What to buy for a triathlon on a budget!

One thing that held me back from doing a triathlon for the longest time was not wanting to drop tons of ca$h for it. Between bike equipment, pool membership, registration fees, the race sure adds up! For my first triathlon, I bought EVERYTHING on a budget, and I wanted to share what exactly you’ll need for the race, nothing more, nothing less 🙂

For each item, I’ll link what I used. Of course, everyone has different preferences so please take my comments and advice with a grain of salt. This is just what worked for ME, and it’s definitely worth experimenting with different products to figure out what fits you 🙂

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  • Training suit
    • I like to buy a size down as they do stretch out considerably during training!
  • Googles
    • Be sure to buy anti-fog goggles! Swimming in open water is already so tough to see, that you do NOT want extra fog to make you swimming in zig zags
  • Swim cap
    • Most races will provide one so you really just need one for training – I used a cap from my lap swimming days at my alma mater 🙂


  • Bike
    • Ironically, this is the one area I don’t have much advice on…I bought a used vintage Ross bike – I DO NOT recommend going this route. A bike is the one item that is very much worth investing in. Even if it means renting a nice road bike for race day, don’t skimp out!
  • Tire levers
    • I prefer plastic as it is less likely to puncture the tube
  • Inner tire tube
    • Check your tire for sizes
  • Bike pump
    • I love this one because it compresses in size and attaches to your bike frame. Another option is compressed CO2 which will save minutes off your time in the unlucky case you get a flat.
  • Saddle bag
    • I like the larger size so I could carry my phone and gels.
  • Wrench
    • Not needed if your tires have quick release handles


  • Sneakers
    • Huge fan of Saucony sneaks!
  • Fuel belt
    • The flip belt is my absolutely favorite. It carries so much and it’s easy to attach your bib on it before-hand for a smooth transition!

Race day

  • Triathlon outfit – these shorts and this top
    • You have a few options here – one-piece tri suit, tri top and bottoms (I opted for this option), adding on a wet suit, the list goes on. The reason I chose for separate the top and bottom was to maximize future use. Realistically, I wouldn’t wear a one-piece again unless for another race, but now I can wear the shorts for a bike ride or the top for a run! I also avoided the wet suit because it was so darn hot and they are pretty expensive.
  • Fuel/gels
    • 3+ hours under the sun = you will need some sort of fuel! I am a fan of gus.
  • Swim ear drops
    • If you’re prone to getting water in your ear like me, this is a MUST. The last you want during a race is water swishing around your head. This was a life saver during the race!
  • Sunscreen
  • Towel


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