“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”― John Bingham”—Women’s Running Magazine
“Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement." - Steve Prefontaine”—
“I tell our runners to dive the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality and the last part with your heart."—Coach Mike Fanelli”—Women’s Running Magazine
A sprint triathlon condenses the traditional format to shorter distances of swimming, biking and running. The shorter distance makes the race more accessible for beginning triathletes. The three different racing formats make many new racers wonder what to wear and what to bring. Clothing that is easy to change during the transitions or that you can wear throughout the triathlon work best. Each triathlon committee sets guidelines and restrictions for gear, so first consult the rules.
A wetsuit offers protection from colder water and adds buoyancy to help you during the swim portion. Some races don’t allow wetsuits, so check the rules before renting or buying one. The alternative is a swimming suit that will stay put during the swim. Triathlon suits are specially designed to work for all three spots, eliminating the need to change clothing. The suits resist water, provide slight padding in the back for bike riding and allow you to run without restricting movement.
Swimming goggles are necessary for the first portion of the race to protect your eyes and improve visibility. To avoid vision problems, look for a pair of goggles that do not fog. A swimming cap is another piece of gear for this part of the race. Check in the race information to see if a cap is provided as an identifier.
Your bike and helmet are the two main pieces of equipment necessary for the second portion of the trip. A road bike works best for a triathlon race, but you can use any type, especially if you aren’t worried about being competitive. Test out your own bike before the spring triathlon to make sure it feels comfortable and works well for you. You may have the option of renting a road bike from a local bike shop if you don’t want to buy one just for the race. A pair of bike shoes helps you pedal efficiently because the soles are harder and allow you to push harder on the pedals.
Clothing and socks that whisk away the sweat from your body help keep you dry during the running portion of the sprint triathlon. You also need a pair of shoes designed specifically for running to provide your feet the necessary support. Running shoes come with different levels and type of support, depending on how you run. A running or specialty shoe store can perform a gait analysis to help you find a pair of running shoes that will work for your gait.
Before the sprint triathlon begins, you need to retrieve your bib numbers which you will likely receive for your clothing and bike. After each leg of the race, you head to the transition area where you prepare for the next event. Mark your bike with a colorful piece of fabric, balloon or other object so you can identify it quickly to save time. A bucket of water near your bike allows you to wash the sand off your feet. A bag to hold extra items is also useful in the transition area.