Wat heb ik nodig voor mijn eerste triatlon?

What do I need for my first triathlon?

Will you start your first triathlon soon? Then you can read in this blog post what you need. You can read about trisuits, wetsuits and sports nutrition. Still questions? Let us know.

The season is coming up, you grab your calendar and plan your first triathlon, for example at the Hellevoet Heroes. So you're really getting started!

In our store and through customer service, we get a lot of questions about starting your first triathlon. What all do I need? Do I need to buy a wetsuit? Can I participate on my regular road bike? What do you recommend for sports nutrition?

In this blog I (Peter from ASW) will give you insight on how to be well prepared at the start. By now I am an experienced triathlete and have been competing at a high level in the Netherlands for several years. But hey, I also once just started without any idea what my first triathlon would be like....

Training and fitness

During your triathlon you will swim, bike and run. And how far you have to do that depends on the different races you can choose from. For example, you can start with a sprint triathlon or others choose to start right away with a half or full distance.

In all cases, it is important that your fitness level is good enough. Start training on time and make sure you can face your chosen triathlon and distances with confidence.

So how good should your fitness be? That answer also depends on the performance you want to achieve and especially the distances you have to cover. Are you an athlete? Don't hesitate, sign up right away for a sprint triathlon (a "short distance race") and just start! However, if you opt for a half or full triathlon (a "long distance race"), then it is not crazy to prepare for at least one year with a solid training schedule.


The most frequently asked question at ASW is "what do I need for my first triathlon?" At ASW, that's a good question too because we have all the supplies you need in our store. Below is a breakdown of what you need, what is good to have and full equipment. Note: Are you starting a half or full distance? Then look especially at what is good to have or even the full equipment, because the distances you have to cover require good to very good equipment.


If you are starting your first triathlon and competing in a short-distance race, a good swimming goggles and a swimsuit or bathing suit. A swim cap is mandatory at races, you usually get it from the organization in your start package.

A good pair of swimming goggles does not leak, gives you sufficient vision when swimming in open water (you also have to navigate) and on sunny days also offers protection against UV light. Good goggles are not expensive and therefore a must-have.

The disadvantage of swimming in your swimming trunks or swimsuit is that in the transition zone you still have to put on running or cycling shorts over your swimwear. Not only do you lose time with that, but it doesn't bike or run well either. A trisuit is therefore actually a must have as well.

Depending on where and when you start, a wetsuit also necessary. Especially in spring and fall, the water can be too cold to start without a wetsuit. In addition, a wetsuit provides buoyancy, which makes it easier to stay afloat, makes you lie straighter in the water and therefore swim faster. This is why many triathletes prefer to swim with a wetsuit.

A wetsuit is a somewhat more expensive purchase, mainly because you also want a good fitting wetsuit of good quality, so you swim well in it and it also lasts a long time. Are you starting your first triathlon to see if it's something for you? Then first rent a wetsuit at ASW

Want to measure your performance during the triathlon? Then a sports watch is highly recommended. That way you can see your time, speed, heart rate and much more for each part. And afterwards you can then review the data, which is always interesting. Choose a special watch that can measure swimming, cycling and running. Don't forget to post your race on Strava afterwards!


After the swim, get on your bike. So you need a bike. Preferably you ride a road bike or if you really want to do it right, a triathlon bike with recumbent handlebars. In any case, make sure your bike is in good condition. The brakes should work properly, your bicycle tires should be good and inflated and your bike should be clean be clean, because a clean bike is a fast bike.

In your first race, however, the bike doesn't matter much yet. You can just do a first short distance on your own bike. Just pedal briskly! Do you already have a road bike? Then you can do very well with it. You can then consider a recumbent handlebars on your road bike, which is especially nice if you start a longer distance and have to cycle a long way. This is because a recumbent handlebar offers comfort and extra speed.

On the bike, you should also put on shoes. If you are riding a road bike or triathlon bike, then of course shoes with click pedals. For a super fast change, you can then invest in special triathlon cycling shoes. You can put them on easier and thus faster, whether or not you jump on your bike. Are you starting your first race on a bike with normal pedals? Then you can also put on your running shoes and ride with them.

Or put on your socks on when cycling is a choice. It makes your change a little slower, but if you like it, you should just do that.

Also, don't forget ahelmet on. It is mandatory at all races. Kind of safe. A good bicycle helmet is sufficient, the better choice is one that is aero.

It is highly recommended to cycle with a cycling glasses or sunglasses. Glasses keep out dirt and insects, and on sunny days you protect your eyes from bright and harmful light. Choose good glasses that fit securely.

Finally, from cycling on, wear a start number strap. Your start number is attached to it. With a start number strap you can quickly put your number on in the transition area. When cycling you wear your number on your back, when running you wear it on your front.

If you are going to run a longer distance, it is also advisable to wear a number on your back. tool kit or multi-tool with you. Also, don't forget a inner tube and tire levers for when you go flat.


The final component has arrived. Your helmet can come off and you change your cycling shoes for running shoes. You keep your sunglasses and start number band on. No socks on yet? Then you can run a short distance barefoot, so your change is super fast again. For a longer distance, you do put on socks now, preferably special running socks.

In general, all running shoes are sufficient for a first triathlon. Eventually, you can then choose increasingly faster shoes, but they should suit your running style. Watch out for injuries.

Do provide your running shoes with Quick laces or elastic laces. That way you don't have to tie your laces, which saves precious time in the changeover. And those laces are not expensive, so really a must have, even for your first triathlon.

Is it super hot when running? Then choose to wear a cap or sun visor wear. This not only keeps the sun out, but a built-in sweatband also keeps sweat out of your eyes. Good thing.

To carry all your gear, you can use a transit bag buy. That is a special backpack with many compartments made especially for your triathlon gear.

Sports Nutrition

During the race, you need to drink and eat. And the longer the race, the more you need to eat and drink. Especially in a long-distance race, it is advisable to make a nutrition plan and try it out beforehand.

During your race, just drinking water is not enough. At the very least, put in your water bottle a tablet with electrolytesso that what you drink is also absorbed by your body. For longer distances you can also take a energy drinks with carbohydrates. Then you can drink on the bike and also get new energy right away.

In the transition zone or during the run you can energy gels take. This way you will get energy and can keep racing. Choose your favorite flavors or type of gels, it's a matter of trying them out. And make a solid plan so you don't get too little or too much in.

Call us!

That's a lot of info! As a beginning triathlete, you may have many questions about entering your first race.

Do you still have questions? Then don't hesitate to just give me (Peter from ASW) a call at 020-261 02 70. I will be happy to answer your questions so you can start your first triathlon with confidence. Are you already an experienced triathlete and still have questions? Then call as well. Within the ASW team we have a lot of experience, so we are sure to have an answer to your question!

I wish you good luck with your preparations.

This is a first blog post in a series for Hellevoet Heroes, a triathlon for inexperienced and experienced triathletes. ASW is a proud sponsor of the race.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.