This post is in collaboration with Simply Swim
It’s that time of year where we are planning our summer challenges. From marathons to triathlons, these events don’t just involve needing to train, but they also involve needing to plan logistics and even your kit.
It sounds like it should be simple, doesn’t it? Swimming kit, bike, running shoes, done. But it isn’t, especially for beginners as I found out from my first experience of aquathon. And it was the swimming essentials that I came unstuck on.
Are you swimming in a pool or in open water? If you’re a beginner like me, you probably don’t want to be spending a fortune just yet on a trisuit. If the event is held in a pool, you will be fine in a standard swimming costume, but you’ll probably want to put a sports bra on underneath if you’re female so you are not wasting time changing in transition. In open water, you are likely going to want to look at triathlon wetsuits, especially if you plan to stick with the sport. Wetsuits will keep you warm and help with buoyancy in the water.
I wish I’d got to grips with swimming goggles earlier. I know it sounds obvious, but I didn’t begin swimming with them until one swim before the aquathon. They do make a huge difference to comfort in the water, but it’s important to try them out first so you can work out the best fit and how to prevent them from steaming up. Top tip: I was told to wipe a little water or spit into the goggle lenses to prevent fogging.
There is no getting around it – you have to wear a swimming hat when you swim triathlon so you may as well get used to it in advance. They aren’t the most comfortable things in the world and when you have lots of long hair, the rubber can pull and that horrible hair and elastic band feeling from school comes rushing back. Races will provide you with a cap to wear, so it isn’t essential to own one, but I think it’s worth getting used to. I actually wore two hats when I did my first aquathon, putting my goggles on over my first cap and then using the race cap to keep them extra secure. I also like to put a little talcum powder in mine to make it easier to pull on.
Swimming is thirsty work! Have a drink handy to grab as you come out of the water, or on the poolside, or transition area. I was surprised by how thirsty I felt in the race environment.
I know you will want to be saving time in transition, but if you’re a beginner and not used to it, you don’t want to be shoving your soaking wet feet into your cycling shoes or trainers. Have your towel already laid out to give your feet a quick dry before putting your shoes on to get the worst of the wet off. I also put talcum powder in my socks so I didn’t need to worry quite so much about my feet not being perfectly dry. Some people leave the socks and powder their shoes.
Finally, if you are like me and not a strong or confident swimmer, swimming lessons are the greatest swimming essential that money can buy.
Good luck! Let me know in the comments your essential swimming essentials for triathlon. Looking for anything to add to your kit bag? Give the Simply Swim homepage a visit for a great selection of products.