What Gear Do You Need To Do Your First Triathlon?

Posted by TriProject on January 21, 2016

“I’m a Park Runner, and I quite fancy trying a triathlon, but I’m a bit scared about having to buy all the gear I need. Any thoughts?”

We hear this kind of thing often, and if you know a triathlete, you’ll also know that they love shiny, new, and often expensive equipment to use for their favourite sport.

But you don’t need a carbon bike, aero water bottles or a slippery wetsuit to compete in your first event. In fact, you’d be surprised at how little most triathletes start off with.

Here’s a guide:

The Swim

As all our triathlons have a lake swim you will need a wetsuit and some good googles that don’t leak.  Apart from keeping you warm the wetsuit will make you more buoyant and reduce the drag, therefore making you swim faster! Make sure that you check out Zone3's range of wetsuits and other swim accessories

We will supply you with a swim cap, each starting wave will have a different colour.

The Bike

You just need a bicycle that’s in decent condition and with working brakes. A mountain bike is fine, and many people do their first triathlon on one.  If you don’t have your own, borrow one. If you do go down the mountain bike route, invest in some road tyres for it – it will make a big difference! And if it isn’t fitted with a water bottle carrier, get one of those – it’s a great time to rehydrate after the swim and before the run.  You’ll also need a helmet.

You don’t need fancy cycling gear – you can even pull on a top and cycle in your costume!

The Run

If you’re considering doing a triathlon, you almost certainly have everything you need for the run already – shorts, T- Shirt and decent trainers!


All you need in transition is your outfit for the next part of the race and a towel to dry yourself and get the dirt off your feet.


So, assuming you already run, and you can borrow a bike with a water bottle carrier and road tyres, all you actually need to buy is a swimsuit and goggles!

Of course, there are plenty of optional extras you might want to consider, but none are essential:

  • A race belt makes things easier – you clip your race number to it, and it’s comfortable and easy to swivel round when you go from bike to run
  • Clipless pedals, with cycling shoes are pricey, but will give you more speed on the bike
  • Sunglasses are a good idea to protect your eyes from the sun, the wind and flying grit
  • Elastic laces to make putting your shoes on faster in transition work for some people
  • Bike gloves so you can grip when your hands and wet and sweaty are nice to have

Your first triathlon

There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing the finish line for the first time and being able to add the word “Triathlete” to your online bio!

We love welcoming new triathletes to Britain’s fastest growing sport – a Sprint event is the ideal place to start:

  • A 750 metre swim – 30 lengths of your local pool
  • A 21KM bike ride – around an hour’s steady riding
  • A 5KM run – comfortable for any Park Runner!

Come and join us at the Thorpe Park Sprint Triathlon on 5th June – you’ve got plenty of time to organise your gear and do your training for the event, and we’re on hand to answer your questions and queries in the meantime.

You’ll be joining many other people doing their first ever triathlon, and you won’t regret it!

Register now to give yourself the motivation to get training!

More information and registration form here: Thorpe Park Triathlon