Triathlon Run Equipment
I learned over the years that there are several choices for triathlon run equipment that can make a big difference when it comes to triathlon race day.
Here are a few tips and suggestions that might just help you if you are new to triathlon or perhaps planning on tackling your first Ironman.
Of course well fitting running shoes are a top priority and the number one item in your triathlon run equipment. I’ve tried every sort of shoe you can imagine over the years and have come to this conclusion:
You can train just as well and stay just as injury free in $50 shoes as you can in $150 dollar shoes.
For instance, what if an outlet has a brand new 2009 model shoe on sale for $69, and sells the new, improved (same shoe) 2010 model for $149.
Does that mean the older model will be sub-par and are a poor choice?
Of course not!
In order to stay competitive, manufacturers have to continually make small changes and/or improvements in their product to stay in step with the competition.
The change from one year to the next in a running shoe may just be in the color, or new lacing system or a bit more build-up in some part of the shoe.
Sometimes the change is hardly noticeable.
Just shop around. See whats out there and in your training try several different types of shoe and when you find the one that just feels great, fits perfect, and never gives you blisters no matter how far you run—then that’s your race day runners.
Try and make your choice for race day the lightest of all the running shoes you have piled in your closet.
Some running purists might say that a racing flat is no place for an Ironman Marathon and that you need more foot support.
Screw the foot support.
So called foot support that includes built up heels are responsible for many running injuries. Too much support tends to make runners heel-strikers and therein lies the problem. When you’re picking your running shoes for your triathlon run equipment make sure they fit well and are light as possible.
You really need to have as little weight as possible on your feet so you have a better chance of surviving the death march that the 26.2 miles of an Ironman marathon often becomes.
You will be amazed how quickly one ounce can turn into a ten pound bag of potatoes when you have nothing left in the tank and you just want to lay down on the side of the road and fall asleep and never move again.
Something else to keep in mind. Whatever you do, don’t go out and buy some fancy running shoes at the last minute and wear them in a race you have spent months training for.
Any running shoe you buy should be well broken in before you race in them.
Go with the old shoes that feels right. Don’t make any late changes.
I heard this story years ago and have never forgotten it and it’s a great example of what I’m talking about.
It’s 1960, Rome Olympic Games. An Ethiopia runner shows up for the games. He is entered in the marathon. He has no shoes. He didn’t train in shoes. He trained back home by chasing rabbits for miles through the Savannah in his bare feet.
A major shoe distributor at the games gave him a brand new pair of shoes to wear. He put them on. They hurt his feet. He took them off. Said “No, thank you”.
He ran the marathon in bare feet. Twenty miles of the Olympic Marathon that year were over the cobblestones of Rome.
HE WON THE GOLD MEDAL!!
Now the shoe manufacturer really LOVES him and gives him running shoes to train in at home.
FLASH AHEAD 4 YEARS TO THE NEXT OLYMPIC GAMES
This same runner from Ethiopia shows up at the Olympic Games again. He is entered in the Olympic Marathon again. He is wearing the shoes that were given to him and that he had trained in at home. They don’t hurt his feet now.
HE WON THE GOLD MEDAL! AGAIN!
His name was Abibe Bikila.
The moral of the story is:
If he had worn the shoes for the 1960 Olympics, not only would he have not won gold, he would have trashed his feet. Just imagine the blisters. He wasn’t accustomed to wearing shoes.
It’s something worth taking into consideration if you are thinking about wearing brand running shoes in a triathlon or marathon before breaking them in over several training runs.
It only makes sense to go with the footwear that you’ve done lots of training in for your triathlon run equipment.
When I found a pair of running shoes that felt like a perfect fit, I wore them training until they were nicely broken in. I put a pair of those quick tie elastic laces on them and put them away for race day.
I wore them for 5 Ironman races and never trained in them.
I wore heavier runners with more foot support for training.
In that last Ironman transition from the bike to the run it was like putting on a favorite pair of feather-light slippers.
I never had blisters or foot problems after an Ironman and the running shoes I wore for the Ironman were racing flats.
I ran one Ironman marathon in 3:34 in those same shoes. I was over 40 at the time and an age-grouper.
I was so glad to see these come on the market. The fuel belt was a great addition to triathlon run equipment. It used to really bug me to run a long distance in training with a water bottle on my hip. I just seemed out of balance.
For that same reason, I never bothered taking a water bottle out on an Ironman run course in the days before the fuel belt came on the market. Instead I relied on the aid stations.
You should really make a fuel-belt a part of your run equipment for training and racing. The belt I prefer holds 6 smaller containers.
