Beginner Triathlon Gear Shopping Check List

Must Have Beginner Triathlon Gear

These are the essential items you will need to get you from the start to finish of your first triathlon

Beginner Triathlon Bike - The Rookie Tri triathlon gearBike

Any Bike. It can be anything from your uncle’s old bike that has been in the garage or the mountain bike you take out riding with your kids. Now, be sure that the bike is in good repair by taking it to a local shop. Sometimes if the bike is really old or in disrepair, you may spend just as much on fixing it up as you will a beginner bike. A second note is that a road bike and bike with gears will make your triathlon journey a lot more comfortable.  You will be able to go further with less effort and will have more “in the tank” when you head out for a run.

Beginner Triathlon Helmet- The Rookie Tri triathlon gear

Helmet

Helmets should be replaced every 5-8 years and definitely after any crash– no matter how small. Helmets are the same safety level at any price tag so there is no need to open up the wallet for the cool $300 ones. These higher end helmets will be equipped with more ventilation and more aerodynamics. Some helmets do come is sized so make sure and check when you purchase. A loose fitting helmet is not safe.

Beginner Triathlon Tri Shorts- The Rookie Tri triathlon gear

Bike or Tri Shorts

Really you can wear what you want, just remember that transition is open and there is nowhere to change in private. If you want to be comfortable while training and racing, You will want a nice pair of athletic shorts. First, these can really be anything but cotton, as cotton will not wick away water and can lead to chaffing, ouch! A basic tri short with a little bit of padding will make your bike-riding experience much more enjoyable. The best part is that these shorts will last long after your triathlon debut. They are perfect for cross training, cycle classes, and even going for runs.

Beginner Triathlon Goggles - The Rookie Tri triathlon gear

Goggles

Most importantly, there is no perfect goggle since everyone’s face is shaped a little different. Visit a local swim shop and try on a few models to find what works for you. Leaky goggles will derail your swim and can make swimming a lot more difficult if you are having to stop and constantly adjust for goggles, therefore don’t skimp and just buy the cheapest ones at the store. Once you have tested them out a few times, we suggest buying a second pair in a different tint so that you have something for all conditions.

Beginner Triathlon Running shoes for triathlon gear

Running Shoes

If they are comfortable, they are good to go. Even if they are just the shoes you got because you liked the way they looked. Have some shoes that aren’t comfortable? Well, you can still run in those — you will just be, well uncomfortable at the end of your run. 🙂

beginner triathlon sports bra- triathlon gear

Sports Bra

Ladies, even if you decide to use your swimsuit for your first triathlon you are going to want to wear a good sports bra underneath. You will want something you are comfortable running in. If you have some areas that run, like under the armpits you can put some Vaseline or Body Glide on in the morning to help with chaffing.

Also Recommended:

  • Flat Kit
  • Hat/Visor
  • Water Bottle for the Bike
  • Bright Towel for Transition
  • Sunscreen
  • Race belt

Totally Optional:

  • Socks
  • Bike Shoes with clip-in pedals
  • Sports Watch
  • Sunglasses
  • Transition Bag
  • Wetsuit

 

 

I Love Rookie Tri Because…

Why do you love Rookie Tri?

What’s better than participating in the Rookie Tri? Participating in the Rookie Tri for free! We love hearing about what the Rookie Tri means to different triathletes. Here’s an opportunity to describe your first Rookie Tri or explain why Rookie Tri should be your first triathlon! Tell us why you love Rookie Tri and you could win one (1) comped 2018 Rookie Tri entry by:

  • love Rookie TriDescribe your first time participating in the Rookie Tri and tell us what you loved about it. Let us know what it is about this triathlon that keeps you coming back.

OR

  • Explaining why you want Rookie Tri to be your first triathlon. Tell us what you’ve heard about Rookie Tri that made you decide this triathlon will be your first one.

All responses must be submitted to the 2018 Rookie Tri Facebook Event. Make sure you tell us you’re going! Be engaging with your responses and have fun with it! Winning response will be chosen and notified at the end of Monday, March 12th.

