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Swimsuit, goggles, shorts, and singlet
Upgrade: Tri Suit
Why: Designed to be worn for all three parts of the race and available as either a one- or two-piece, this suit is made from a quick-drying fabric and features light padding in the shorts to make cycling more comfortable.
Bike and helmet
Upgrade: Road bike
"You don't need to buy an expensive new bike for your first tri; as long as what you have has two wheels, is in good shape, and fits you correctly, it should get the job done," notes Alison Kreideweis, a triathlon coach and cofounder of the Empire Tri Club in New York City. That said, road bikes are much lighter and faster than hybrid or mountain bikes, making both training and racing go more smoothly.
Upgrade: Bike shoes
If you have regular flat pedals on your bike, running shoes will do just fine. But for more power and speed, try anchoring your feet into clipless pedals, which can make your riding more efficient.