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How to Find Gear on a Budget for Your First Triathlon

You finally made the big decision and signed up for a Triathlon! Congratulations!

And then you've realized just how expensive this sport can be. You don't even own a bicycle! Besides, it isn't just one single discipline, you need to train for three (four?) different sports and find the gear for all of them.

Is it really that expensive, or is it possible to find gear on a budget?

As you noticed, triathlon gear can cost a fortune which high end bicycles costing more than a car. But it need not be this way! There is indeed a way to start this amazing adventure without getting into debt!

First of all, forget about the high-end gear. There is no need to invest so much if you don't know how long you are going to stick with Triathlon anyways. On top of that, the truth is that the top gear you can buy only gives you marginal gain on the basic stuff.

In fact, our main recommendation is to start with what you already have! Just make it work for your first Triathlon. It's about finishing it anyways - not making the new world record.

So, we've collected the essential gear you need so that you don't need to stress and bail-out before you even started.


  • Swimsuit: you might already have this in your wardrobe. Beach shorts and bikinis are not ideal as you won’t be able to move as comfortably as you want to. 
  • Swim goggles: this is another piece that you might have already but if you need a new pair, it’s a good idea to try on a few models so that they will fit you and they won’t leak.


  • Bicycle: You will definitely need one, preferably a road bike. However, there's no need to be discouraged if you don't have one. A mountain bike is a perfectly legitimate option to start with. If you don't have one either, a great option is to find a used bicycle from someone you know or through an ad listing site such as gumtree, ebay, or whatever is your most popular local ad listing website.
  • Helmet: this isn't just for your own safety. It's actually required to participate in any triathlon. The variety of available products is huge, but you can get a good and safe one for £20 from an online store like Amazon or Wiggle. Helmets come into sizes, so if you want to try before buying, visit your local bike shop and support their business. Google Maps is a good way to find one.
  • Bicycle shoes: this isn't essential at all. In fact, if this is your first triathlon, we'd recommend you cycle with your running shoes on. Besides, you already have a lot of gear to think about!


  • Running Shoes: this is actually quite important. Running shoes is a thing. Just your average "casual" or "sports" shoes might not actually be ideal for running and cause you blisters and pain. If you're new to running, visit a local running shop. Preferably one that does "gait" analysis and has a treadmill to watch you run. This way, you'll be sure to get the right one.
  • Clothing: you just need a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Make sure you get comfortable running and cycling on them well before your first triathlon. If you need to save money, you can get really low prices online (Amazon or Wiggle), at local discount stores (Lidl) or sports retailers (Decathlon).

So there you have it! That’s how you can find gear for your first triathlon on a budget. :)

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