The 2018 Rookie Tri will be held on Sunday, May 6th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. Event distances include:

Super Sprint Triathlon – 300m swim, 11-mile bike, 2-mile run

Super Sprint Aquabike – 300m swim, 11-mile bike

Relay Super Sprint Triathlon – 2 or 3 person teams split swim, bike, and run.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

4 Ways to Expand Your Triathlon Training

Training for a triathlon might feel a bit overwhelming, but you’re not alone and we’re here to help! Below you’ll find 4 ways to expand your training and make some friends along the way.

Austin Tri Club- Beginner Triathlon Training Group

Austin Tri Club bike ride.

1. Join the Austin Tri Club!

Austin Triathlon Club is an all-volunteer, member-run community of triathletes across the Austin area. Club dues are only $40/year. Yes, you read that right! Member benefits are plentiful and include new triathlete mentoring, club workouts, monthly happy hours, and a welcoming group that’ll help you achieve your goals!

2. Run and Bike with Austin Duathletes

Austin Duathletes is a fun and FREE group with runs and bike rides throughout the year. They have a standing Monday Morning Run at 5:45 with 3 and 5-mile routes, as well as other special events. You can join them on March 24th for a bike ride on Walnut Creek Trail with 20 and 30-mile options. Wheels down from Tamale House on E. 6th Street at 8 a.m. Follow their Facebook page, just show up, or email the Duathlete leader, Panther, to get more involved.

Austin Duathletes Run and Bike Training Group

3. Join The Rookie Tri Facebook Group!

This group is a place for Rookie Participants, Veterans, and those who are just interested in triathlon, to share support, advice, training adventures, and friendship. Join the group to share your stories, pictures, and wisdom!

4. Join Bicycle World on March 24-25th with their beginner triathlon training weekend.

The weekend will include bike and run workouts as well as workshops. Workshops include How to prepare and what to expect on race day for your First Triathlon, General Tips for each swim, bike and run, and basic maintenance of gear. There will also be an in-store guide to gear selection where you can see what you might be missing in your triathlon gear as well as an open Q&A session. 

While triathlon is seen as an individual sport you do not have to train alone. There are groups to join that are both online and in town. Happy Training!

Rookie Triathlete: Part 2: Mock Rookie Tri

Mock Rookie Tri Overall Champ

mock

The Beginning.

I’ll begin this blog by stating that I’ve always respected other athletes and their abilities. After this morning’s mock Rookie Tri I have a newfound respect for swimmers, cyclists, and triathletes. Holy smokes that was an intense way to begin a Friday morning. I don’t feel as bad as I thought I would, but I hurt in places that I didn’t know could hurt like that (aka my ass). I have a stand-up desk at work, and it’s been a back-and-forth battle all day of standing up to not aggravate my cycling “injury” and sitting down to rest my weary body. BUT… I did it.

My morning began with an earlier alarm clock than normal, can’t be late to my mock triathlon! I ate a Clif Bar and Clif Bloks for breakfast. I also weighed myself – 195 lbs. Coach Barny met me at Barton Springs. After running into my *friendly triathlon* arch nemesis (saving his intro for another blog) I become even more pumped to get this mock tri started. It was chilly with some occasional wind; my phone told me it was 46 degrees outside. My bed was much warmer.

So… there’s no motor?!

The swim

As promised, the 300m swim took place in Barton Springs wearing board shorts with running tights underneath. We all know the water temperature (~68 degrees if you don’t know). I’m accustomed to the water because that’s where I relax after my morning runs in the summer. No better way to cool off. Swimming the first 300m of your life on Feb. 1st on the other hand…Yikes. But, I jumped in (yes, I held my nose). The initial shock wore off; I adjusted my goggles to keep stalling, finally started Barny’s swimming watch that I borrowed, then began swimming. Completely unnatural motions for me. I tried to emulate what I’ve seen others perfect, the stroke, breathing in above water, breathing out underwater. It went well for about the first 50m and then I started flailing. Not flailing like I was about to go under, but flailing like I’m only 50m into this, and I’m this exhausted? I kept pushing until I reached a point where I turned on my back. Greatest decision of my life (besides marrying my wife, duh). I was able to regain my composure and calm my breathing. I alternated this method until I reached the 300m mark, nearly ran into the wall at one point! Towards the end, my goggles started fogging, so I need to look into preventing that somehow. I slowly exited the Springs, said some things under my breath while toweling off, and began my ascent to the parking lot where the bed of my truck was Transition. I think Barny and I talked; I just can’t remember what about for the life of me!

