With the HITS Napa Triathlon coming up in less than two weeks, it’s time to start thinking about race-day prep. Spoiler alert: It’s a little more complicated than my usual running events, which require little more than shoes, shorts and a good sports bra.
So in anticipation of the big day, I wanted to share a few of my favorite gadgets and pieces of gear that I’ve been relying on throughout training. I’ve broken them down into two categories — ‘essentials,’ or the bare minimum needed to get in the pool, and ‘extras,’ which make workouts in the water a lot more enjoyable.
– Cap: The best 10 bucks I’ve spent toward swim gear was my Speedo silicone cap, which is much gentler on hair than the traditional latex versions
– Suit: As I mentioned before, it took me some time to find a suit that felt comfortable and had a flattering enough fit. Enter the Athleta Dive In Medley Tankini, which stays put lap after lap (and is also currently on clearance!)
– Goggles: Another training non-negotiable; be prepared to try a number of brands, sizes and styles to find the best fit for your head size and face shape. I’m partial to the Speedo Women’s Vanquisher Mirrored Goggle, which has a low-profile, inner-eye fit
– Watch: I’d argue that the Sportcount Lap Counter & Timer (LCT) is also an essential item. If you’re anything like me, you might still be able to get your swim on without it…but you’ll totally lose count of your laps mid-workout
– Wetsuit: Since the water temperature ranges from about 54-59° in Lake Berryessa this time of year, a wetsuit is recommended. I got a great deal on the Xterra Vortex Fullsuit Wetsuit, and so far it’s worked well on my (limited) open-water swims
– Accessories: In the pool, I’ll switch things up every now and then by using a kickboard to work on kick technique or a pull buoy to focus on my upper body. On my wish list, though? A pair of swim paddles, which help improve your stroke without putting extra stress on shoulders
– Personal Care: I’ve written before about my affinity for the TriSwim line of products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion), which I love for reversing the effects of chlorine on skin and hair. But I also love Foggies anti-fog cleaning wipes for keeping goggles clean, and my trusty pair of Old Navy flip flops for protecting feet in locker rooms and on pool decks
– Open-Water: You can never have enough large towels after an open-water swim — not only for drying off, but also as a changing curtain or car seat protector. Another great tip? Take a cue from surfers, and fill an empty laundry detergent jug with water for rinsing sand, dirt and other grime off feet post-swim