AMR Gears Up: Race Day Essentials: Triathlon

Welcome to a new series on Another Mother Runner: Race Day Essentials.

We've already covered favorite gear for the 5K/10Khalf marathonmarathon; and the ultra.

Today, Jessica Scott, a newer triathlete from York, Pennsylvania who recently completed a sprint triathlon, lays out her gear for us.

"One of the biggest worries in tackling the triathlon is the gear," she says, "If you’re a regular runner, you can get started training with only a few small additions to your usual favorite gear. It can take some trial and error to find what works best for you, but here are some of my race day favorites!"

triathlon gear

SWIM TOP: LAND'S END HIGH NECK TANKINI TOP ($33.97; limited sizes available)

One of the most asked questions I had on my race report was - “Where did you get your tri kit?” Well, it’s not actually a “kit”! I found this Chlorine Resistant High Neck Tankini Top (limited sizes available currently) from Land’s End that was exactly what I needed! It was long enough that it didn’t ride up, and I wore it almost every single training swim and it didn’t fade or lose shape.

triathlon gear


I love my Speedo Vanquisher goggles so much! In fact, when I visited my parents over the summer, they tested them out and both ended up with a pair of their own! I chose the bright pink because - PINK! But also, I wanted the tinted goggles so it wasn’t too bright out in the sun. I love these goggles because they don’t fog up, they are nice and cushioned, and I never have to adjust them.


I paired my tankini top with a pair of Pearl Izumi Select Pursuit Tri shorts (Sizes S-XL, $65) on race day. To avoid “swimming in a diaper” phenomenon, the tri short chamois is really small. (Read: not much in the way of padding.) So, for longer rides that didn’t follow a swim, I opted for Pearl Izumi Sugar Shorts (sizes XS-XXL, $60). I have 3 pairs of bike shorts from different places, and the Pearls are definitely my favorite!

triathlon gear

SPORTS BRA: BROOKS JUNO (($65, Sizes 30C-40E)

Unlike the recent sharing of my BAMR friend, Pam, I was gifted with (too) much in the area of boobage. My go-to sports bra is the Brooks Juno. It’s about as cute as you can find in a D-DD range, dries quickly, and has adjustable straps. I wore it under my top for the swim and had no problems!

TANK TOP: HEART RUN ($12; limited sizes available)

I’m not quite comfortable enough with myself to run around in just a tankini top, so after the swim, I threw on my favorite running top from the Mother Runner store!

triathlon gear

SHOES + SOCKS: NEW BALANCE 880 ($124.99; sizes 5-13) + BALEGA HIDDEN COMFORT ($13; sizes S-XL)

I love my New Balance 880 shoes! I haven’t stepped up to clip-in shoes for cycling yet, so I did the bike portion and the run in my running shoes. You can do a triathlon without the fancy bike shoes! I know women who have completed 70.3 without clipping in! My favorite socks are Balega Hidden Comfort socks. I have 16 pairs in different colors! They are super soft, don’t move around too much, and I don’t get blisters with them.

triathlon gear


Think you need a fancy bike to complete a triathlon? YOU DON’T! There were lots of us cruising on hybrid bikes at my race! My husband completed his first triathlon on a 1993 Rockhopper Mountain Bike. If it has wheels - you can race a triathlon on it. I have upgraded my bike to a road bike, but I did all of my training and my race on the Diamondback (no longer available)  from REI. Truth be told, I chose it based on its color.

triathlon gear


The color is also what attracted me to my hot pink Bontrager Solstice helmet - though I also ended up finding this helmet to be a super comfy style! I later discovered it is actually a “mountain bike” helmet, but it’s worked great for me!

triathlon gearIMPORTANT EXTRAS

  1. A visor (my favorite comes from the Mother Runner store) for the run. I can’t stand the feeling of sunglasses when I’m running, and my head sweats like crazy. This visor shields my eyes, soaks up sweat, and just makes me smile since it’s such a fun color!
  2. Sunglasses for the bike ride! These Goodr sunglasses are awesomely pink and called “Flamingos On a Booze Cruise” - how fun is that?!
  3. AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones for my training runs. They are so lightweight that I often forget I’m wearing them. Plus, since they use bone conduction technology rather than sitting in your ear, you can stay #safeasamotherrunner when you’re working out! Don’t wear them on race day - it’s just another piece of gear to fuss with, and besides most triathlons don’t allow headphones anyway!


One non-traditional race essential is a mantra or a little bit of inspiration. For my recent sprint tri, I chose the AMR Mile Markings tattoos for my reminder! Sometimes I write something on my hand with a Sharpie, or maybe a list of people to think about and pray for on my arms during a longer race. I just like to have a little something that I can glance down at in those moments where I’m feeling a little weak or tired.

What triathlon gear do you love for your training + races?

5 responses to “AMR Gears Up: Race Day Essentials: Triathlon

  1. Great tips! I agree, just figuring out all of the gear is a challenge to beginners. The only thing I will be upgrading next year is my bike. I competed in the Olympic distance this year and got blown away on the cycling part of the race. I still don’t own a tri kit, but I’m looking to buy some speed on the bike 🙂 At one of my races I saw a guy riding one of those old fashion bikes with a huge back tire and a small front tire. I was impressed that he was able to rack that thing and he did quite well on it!

  2. Have been racing in a bathing suit for 38 years…and no socks unless it’s a 70.3 or longer. No one is watching!! Race comfortably and lose the clothes!

  3. I have raced tris for 38 years and most of them have been in a bathing suit. I am doing my 141st one in a couple weeks and will be 66. Do I care what I look like while I am racing? Hell, no. DOn’t look if you don’t like what you see. And really she looks fine in a tankini. You don’t need another layer while you race! (No one is watching!)

  4. Most of my tris require wetsuits and I am too top heavy to get away with just wearing a shelf bra tri top. Instead, I wear my sports bra only (well and tri shorts) under the wetsuit. Then in transition I throw a cycling jersey on over the bra. That way I am wearing something dry AND it is already stocked with those grab & go items I want to make sure I don’t forget – like sunglasses! (not that I don’t have 2 bottles of Nuun in my bike cages and a little bento box full of fuel) I wear the cycling jersey through the bike and run portions of the event.

  5. I have been participating in tris for 38 years and just this last 70.3finally bought a tri bike as I wanted to be competitive in my AG. Years ago you just raced the whole thing in your bathing suits. Guys and gals. Threw on a pair of shoes (NO SOCKS NEEDED- wastes time unless you are doing something over an Oly) and maybe sunglasses and ran. I am doing my 141st tri in a couple weeks and I am seriously thinking about doing the whole thing in my suit as I find all the bulky tri suit stuff gets in the way of my swimming fast. Yes I am 66. Do I care if you look at me as I race in a bathing suit? Not at all…why do women DO this to themselves??? She looks FINE in just a tankini top!

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