This first transition of my mock tri took longer than the second one. I dried off as best I could. Next, I took off my board shorts and put on some running shorts, threw on a shirt and a quarter zip pullover. Half the time spent in transition was trying to get my socks on. I’m finally ready, grab my nuun performance, and load it into a road cruiser that I borrowed from the office. Pro tip, get a helmet before riding. I didn’t get a helmet (I will soon!) and had to ride without one. My course was a safer “course” riding on the roads of Zilker Park, but still, Rookie mistake. Before I took off, I put on my Garmin watch so I could track my time and distance for the bike ride and run.

Giddy up!

The bike

My 11-mile bike ride begins. It’s crazy, how many memories come back to you when you haven’t ridden a bike since you were young (like standing up on the pedals to give your ass a rest). It’s also crazy how those memories immediately went away when I left the Barton Springs parking lot, took a left, and encountered my first hill. A few more choice words and lower gears later and I’m at the top thinking I’m out of my league. But by the final lap (the laps were ~1.25 mi) I felt good about the hill, my approach, and plan for attacking it and using different gears. There’s way more to learn, but much was learned between the first and last laps. My muscles started screaming at me in the last few laps. Passing a good buddy of mine, Paul Terranova, three times while he ran helped distract, and his words of encouragement were indeed needed. Thanks, Paul!

My ride ends at 11 miles on the dot, and I head to transition (aka my truck bed). I hop off the bike, and my legs begin wobbling immediately. I thought I was going down for the count. This foreign feeling had me worried about the run. Barny laughed at me and told me I’d be fine (he was right). I took some more hydration, gathered myself, and began my run.

The run

Two miles is nothing for me. Or so I thought. After swimming 300m and riding for 11 miles, my body felt as though I’d never run before. EVER.

It wasn’t as bad as Uma Thurman in Kill Bill when she wakes up from her coma, but it wasn’t pretty. My motion was different; my stride was off. I was shuffling the first half mile. Then muscle memory kicked in. I climbed the hill (that I just rode several times). My stride began to elongate. I started feeling better. I get back to my truck (aka transition), and I still have .75 miles left. But the loop was 1.25 miles. I thought to myself there’s no way in hell I’m running an extra half mile. Not today. So I ran towards the familiar Greenbelt entrance. Hit a certain point on the Greenbelt and turned around. I finished my mock tri right next to the Zilker water fountain. Just like I’d planned it. By then I was picking up the pace and feeling better about the day, knowing I was so close to the end.

GPS is always right.

After my mock Rookie Tri, I composed myself, checked my body to ensure everything was where it was supposed to be, got out some salted watermelon Clif Bloks (my go-to), and got in my truck. I sat for a few seconds to ensure I could operate a vehicle. It turns out I could. I made my way home, gingerly took a shower, swatted away Napoli, my blue heeler, who wanted to play, and headed to work.

The end. Right? Wrong. Now the training begins! Check out my splits below.

Overall time – 1:34:43

300m swim – 7:16

T1 – 6:00

Bike – 1:01:47 (5:35, 5:39, 5:37, 5:08, 5:23, 6:01, 6:03, 5:56, 5:44, 4:57, 5:44)

T2 – 2:00

2-mile run – 17:40 (9:06, 8:34)

Want to join the fun? Coach Barny (I think that’s what I’ll call him) has a training deal for Rookies (like me) who want to complete the Rookie Tri on May 6th (you HAVE to be a first-timer!). It’ll be a 12-week program for $400 total. That’s a steal and significantly less than what he normally charges. Plus, I need some training partners. Accountability is huge when training. It makes getting out of bed easier. It makes training in general easier. JOIN ME! Hit him up today and tell him you’re a Rookie who wants to #feelthebarn.

Rookie Triathlete: Part 1: A Work in Progress

Hi, my name is William. I’m a Rookie.

