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Triathlon Race-Day Essentials

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of stuff that goes into doing triathlons. Luckily, you don't have to rent a storage unit or break the bank to make it to the finish line. Here are the must-haves to ace your race.

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Kevin Steele
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The Basics

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.

Running shoes
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.

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Must-Have Triathlon Gear

Athleta swim top ($54, athleta.com)

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Must-Have Triathlon Gear

MooMotion Stamina Tri shorts ($89, moomotionsports.com)

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Must-Have Triathlon Gear

Craft singlet ($50, craftsports.us)

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Must-Have Triathlon Gear

Zoot Performance Tri race suit ($120, zootsports.com)

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Must-Have Triathlon Gear

Specialized Amira Compact road bike ($1,750, specialized.com for info)

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Must-Have Triathlon Gear

Aqua Sphere K180 goggles ($25, aquasphereswim.com)

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Go-Faster Gadgets

Get more out of your swim, bike, and run workouts with these cutting-edge training tools.

In the pool

The waterproof Neptune MP3 player attaches to your goggle straps and conducts sound through your cheekbones directly into your inner ear, so you get crystal-clear music with every lap. ($160, finisinc.com)

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On the bike

The wireless Garmin Edge 200 one-ups an odometer, tracking your path with a GPS, as well as your time, distance, speed, and calories burned. You can even download other courses to guide you along new terrain. ($130, garmin.com)

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For the run

Find your perfect workout zone with the colorful Puma Fit heart-rate monitor, which also calculates time, calories burned, and more. ($95, puma.com/time)

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2013.

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