If bike equipment is the most complex aspect of triathlon then running would have to be the simplest.
- Shoes, like cycling, includes both training and racing options and given our love affair with trails then you can add trail shoes to the mix
- Training shoes is a specific and personal thing. The shoe has to fit your foot (size, width, arch, neutral, pronation, supination), you (injury risk/history, what you will use them for) and technique. The best place to start is with a Joggers World run DNA test. I recently went through the process and came out with a shoe that fits like a glove
- For racing in the past it was simply a matter of choosing the best pair of light weight runners available, but today if you aren’t wearing a pair of Nike Vaporflys (or a rivals equivalent model) you are potentially giving up 5-10sec/km. Personally I think it is mechanical cheating akin to taking drugs and is tarnishing the sport like the super suits used in swimming many years ago, but while it is legal and everyone else has them, it is worth the investment.
- Trail shoes offer a stiffer sole and toe box to protect your feet. They are more robust and have better grip for running on wet, winter trails
- Socks offer variety in; thickness (thick for support and protection, thin potentially for racing), blister protection, the ability to remove moisture, some even have individual toe pockets. Preventing blisters is by far the most important element, but again talk to the crew at Joggers world and find a pair that suits your need. Having raced a marathon in cotton socks that didn’t cope well with wet feet and an IM where my sock didn’t fit correctly leaving me with no option but to take it off and run no-socks, both of which resulted in massive blisters – I would say finding the best pair of socks is vital
- Shorts, my only preference is that the shorts have to have a pocket that fits the larger car keys that we sometimes have to carry otherwise whatever is on sale should do the job
- A Lakers singlet (get on line and order yours now if you need a new top), cap/visor, and sunnies for warm weather
- If it is cold then for me the keys are cotton gloves and a hat. If it is very cold I might use a long sleeve T-shirt.
- For training a HRM /GPS is vital to monitor what you are doing. With the HR monitors you can get a basic one that just records HR or a more expensive one that records metrics like ground contact time, vertical oscillation, and cadence. These numbers can help explain fatigue or measure changes in technique.
- I have recently purchased a power meter (stryd) for running, which is a nice toy that adds another layer of analysis. So far it seems to be pretty reliable and helps judge pace (performance) if you are running up a hill or into the wind. As well as providing all the metrics listed above it also gives a measure of leg stiffness which is a key performance measure.
- By far the most important investment for triathlon is elastic laces for your race shoes. If you don’t currently use them make sure you have them before your first race. They will save you probably 30-60seconds and as I always say- “do you know how much run training you have to do to knock 30-60seconds off your 5km TT?” Answer A lot!!
Next week we look at triathlon specific gear before you start your first race on October 24.