They are spread out around your waist so you don’t feel out of balance and you hardly know they’re there during your runs.
These are a particularly good idea for the Ironman marathon because you can use them for your favorite electrolyte drink in the event its not being supplied at the run course aid stations.
The fuel belt I used also has reflectors built in for night running.
I really feel that anyone training for endurance events like a half-ironman, Ironman triathlon or a marathon should make use of a heart monitor.
I discovered through trial and error that a heart-rate monitor training program teaches your body to burn fat for fuel instead of glycogen.
The reason people hit the mystical wall in an endurance event and run completely out of energy is because they have used up all their glycogen stores before reaching the finish line.
We have enough fat for fuel to last hours and hours and once you train your body to burn fat by using a heart-monitor you won’t hit the wall, but will keep right on going.
It works like a charm, but you have to stick with it in training in order to realize the benefits of wearing a heart-rate monitor.
Visit the page on our Ironstruck site about heart monitor training and find out how using a heart-rate monitor can help you burn fat for fuel and prevent the sudden loss of energy “bonking” that so many marathoners and triathletes deal with time after time without realizing why.
WEAR A CAP
I’m not sure why some Ironman Triathletes don’t wear hats. They provide protection from the sun of course–but more than that–they are ideal for putting cold water in(or ice) at aid stations to keep you cool.
On extremely hot days you should do everything you can to keep your body cool.
Like any other running gear it’s best to get used to wearing a hat while training and then it will feel more natural on race day.
I realize that many people never wear hats but it just makes sense especially if the triathlon you are in takes place on a hot, sunny day.
For training of course, you have to dress for the weather in your part of the world. For race day however there are a few ways you can go.
Tri-suits are an excellent addition to your triathlon run equipment especially if you want to spend as little time changing clothes in transition as possible.
Just wear the tri-suit under your wetsuit and you’re good to go for the other two events.
Usually they dry out pretty quickly, but depending on the race venue you may be cool in the early portion of the bike ride and this is where arm-warmers might come in handy.
A second option is tri-shorts and a separate top. The shorts are padded for the bike and like the tri-suit, you just wear the shorts and top under your wetsuit.
A third option is just wear a swimsuit under your wetsuit and make a complete change into clean, dry, and warm cycling clothes. Then make another complete change at the bike/run transition into running clothes.
In my later races when time was more of a factor for me, I went with the second option. I preferred a separate top, because I had pockets(similar to a cycling jersey)sewn into the top to hold food.
Normally tri-suits don’t come with pockets and its not really the type of material you can sew a pocket onto.
Also, if I felt like changing into running shorts at the second transition it was a simple operation. Just wear the same top and change shorts.
The clothing you choose will make a difference to your comfort level on race day. I would recommend for your first Ironman Triathlon, that you take your time and go with clothing option number three.
Just wear a swimsuit under your wetsuit, make a complete change into cycling clothes, and make a complete change into Your favorite running clothes and shoes for the marathon.
You might find that taking the time to make a complete change at both transitions will be much more comfortable especially if your finish time is not a major concern.
However if someone were trying to get their best time possible in order to qualify for Kona, then I would suggest the tri-suit option as part of your triathlon run equipment because it is by far the fastest choice when it comes to transitions.
There will be those days when time for training is at a premium. Although treadmills can cost a bit they can be an essential part of your triathlon run equipment if training time is at a premium.
If you only have an hour to devote to running in the morning for example, you can pretty well roll out of bed and be running just minutes later without having to worry about dressing for the weather if you have a treadmill.
If you want to be an Ironman or compete in that 10k or marathon coming up but happen to live somewhere that is not all the best for running a treadmill might just be the answer for you.
Perhaps you have other obstacles and time commitments that prevent you from getting outside to train as often as you would like. If it’s affordable for you, get yourself a treadmill and park it somewhere in your house(perhaps in front of the T.V.) and start training for the big race.
Don’t feel you have to forget your triathlon goals and dreams because you can’t get outside to run as often as you would like.
You should still get outside to run when possible as there is a difference between tread-mills and actually running outside.
Often you will hear people say “it sure feels harder to run outside than it does on my treadmill.”
Treadmills are a machine that do part of the work for you and it’s best to strike a balance between the two ways of running as opposed to doing all your running on a treadmill.
Any way you look at it, a treadmill can be a great time-saver and will certainly help your over-all conditioning and is a much better option than not running at all.
Hopefully this article on triathlon run equipment had given you a few pointers that will help out in your next race.
If you liked this article you might enjoy this one on TREADMILL TRAINING.
Have a look at these three TREADMILL TRAINING workouts.