDER: Gear & Tech / Gear Tips / Getting Started TAGS:

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at

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