Make sure you read Step 1 here.
You don’t need much to get started for your first triathlon. At a bare minimum you need a bike, helmet and a pair of sneakers. Lets discuss these items in a bit more detail before we look at all the other items that can assist you.
Your bike needs to be functioning correctly. If it has been sitting around in a garden shed for a while, for your own safety it will be worth taking it to your local bike shop. At the very least get them to service the brakes (very important for your safety), maintain the chain (otherwise it won’t work) and ensure the wheels rotate smoothly (you won’t go far if they don’t). Often for bikes sitting around unused you can expect the brake cables to be frayed and/or damaged and need replacing. The brake pads may be worn and also need replacing. Chains are often in poor condition and need replacement or some serious love. Often the rubber on the tyres degrades. New tyres and tubes will prevent you from getting flat tyres.
Your helmet is your life line. It will only do its job if it isn’t damaged. My life has been saved many times by a quality helmet. I’ve ridden off a cliff at 80km/hr when I was going too fast to take a corner in a race. I don’t remember the ride in the rescue helicopter but apparently I went head first into a tree then rag dolled it down the cliff. I would not have walked out of hospital that afternoon if it wasn’t for the helmet absorbing the impact of the crash and saving my life. Make sure yours is in good condition and if you do crash with it, get it replaced. If you are unsure what sort of state it is in, take it into your local bike shop and get them to look at it and advise you. The bike shop I recommend in Blenheim is Cycle World. In Nelson I recommend Village Cycles. Both are owned by good guys who have knowledgeable workshop staff that are active in all forms of cycling.
Sneakers are an important aspect of your journey to your first triathlon. They will protect your feet. As you start off you will be fine in whatever shoes you have, but as you build up the amount of walking and/or running you do I would recommend getting a good quality pair of shoes. Finding a suitable pair of shoes for your foot type is important. Each major brand has a range of shoes that cater for neutral feet or feet that need stability/support or motion control. Getting in the right shoes is important to make sure that you avoid injury. The best way to know for sure that you get in the right pair of shoes is to go to a store with knowledgeable staff. In my experience the discount running shoe stores often employ staff that don’t know much about shoes, bio-mechanics or running. To find quality staff you need to go to a technical running store. Staff at Shoe Clinic are trained to a high standard.
Well that is the big three sorted. In a future post I’ll cover the more minor equipment that will make your life enjoyable whilst you train and prepare for your first triathlon .
What you need to do now is get your bike and helmet, get them checked out and sorted so you are ready to start training properly.
If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.
Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.
Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.
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