May is triathlete month! Are you gearing up for your first triathlon or Ironman? This month we’ll share tips and tricks from our team of expert and everyday athletes, starting with getting in gear. Now that you’ve signed up for the race, what are you supposed to wear? Do you have the right running shoes, shorts or appropriate shirts? In this blog post, Team Amino Vital Athlete and seasoned triathlete, Derek Smith, walks you through how to prep for your big race!
If you’re in need of a good pair of running shoes, my first piece of advice is, don’t go to Foot Locker, Champs, or any corporate chain sneaker store – they’re there to make a sale. In my experience, they’re trying to sell you the most expensive shoe on the shelf. Instead, try a local running shoe store or other small business and tell them your story. You’ll find that most of the employees at the smaller shops run themselves and some are accomplished runners, so they’ll want to hear your story and get you fitted with a proper pair of shoes. They will measure your feet, test your biomechanics on a treadmill and offer you the best selection of shoes that fit your unique needs.
Don’t fret if they give you 5 to 6 pairs to try on. Try ALL of them on! Take your time, get comfortable, walk around the store and run on the treadmill. Make sure you pick the best shoes for your feet to prevent injuries, increase your speed and help your muscle development.
Tip: Believe it or not, a padded heel promotes injuries and deterioration of your knees, ankles, hips and back! We are not supposed to have joint problems from running. We were built to run for miles upon miles. We are not supposed to breakdown.
My advice, go with a 4mm heel shoe. The height of 4mm is the difference between the balls of your feet and the heel. Start with the 4mm and work your way to a minimal shoe. Find your fit and start moving. I personally wear a Kinvara 2 (4mm) and Minimus (0mm.)
There are a lot of good running socks out there. My favorites include Saucony, North Face, and Thorlo (my favorite and strongest recommendation.)
If you are running, any pair of running shorts or shorts in general will suffice. No need to get picky. Just get out and go — there’s no need to look good when you’re out there since you’ll be sweaty and smelly anyway!
For colder temperatures, purchase winter pants and long sleeve shirts. Nike does a great job making these items comfortable and affordable. Tip: Purchase winter gear in the spring and summer, and vice versa (buy spring and summer gear in the winter.) Items are usually on clearance or 50% off in the offseason. Try and save money where you can!
For triathletes, purchase tri shorts. They can be expensive, but it is worth every penny. You use them during all three phases of training or races (hence the name tri shorts). The technology is incredible! The product is made to fit snugly around your physique yet give you the ability to breathe. They even have tri shorts lined with a magnetic alloy to trigger blood flow and increase your muscle output. Just make sure you look at the tag because they do make different ones for male and females. I recommend and use TYR, 2XU and Pearl Izumi (my favorite and most affordable.)
For shirts and tops, sex matters; therefore, if you are a female, you know what sports bra works for you. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with that!
Most sporting companies make good running shirts and tops, so go with the best deal you can find (see previous good tip). I would strongly recommend purchasing a decent amount of running shirts if you are a male because regular shirts cause rashes underneath your armpits and give you nipple burn (anything but that!)
Tri Suits and BIBs
I do not use BIBs but I have heard from friends and read many testimonials that once you start wearing these, you do not want to train in anything else. It is light, comfortable and feels like you are wearing nothing at all. This is for serious triathletes, so if you want to try it, you have been warned.
Tri Suits are very similar to BIBs. They just have more surface area. I wear these primarily for races but do train with them sometimes. Again, this is for serious triathletes and you can get these tailor-made for optimal comfort and support. Both are very expensive (From $90 to $400), but can help during race day.
Wow! Thanks for all the great tips, Derek. You know what time it is…head to the store, get the appropriate gear that’s right for you and get moving!