Ironman Triathlon-Run Equipment Choices

´╗┐Ironman Triathlon-Run Equipment Choices

There are several run-equipment choices I feel can help you quite a lot in your quest for your first Ironman Trathlon finisher medal.

SHOES- Of course well fitting shoes are a priority. I’ve tried every sort of shoe you can imagine over the years and have come to this conclusion:

You can train just as well and stay just as injury free in $50 shoes as you can in $150 dollar shoes. For instance, what if an outlet has a brand new 2005 model shoe on sale for $69, and sells the new, improved (same shoe) 2006 model for $149. Does that mean the older model was no good and will hurt your feet? Of course not! In order to stay competetive, manufacturers have to continually make small changes and/or improvements in their product to stay in step with the competition.

The change from one year to the next may just be in the color, or new lacing system or a bit more build-up in some part of the shoe. Sometimes the change is really small.

Just shop around. See whats out there and in your training try several different types of shoes and when you find the one that just feels great, fits perfect, and never gives you blisters no matter how far you run—then that’s your race day shoe. Try and make your choice for a race day shoe the lightest of all your shoes.

Remember: Whatever you do, don’t go out and buy some fancy shoe for Ironman day because it looks really great. Go with the old shoe that got you there. Don’t make any late changes.

I heard this story years ago and have never forgotten it and it’s just a great example of what I’m talking about.

It’s 1960, Rome Olympic Games. An African from Ethiopia shows up for the games. He is running in the marathon. He has no shoes. He didn’t train in shoes. He trained back home by chasing rabbits for miles in his bare feet. A major shoe distributor at the games gave him a brand new pair of shoes to wear. He put them on. They hurt his feet. He took them off. Said “No, thank you”. He ran the marathon in bare feet. Twenty miles were over the cobblestones of Rome.


Now the shoe manufacturer really LOVES him and gives him shoes to train in at home.


This African runner from Ethiopia shows up at the Olympic Games. He is entered in the Marathon again. He is wearing shoes that he trained in at home. They don’t hurt his feet now.


HIs name is Abibe Bikila. The first African to win olympic gold–now they are a dynasty.

The moral of the story is:

If he had worn the shoes for the 1960 Olympics, not only would he have not won gold, he would have trashed his feet. Just imagine the blisters. He wasn’t accustomed to wearing shoes.

If he had not worn shoes in the 1964 Olympics, not only would he have not won gold, he still would have trashed his feet. He wasn’t accustomed to bare feet anymore and his feet would not have the same toughness as the previous olympic games.

So I repeat: Go with the footwear that you’ve done lots of training in. Don’t make any late changes. When I found a pair of racing shoes I just loved, I wore them training until they were nicely broken in. I put those elastic, lock laces on them, so I never had to tie them again and I put them away. I wore them for 5 Ironman races. In that last transition, it was like putting on a favorite pair of slippers. I NEVER had blisters or foot problems. I ran one Ironman marathon in 3:34 in those same shoes.

FUEL BELT-I was so glad to see these come on the market. It used to really bug me to run a long distance in training with a water bottle on my hip. I just seemed out of balance. For that reason, I never bothered taking a water bottle out on an Ironman run course. You should really make a fuel-belt a part of your Ironman run-equipment for training and racing. The belt I prefer holds 6 smaller containers. They are spread out around your waist so you don’t feel out of balance and you hardly know they’re there during your runs. These are a particularly good idea for the Ironman marathon because you can use them for your favorite fuel if its not being supplied on the course. The belt also has reflectors built in for night running.

HEART MONITOR- I really feel that everyone training for an Ironman should make use of a heart monitor. It’s just a really important piece of run-equipment. See my page on training with a heart monitor.

WEAR A CAP- I’m not sure why some Ironman Triathletes don’t wear hats. They provide protection from the sun of course–but more than that–they are ideal for putting cold water in(or ice) at aid stations to keep you cool. On extremely hot days you just HAVE to do everything you can to keep your body cool.

CLOTHING- For training of course, you have to dress for the weather in your part of the world. For race day however there are a few ways you can go.

TRISUITS are a really good idea. You wear the trisuit under your wetsuit and you’re good to go for the other two events. Usually they dry out pretty quickly, but you may be cool in the early portion of the bike ride.

A second option is tri-shorts and a seperate top. The shorts are padded for the bike and like the trisuit, you just wear the shorts and top under your wetsuit.

A third option is just wear a swimsuit under your wetsuit and make a complete change into clean, dry, and warm cycling clothes. Then make another complete change at transition two into running clothes.

In my later races when time was more of a factor for me, I went with the second option. I preferred a seperate top, because I had pockets(similar to a cycling jersey)sewn into the top to hold food. Normally trisuits don’t come with pockets and its not really the type of material you can sew a pocket onto. Also, if I felt like changing into running shorts at the second transition it was a simple operation. Just wear the same top and change shorts.

For your first Ironman the run-equipment you choose can make a big difference in how you perform on the day.

The clothing you choose will make a difference to your comfort level on race day. I would recommend for your first Ironman Triathlon, that you take your time and go with clothing option number three. Just wear a swimsuit under your wetsuit, make a complete change into cycling clothes, and make a complete change into Your favorite running clothes and shoes for the marathon.