Picking out the best gifts for a triathlete can be tough. Tri’s are known for being gear-heads—they constantly have their ear to the pavement for the newest and greatest when it comes to equipment, whether it’s a new bike, new running shoes, or new swim gear.
Although these tri gifts aren’t super fancy, like a cool new triathlon watch or a $5,000 road bike, they are timeless. More importantly, they will help your triathlete compete like a boss.
Here are some gift ideas for triathletes:
1. A new pair of goggles. If you Google “swim goggles” you will get about nine billion results. Going through them, and seeing the wide variety of different kinds of goggles for swimmers can make you feel a little bit overwhelmed. Here’s what you need to know about picking the perfect pair for your triathlete: (1) Make sure they are comfortable. Most competitive swimming goggles have rubberized gaskets, which make them easy on the eye socket, which is important when you consider that the goggles are worn for extended periods of time. (2) They should have a good field of vision. Being able to see to the side isn’t so important in the pool, but good side vision is crucial during open water swimming. Go for a wide lens.
2. A kickboard. Although most triathletes have legs of steel, the fitness and endurance they build on the bike and on the trails doesn’t carry over very well when it comes to kicking in the pool. Part of this is poor ankle flexibility, and another is the mistaken assumption that because they can cycle and run fast, that this aerobic capacity will lead to fast kicking. In order to improve your kick in the water, you need to spend the time on the kickboard to improve it. There’s no getting around it—you can’t outlift and outrun a poor kick.
3. An ankle band. Want to really turn up your swim this year? Buy a simple little rubber band and strap it around your ankles when you are swimming. It’s simple, and it is grueling in its effectiveness. Not only will your shoulders get a hell of a workout, but it will force you to achieve better body position in the water, teach you how to master the high elbow catch in your pulling motion, and did we mention how much of a workout your shoulders will get? Not for the feint of heart or for triathletes who have poor pulling technique.
4. A training journal. Triathletes are typically very meticulous when it comes to their training. They have to be—after all, their sport of choice isn’t one, but three different disciplines. Training needs to be scheduled to allow for work to be done on all three over the course of the week. Over the miles on the road and meters in the pool, the triathlete should be writing down and evaluating their training. The benefits of doing so are many: they will feel a surge of motivation from seeing the work they have completed to date. They will be able to better plan their taper, the “hard” weeks, and even their day to day training. And they will be able to share the results of their training with their coach, who can provide feedback and suggestions on how the can improve. And if there is one gift the triathlete truly wants, it’s that—improvement.