Now that Turkey Day is done, we can start working on...taking off the pounds that have been added.
Some of us have been working on them for months.
But seriously, I'm thinking more about gift giving time, a.k.a. Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanza, or Festivus or no holiday at all).
Triathlon can be an expensive sport. Between all the gear, the race registration fees, and travel, it can add up quick.
You don't need to have all the top of the line stuff to compete, but there are some items that definitely make it easier, and in some cases, safer.
I have pretty much everything I need for the sport. That's one of the perks of working in a bicycle shop. I don't have a triathlon bike, and I don't want one, but there are some items that I would like. And as I have, you tend to pick up most of the essentials over the years.
If you, or someone you love, is just getting into the sport, or maybe you are trying to find something for a loved one who is a triathlete...I put together a Christmas list to help you out, and I've tried to keep it on the less expensive side, like under $500. Most items are under $100. I've even divided up into Swim, Bike, Run, and other categories for you. Any questions...just shoot me a comment.
Typically you don't need a lot of equipment for the swim portion of triathlon. But since many gyms are closed due to Covid, athletes may have difficulty working those muscles. If you're lucky, and live in a warm climate, you can swim outdoors. Your swimmer may have everything they need, but items do wear out. So replacements are always appreciated. Here are some suggestions:
- A new swimsuit (not a bikini)
- New Goggles
- A swim buoy, kickboard, or fins (specific for training...don't get scuba fins)
Something new that is pretty cool are mp3 players (ipods) that are waterproof. This can really help take away the monotony of swimming 2000-3000 yards in a pool. Check out www.underwateraudio.com for ideas.
If the gyms are closed, some training equipment would be helpful, specifically:
- Swimming stretch cords
- 2, 5, and 10 lb dumbells or kettlebells
For open water swimming a great item to have is a "safer swimmer" swim buoy. You should not swim alone. I have one of these, and wear it every time I am open water swimming. It does not get in the way, it is brightly colored and it can provide assistance if needed.
Lastly, there are many books and apps with workouts for your swimmer. My favorite is Swim Workouts for Triathletes by Gale Bernhardt and Nick Hanson. This waterproof book is a binder, so it can set up on the side of the pool, for easy viewing. It includes training plans, open water swim workouts, and even "quick workouts" for when you only have a half hour to get your swim in.
This is where things can get pricey quick! But, these items will be very helpful for your triathlete.
- Indoor trainer, specifically a smart trainer (Beware these start around $500, but they are so worth it!)
- a dedicated bicycle computer
- lights (front and rear)
- a rear tail-light radar
- a subscription to an indoor training app, like Zwift, Rouvy or Trainer Road (there are many others)
- a new helmet
- new tires
- a gift card toward a bicycle fit, or a tune-up
This is a category where you can find some great inexpensive stocking stuffers. Nutrition items, spare tubes, CO2 cartridges and water bottles are inexpensive items that triathletes always need.
Running is similar to swimming...you really don't need a lot of "stuff" to go running. But just like with swimming, things wear out, and need to be replaced.
- new running shoes
- new socks
- running clothing (climate specific...winter attire, or summer?)
- Safety items: headlight (for running in the dark), safety vest, even pepper spray!
Here is where I am lumping items that work for all three sports.
- a multisport watch
- Body Glide (anti-chafing products)
- nutrition (gels, drink mixes, etc.)
- new tri suit
- transition bag
- race entry fees
- gym membership
- gift cards to their favorite tri shop (or run or bike shop if there is no tri specific shop--remember to buy local!)
Before you just go randomly buy something...ask them what they need. It may end up not being a surprise, but if you can get them something they really want or need, the gesture will be appreciated. There may be certain items, especially nutrition, that may cause issues with digestion, or they just don't like the product.
Also, there are a lot of different models of products out there. Another reason to ask first. If even they don't know what they want, especially when it comes to some of the tech items (smart bike trainer, multisport watch, cycling computer, etc.), there is a great website called, DC Rainmaker. This guy does very in depth reviews of products tri related. He even has a buyer's guide, and the ability to compare products. Just beware...it is very, very in depth!
Lastly, triathletes often feel bad that they are spending time and money--taking away those things from their family. They even wonder if their family supports their dream. This is one way to show that you do support them.
Lastly, especially in this time of Covid, try to buy local! Many local running stores, cycling shops, and triathlon retailers are still open. They are there to help you find the right gift for your triathlete. They have the knowledge and expertise that the internet doesn't have. And you are supporting your neighbors.
One thing I've discovered, is that in the midst of training, you can really start to doubt yourself, and wonder if all the work is really worth it. You're tired from all the training. You have sacrificed sleep to train, or to help with homework. Words of encouragement are really helpful, maybe even more so than the new latest, greatest tech.
So make sure you hug your triathlete today. Let them know you support them.
Trust me, they appreciate all that you are sacrificing for them to pursue their dream.
A new swimsuit, or cycling shorts to replace the thread bare ones will be appreciated too.