What is your single most essential piece of triathlon training/racing equipment and why?
My training log, of course. It contains my plan for the coming week and results from training efforts in the past. The most important thing to know if you have a destination/goal in mind is the starting point. Secondly, you need a good plan to follow.
—Dan Molloy, 60, Union City, New Jersey
Because there is so much gear involved in a triathlon, I find my race bag to be the one essential element for training and racing. It carries everything from clothing to food to directions to the race site, and keeps me organized (and therefore calm) when it comes time to race!
—Peter Glenshaw, 46, Lyme, New Hampshire
I am studying abroad in Madrid without a bike or indoor pool. Running shoes are my faithful companions. I just put them on and explore new places by running while keeping my fitness intact. Running in new countries is a way for me to rediscover my passion for the sport and remember why I started.
—Mandy M. King, 20, Cibolo, Texas
I am my single most essential piece of triathlon equipment. My arms pull me thru my laps. My legs spin me thru the flats and hills day after day. My legs glide me thru dawn and dusk. My fuel is internal. My goals are my own. I answer only to me. There is no magic, there is just me.
—Deb Wilson, 37, Rutland, Massachusetts
I can swim without goggles, run without shoes and ride any bike with two wheels. But it's my inner voice that keeps me swimming, biking and running safely to the finish. It keeps me going through tough courses and tough weather, convinces me I can do anything for 5 more miles and sings to me during those long training miles!
—Nadia Sullivan, 32, Loveland, Colorado
The most important thing to me in both racing and training is a good partner. They are there to motivate you when your lazy, encourage you to be better and share the misery and glory. Just having a friend on the course makes every race more enjoyable even if you don't see them until the finish line.
—Adam Ales, 29, Seattle, Washington
Coffee. Swim, bike, or run—without it, I'd still be in bed.
—Albert Vaiani IV, 25, Galveston, Texas
My training plan! As a Naval Officer, Husband and Father of four...time is precious. Having a plan increases my productivity by linking objectives to tasks, establishes priorities, cuts down on wasted time by providing focus, allows me to track my goal progression, eliminates fear of failure, and allows me to be efficient...without jeopardizing my precious family time.
—Scott Askins, 44, Prattville, Alabama
You can swim naked and still survive the swim. You can ride a mountain bike and still grunt through the bike. And you can forget your sneakers and still stomp out the run. But one accident while naked, grunting, or stomping, and the only thing that may save you is an ID—your Road ID. Cause you know you didn't fill out the back of that bib.
—Brie Losego, 32, Miami, Florida
My husband. He cheers me on, watches the three kiddos when I go on long runs and rides, picks me up when I'm down, knows how crazy I am about this sport and loves me because of it. All of the other equipment would mean nothing without him.
—Carla Murphy, 36, Flushing, Michigan
Aside from the common gear (bike, running shoes,) the most essential training and racing item in my inventory without a doubt is my refrigerator. Having it stocked with the essential food is a must for performance and recovery and plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy balance in my active lifestyle.
—Brian Yanowski, 33, Kapolei, Hawaii
This article was originally published in USA Triathlon Life magazine. USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the national governing body for triathlon—the fastest growing sport in the world—as well as duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. Visit usatriathlon.org.