What started off as a small idea has now taken on a life of its own. I’m committing to my first triathlon, The Rookie Triathlon on May 6, 2018. My world-class/uber-talented triathlon coach is none other than Paul “Barny” Matthews. I have no tri kit. My only swim gear is a pair of swim goggles. I’ve never swum for an extended period of time. I don’t have a bike, I don’t even have a helmet. I haven’t biked for 15+ minutes since I was a kid 20+ years ago. But I do have all the running stuff I’ll need! There it is, the silver lining.

Paul “Barny” Matthews at 2017 Rookie Tri (credit: Ed Sparks)

Quick background, my name is William Dyson. I’m a runner. I love to be in the water. I can ride a bike. I’m also the Communications Manager for High Five Events and have been so for nearly two years now. I’ve never committed to a triathlon. Until now…

This blog will provide updates on my training progress, my research into the sport, and insight from Barny as to why he’s having me train the way he is. So let’s kick things off! My training starts this Friday, 2/2, at Barton Springs. I will complete (fingers crossed) a mock Rookie Tri (300m swim, 11-mile bike ride, 2-mile run) on Friday, Feb. 2nd, to create a database that I can use for training purposes and compare and contrast my (hopeful) progress (time, weight, measurements, etc). For updates, stay tuned to this blog, follow us on Twitter (@stay_vertical #feelthebarn @paulbarny), and check out Barny’s coaching website!

If it weren’t for my running gear I would have NOTHING needed to compete in a triathlon. So what am I doing about that? I’m leaning on triathletes, asking them questions. I have co-workers who’ve competed in many triathlons, including Kona. They’re helping establish my knowledge base.

Felt Z100

I’ve researched bikes. I’ve been in touch with Josh from Jack & Adam’s Fredericksburg about a Felt Z100 (hope I wrote that correctly). My thinking behind buying a bike as opposed to renting/borrowing one, I’d like to start riding to work to conserve on gas and mileage on my truck. Josh put together a ~$700 package that includes the bike, a helmet, flat kit, tube, and flat pedals (since I won’t get the clip pedals and the bike shoes needed for those pedals (aka more money). I haven’t bought it yet, but I’m leaning towards this route for my introduction.

My total swim gear consists of one pair of swimming goggles. Sounds like I should acquire some more gear before May 6th. When I complete my mock Rookie Tri it’ll be done in running tights and boardshorts. I’ll wear goggles too, but I don’t think I’ll wear a swim cap or any shirt. The forecast calls for chilly temperatures so I might rethink the top part and wear an Under Armour shirt. Full disclosure: I hold my nose when I jump in a body of water.

Like I said, I’m a runner. I have all I’ll need. My only real focus for the two-mile run is speed. I know you can’t make up much time on a short course, but I want to nail the Rookie Tri run course.

My first meeting with Barny took place on Jan. 26th. His father was visiting from Australia, fresh off a blistering time at 3M Half Marathon, and joined the meeting. Gerry’s advice helped establish my base as well. He mentioned triathlon training is just like any other training: make sure you control what you can control. Barny reminded me not to panic (yeah right) because there was a lot of time between now and race day. Focus on getting better, continuing to show progress.

That’s it until next week. I’ll provide a recap a the mock Rookie Tri, show my results, chat about next steps, and provide any other updates. If you’re like me and have never completed a triathlon, I hope this blog gives you the nudge needed to join me on race day. If you want to watch me transition out of the bed of my truck and pedal 11 miles on a cruiser with a helmet that’s a size too small, join us at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 2nd, at Barton Springs!

Four Simple Steps to Clean Your Bike

Sweat, dirt, grime. Over time, these can do serious damage to your bike. Clean your bike between tune-ups to keep all of your moving parts working optimally. This is especially true if you are going for longer rides, are a heavy sweater, or if you ride in the rain.

Clean your bike and it’ll make your next ride feel better while prolonging the life of your bike parts.

