Triathlon: From a Sprint to the Ironman
The triathlon was invented in the 1970s by the San Diego Track Club as a form of cross-training for marathons and 10K races. Now, it's both an official Olympic event and a popular competition for lay-athletes seeking a challenge. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you'll find excellent Web sources for competition, training, tips and more in the guide below.
Triathletes use competitions to test their hard work and to provide inspiration and landmarks while ... read more »
Triathletes of all levels get excited about their sport, and online news sites draw content from ... read more »
The highly demanding nature of triathlon training makes it an activity that lends itself to ... read more »
Grappling with the gear required of a triathlete can be daunting. There are options for clothing, but all athletes probably will require bike and running shoes, nutrient-dense edible gels, bike tubes, swim caps and goggles, sunglasses, sunscreen, and other body products you didn't know you were missing. You'll find them all on the sites below.
- Free shipping is rare among online triathlon retail outlets. Many have price-matching and 30-day return policies.
- Gear needs are not universal. Not all open-water swimmers need a wetsuit-it depends on race distance and duration, water temperature, athletic experience, etc. First-time triathletes also might opt to skip cycling shoes to cut down on transition time between the biking and running segments of the race. Some sites give shoppers points to consider when making the choice.
- Many sites sell obscure, sport-specific brands; a few also offer products from widely known labels. Typically, shoppers select their sport (swimming, cycling, or running) then narrow choices by apparel or gear needs, and then choose a brand. Some sites also have sections separated for gender-specific wares.
- Buying gear can get expensive and confusing; fortunately, most sites listed below have clearance sections, and some have customer-generated product reviews that can offset costs and help guide purchases.
- If you're truly lost, try this FAQ page from Houston Racing. About halfway down the page you'll find an equipment checklist.
offers product reviews of wares from wetsuits to transition bags. Access the "Instant Coupons" section from the left menu for discounts on shipping and designated products.
provides criteria to consider when determining whether to wear a wetsuit.
offers a price-match guarantee for its products, which include apparel, build kits, bike parts, hydration and nutrition products, race number belts (sometimes provided in registration packs, so find out whether the one you're training for gives one), and lots more. Shipping for orders over $50 costs $6.
sells iPod-compatible, waterproof cases and headphones that allow amphibious audiophiles to listen to their tunes during all segments of the triathlon. Check out their 2007 promo video for two tunes so good you'll keep it open and playing on repeat.
says that it has sold gear to 15,000 athletes in 38 countries since starting in 1992. Scroll down and click on "Nytro Pro Tips" for points to consider both before you buy, and as you care for or upgrade your bike over the years. Nytro also has a low-price guarantee. If you're in the San Diego area, take advantage of any of the three programs that offer travel discounts and other perks to customers who visit Nytro's headquarters to test bikes before they buy.
interviews innovators whose triathlon-specific products have provided athletes with a streamlined alternative to gearing up for three separate sports.
boasts an exhaustive array of product reviews. The site sticks to apparel, includes a clearance section, allows returns within 30 days, and ships orders over $100 for free.
reviews books for all-level cyclists, triathletes and their kids (picture books), and sells calendars and posters, too. The volumes cover training, maintenance, gear, nutrition, and athletes' biographies.
offers deals of the day and tracks top sellers on the right side of the homepage. The site has a price-match policy and, randomly, a section where shoppers can buy Nordic ski gear.
puts the best deals on its homepage. Inventory includes apparel, bike gear, and parts. For a Pacific Northwest race calendar, click "Schedule of Events" at the bottom.
offers free shipping on orders over $50. The selection excludes bikes and focuses on gear and apparel.
asks users to register before perusing classifieds for deeply discounted slightly used gear. First-timers might want to check this out for high-quality, reasonably priced bikes.
organizes items in a dropdown menu that lets in-the-know shoppers quickly access favorite products. Browsers can access bike, swim, run, clearance, apparel, and nutrition by clicking on clearly marked tabs at the top of the homepage.
lets cyclists buy equipment straight from the factory without paying taxes or shipping costs. They can also sign up for a free newsletter. Newbies should probably be physically present when buying their bike so they can try it out. Veterans who choose to use this service and hate their wheels have a month to return their bike for a full refund minus potential restocking fees.
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