Essential gear for swim training.
Essential tools for triathlon swim training include:
Consider lens colour and fit. Lens colour is in part a personal preference but for open water swimming, you should also consider UV protection. Quality lens material is also important in order to minimize refraction and distortion but all of the goggles we carry here at Element are good quality goggles in that respect. When it comes to fit, there are no short-cuts to test fit: you have to try them on, for sure. The in store "suction" test is a very good indicator of whether the goggle will give you a comfortable water tight seal in the water. We encourage you to test goggles here in the store but if you are from out of town and unable to visit us for a hands-on goggle test, we're available on the phone and by Skype to see if we can narrow down the choices for you.
2. Pull buoys and Paddles
A pull buoy is an essential tool for a triathlete in that it comes close to duplicating the feeling of buoyancy a wetsuit provides. Plus, some days, your legs are a bit tired from the previous bike and/or run workout and they need a bit of support. But a pull buoy can also be used to help give feedback on body position or allow you to focus on your stroke technique.
As for paddles, you will notice paddles in many different shapes and sizes. Which ones are right for you will depend on what you are trying to achieve. Some paddles are designed to give specific feedback on part of the swim stroke. And most paddles will be bigger than your hand and will result in you being able to grab more water and work on swim specific strength by just increasing the level of resistance for each pull stroke.
3. Neoprene shorts
This is the latest and greatest tool for triathlon swim training. Even better than a pull buoy for duplicating the feeling of wearing a wetsuit, the neoprene short also allows you to continue kicking with your normal kick cadence which a pull buoy doesn't do as well. We currently stock the Zone 3 short in all sizes.
Yes, you should get your own fins. For one thing, many pools use cheap rubber fins that are just adapted from regular snorkel or scuba fins. Typically, the rubber foot bed will cause blistering and they can also have a flex point in the middle of the foot or be too stiff. Fins that are specifically engineered for swim training will often have a shorter, wider and stiffer blade. The shorter blade allows you to maintain your regular kick cadence and the wide, stiff blade allows you to generate extra power and speed.
5. Swim Cap
We recommend silicone swim caps since they are only a little more expensive than latex but they are infinitely more durable. As well, silicone caps won't pull hair uncomfortably like a latex cap can. Plus, for guys that don't like wearing swim caps, get used to it since you'll have to wear them in most races.
6. Chlorine removing shampoo and body wash.
Chlorine damage to hair is irreversible. So, if you love your hair the way it is and/or have long hair, this is a "must" for you. And the chlorine removing body wash will help you avoid perpetually dry skin and that distinctive chlorine smell that will follow you wherever you go.
7. Swim suit
You can't swim naked!! So you might as well wear something fun. Polyester or Polyester/PBT blend swimsuits are the most popular among our customers but chlorine resistant lycra is far better now than it was a decade ago and the extra stretch and recovery of lycra makes these suits remarkably more comfortable. Nylon blends are another option. They will have good colour retention but the fibers aren't quite as durable as polyester suits but they are durable enough to withstand a full season of training. They are in between lycra and polyester in terms of their stretch and retention so they are a step up in comfort over polyester suits. Still, in spite of improvements in nylon and lycra durability, most of you still prefer polyester so that is the bulk of our stock.
8. Mesh Gear Bag
Given all the stuff you'll be hauling to the pool for your workouts, it's handy to have a lightweight mesh bag to store it all. The mesh allows the gear to dry while keeping the pool gear separate from your dry clothes and towels.
Much of the training gear listed here is available at Element although goggles are a very personal choice. For those, it is best to visit the store and try out a variety of goggles for best fit and comfort. But, if you are just replacing your favourite pair, we've listed the more popular sellers on our online store. Shop now!
Call us at 1-780-757-0418 or visit our store.