Supplies to clean your bike

  • Rag – at least three; two that can get greasy and one to dry off and polish the bike after it is clean
  • Brushes – one soft and a smaller stiff brush for the drivetrain
  • Water Bucket
  • Cleaner – Simple Green is a great general cleaner to use for overall cleaning of the bike
  • Bike Degreaser – get one that’s specific to bikes, not just turpentine
  • Chain Lube – there are a lot of options here and what you want to use may vary. Talk to your local bike shop about what might be best. When in doubt, go for a light, self-cleaning lubricant.

1. Washing the frame

Use a soft cloth or brush to clean the entirety of your bike frame, including the front fork and handlebars. Work from the top down. Finish by scrubbing the chainstays, cranks, and cogs. Let sit for a minute. Then rinse all of the parts in the same order you cleaned them.

2. Cleaning the drive chain

Depending on how often you clean your bike this can get really messy.

Apply degreaser to the chain, cassette, and derailleurs. Let that sit and then scrub with a hard-bristle brush. Run through all of the gears to make sure each section has been covered in degreaser. Rinse thoroughly and then repeat if needed. You should be able to wipe a clean cloth along your chain with little to no residue showing.

3. Let your bike dry completely

Kinda self-explanatory. You can use a clean cloth to wipe down the frame so that water spots don’t show after.

4. Lube the chain

Once your bike is dry it is important to lube your chain. You lube the chain by holding the bottle and steadily dripping it onto the chain while turning the pedals backward. It should not take more than a few drops. Run through all of the gears. You should be able to run your fingers along the chain and have little-to-no residue on your fingers. An over-lubed chain will just attract more dirt.

 

2017 Triathlete Gift Guide

Whether you are buying for someone doing their first tri or their 100th, this gift guide will have your triathlete smiling swim, bike and run.

Remember, it is best to leave items such as shoes, goggles, and bike saddles for the giftee to pick out. If these items are on their top want list, you may opt for a gift card or make sure the items are returnable.

Cycling Trainer

Wahoo KICKR  $1,200

For those looking to go high tech, the Wahoo Kickr is the one to have. It integrates seamlessly with several different mobile apps, including Zwift, and has direct chain integration so you don’t have to worry about wearing out your tires.

 

 

CycleOps Fluid 2 $349

One of the top-selling trainers on the market, The Fluid 2 offers a Fluid resistance unit that provides a quiet and consistent ride as well as progressive resistance and road-like feel.

 

GPS Watch

Garmin Forerunner 735XT  $450

Garmin’s smallest triathlon watch to date, making it possible to double down as an everyday watch. With an optical heart rate sensor and gets about 10–12 hours of real-world GPS-on time per charge, this is the clear winner.

 

 

FitBit Iconic $299

This Bluetooth-connected sport-focused smart-watch features sleep and heart-rate monitoring, and built-in GPS. Quick-change watchbands make it easy to match your style.

 

Helmets

Giro Foray $85

Trickledown technology! The Foray includes many similar key features (two-way fit system, light, slim design) to the fancier Synthe, but at a more affordable price. Includes MIPS technology, available without for $65.

 

 

Bontrager Velocis MIPS Road Helmet $199

Trek’s most innovative helmet to date, for serious riders looking for maximum cooling and an aerodynamic advantage. Features BOA system closure, so finding the perfect fit is easy.

 

For the Person who has Everything

Entry to The Rookie Tri

A great way to put all of their gear to work! The Rookie Tri is great for beginners and seasoned veterans.

 

Entry to Kerrville Triathlon

The Kerrville Triathlon offers sprint, intermediate, and half distance triathlons. This hill country getaway is the perfect gift for the triathlete in your life. Buy an entry for yourself while you are at it and give them the gift of company on course.

Stocking Stuffers

Clif Nut Butter Bars – $1.79 each

Our athletes need fuel, and these yummy bars are perfect for a snack at your desk or out on a long bike ride.

Vibrelli Mini Bike Pump and Repair Kit – $20

It easily switches between Presta and Schrader valves, comes with a mounting bracket, and will inflate tires in a jiffy.

 

Bike Lights – $14 to $100

Lezyne makes great LED bike lights with a range of products for those who just need a little bit before sunrise

to those who find themselves spending hours without sunlight.

 

SPI Belt – $19 to $44

Great accessory for bike and run. Great for carrying your phone and nutrition without bulk or bounce.

