Whether it's a shoe you buy over and over again, or a heart rate monitor you can't train without, every triathlete has special gear that they love and use frequently. Here's a look at my favorite multisport tools this year.
Agility Paddles: This is my new favorite swim toy. While not perfect for a beginner triathlete, the ergonomically advanced design of the agility paddles helps teach intermediate to advanced swimmers correct hand position in the water. These paddles have a strapless design, so if you stroke incorrectly they fall off. This promotes an early catch and reminds you to maintain an early vertical forearm position.
Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins: When you put these fins on, you'll immediately notice that they feel much different from standard fins. The offset shape causes you to point your toes and limits your knee bending, while also forcing your leg work on the downkick and increasing ankle flexibility. During a swim drills workout, I'll often combine these fins with a swimming snorkel or paddles.
Sufferfest Indoor Cycling Videos: These videos are pretty low-tech compared to ergo videos and Spinervals videos, but there's just something about old-school style cycling footage set to killer indie rock and techno tunes that makes you want to kick your own butt. During the offseason, I do one Sufferfest workout a week, and that's enough pain cave time to keep my cycling fitness elevated.
CycleOps Sweat Strap: Speaking of indoor cycling, I used to spend my trainer time with towels to guard my bike from oodles of corrosive sweat until my wife bought me a thong. Now, keep your mind outta the gutter, this thong simply attaches to your stem and your seat, and stays out of the way of your knees while doing a fantastic job blocking and absorbing sweat. Just be sure to wash it every now and again.
Minimalist Footwear: Yes, I'm one of those triathletes. From Vibrams to Skoras to racing flats, I've become a bit disillusioned with built-up, bulky shoes and more enamored with strengthening your feet and becoming less reliant on footwear to protect them. While you should use caution and patience if making a switch to minimalist footwear, I'd recommend adding it to your list of training methods to look into for 2013.