 

 

Trigger Point Massage Balls – $7.99 to $24.99

After playing with all of their new toys, triathletes are going to need some good recovery time. These Trigger Point balls are designed to get deep into tissue, aiding recovery and relaxing sore muscles.

6 WINTER OFFSEASON TRAINING TIPS

Tri 101 Classes

The Rookie Tri is hosting a TRI 101 at Bicycle World. Come learn the the ins and outs of transition from pro triathlete and Coach Natasha Van der Merwe with Austin Aquatics Sports Academy, as well as basic bike mechanics.

These clinics are great for beginners, those needed a refresher, and those that want to meet up with like minded people and talk triathlon!

If you plan on taking part in the bike mechanics class, bring your front bike wheel with you. We will do a tire change clinic, C02 provided courtesy of Bicycle World.

Click Here to RSVP to March 28th  TRI 101 Clinic 

Click Here to RSVP to April 18th  TRI 101 Clinic 

We look forward to seeing you there!

6 Steps from Sprint to Olympic and Half Distance Triathlons

You’ve done it! You have completed a triathlon. It was an amazing and unique experience that has you thinking: Now what?

You can always do more sprint triathlons and work on increasing your speed or you can work on your endurance and increase your distance. For those looking to go long, we have 6 steps that will bridge the distance gap and get you to the finish line of your first half distance.

  1. Recovery

When upping the distance, many triathletes increase the number of workouts they do per week. They will add in 1 to 2 extra workouts per discipline. While this is great if your schedule and body allows, many will find that they are scrambling to squeeze something into every break they have and forget about recovery. Recovery does not necessarily mean doing nothing, but it does mean having days where you operate at 30% – 50% volume and intensity. Set your recovery week to be every 3 – 4 weeks. A good option for recovery days are activities like yoga, aqua jogging, or thai chi.

2. Speed

It is not all about adding on the miles. Intervals and speed workouts can be an endurance athlete’s best friend. Start with 10-20 second intervals and work your way up to 4 minute high intensity intervals. Aim for no more than 4 speed workouts per week and make sure to distribute them among the sports.

3. More Swimming

The swim can be a point of worry for many triathletes and more than doubling your swim distance when you more up in distance can be daunting. Make sure that you put in a swim workout at least 2-3 times a week. If you can, make sure to get an open water swim work out at least every other week. Finding a 50-meter pool to swim is a good substitute if you do not have access to open water.

4. BRICK!

Doing brick workouts help simulate the conditions on race day. Bricks can be swim/bike or bike/run. For the most efficient brick training it is best to put as little time between transitioning from the two activities. When going from the bike to the run, it is best to do at least the first part of the run at your race pace goal. Bricks are great way to also mix up your normal workout routine, it is best to get in at least 2 sets of each brick type before race day.

5. Fuel Properly

It is important to fuel properly “on and off the bike.” With the longer distances you will need to take in more nutrition while on the race course. It is important to hone in on what works for you on training days. Don’t go crazy and try different gels all in one long bike or run because if you react badly to one, you won’t know which one. Plan your pace to know approximately how long you will be out and predict your calorie consumptions. Taking in too much can be just as bad as taking in too little. Keep your meals outside of training balanced. Try and use other reward systems besides “junk foods,” such as massage or new training gear, for those long training days or days when you are just tired of training. By eating whole foods and a balanced diet you will be helping your body recover faster.

6. Motivation

Find what your motivation is during training. Some like to set smaller goals that they can accomplish along the way, while others set one large one that they work towards. Is your motivation to have fun with friends? Is it improving your bike pace by 2 mph? Set a finish time goal? Set your “carrot” and then get to it. And have a little fun along the way!

 

We have created to the Texas Tri Series that has events starting in May and Ending in September. These events are spaced so that you can start with a sprint tri, move to olympic and end the season with a half distance in September at The Kerrville Triathlon Festival. Learn more about the series at TexasTriSeries.com.

Looking for more training plans? Check out some of these online resources:

http://bit.ly/2opZsoH

http://bit.ly/2opZwor

http://bit.ly/2oq672c