Triathletes love stuff, and I’m a triathlete. I find that people often want to know what kind of “stuff” I use on a daily basis. As a creature of habit, I find myself using a lot of the same items every day. Whether coaching or training, these items are ones I usually touch multiple times a day, or at the very least, multiple times per week. I’m not saying they’re the “best” on the market. It’s just what I use. They are good and I use them because they’re good. You might be able to find a better deal or something you prefer more, but these are my go-to items. This list is not meant to be a comprehensive buyer's guide, it's just the key things I could think of off the top of my head as I looked around at what I use.
The list isn't in any particular order, so don't read into that at all. I’ve included a link to each product below so that it’s easy for you to take a look. Some of them are Amazon affiliate links because... I have an Amazon affiliate account and figured I might as well use it. Others are simply links to the product website. None of these companies or products sponsor me personally, though ROKA does sponsor our Team Paragon and all our team members (myself included) get 30% off ROKA products.
I should also mention that we do have our Suffer Faster team store running right now until December 10th. Of course I buy and wear this stuff all the time since it’s got the Paragon logo all over it! Anyone is welcome to grab something from the store (even if you’re not on the team) but our team members do get a store credit when they sign up.
I hope you enjoy and maybe this helps you pick up a few things for yourself or the triathlete in your family!
Less than $50
I wear these socks every day. True story. The 7-inch Aspire is my summer and cycling pair. The Zero Show Aspire is what I use for running or when I wear pants during the day (like now). I started purchasing these socks a few years ago when I was getting trench foot from long days coaching in a hot and humid environment. My feet were wet for 8+ hours a day and the bottom of my feet started to rot. As soon as I started wearing Swiftwick socks, my feet dried out and the trench foot went away. Believe it or not, I actually have NEVER raced in our Team Paragon training socks. This probably sounds like heresy to all of my teammates, but it’s true. Don’t get me wrong, I love the paragon socks. They’re super lightweight, look cool, and are wicking. But for racing, I’ve found that the Swiftwick Aspire offer just a bit more support and “weight,” which I like.
Cost: $12-$20 per pair
7’s Link: Single Pair
Zero Link: 3-Pack of Zeros
Perform Better Thera Band
I firmly believe that I’m one of the most injury-prone athletes out there. I’m hyper-flexible and my hips internally rotate something awful. Because of this, it’s a constant battle for me to stay healthy and the Perform Better band is my primary weapon of choice. We made a YouTube video of the basic hip/glute strengthening routine I do because it is quick and works super well. Core and weight lifting are great too, of course, but a quick 3-5 minutes of bands every other day will work wonders for your running stride, as it has for mine.
Link: Pack of Four Mini Band
TriggerPoint Performance Grid Ball
Remember that part where I mentioned how injury-prone I am? I own pretty much all the recovery modalities you can think of: Lacrosse ball, foam rollers, boots, stick, more foam rollers, vibrator gun, and more foam rollers. The TriggerPoint Performance Grid Ball is a favorite though because it’s big enough to roll my quads, IT Band, and hamstrings. But it's also soft enough so that I can lay directly on it without too much pain. I use it especially for my hip flexors (psoas) to just lay flat and press my hips straight into it. Crazy how simple it is, but it works!
Link: TriggerPoint Grid
I bought these this spring in the COVID-era after people kept telling me that there was too much background noise during zoom calls and bike workouts. These headphones are noise-canceling, which I don’t like for exercising outside, but they are great for talking indoors. The only problem? I tend to shout when wearing them since I can’t hear myself as well. They’re super cheap, have a long battery life, and people always say they can hear me crisp and clear even when the fan is going at full blast during a Zwift ride.
Link: They’re on Sale!
Velochampion Premium Multitool
Every time I go on a bike ride, I grab 3 things and stick them in my pocket: my phone, my health insurance card, and this multitool. I rarely have to use it (just like my health insurance) but knowing it’s there is a comfort in itself (also like health insurance). There are hundreds of different multitools out there, but this is the one I bought once upon a time and so it’s the one I use.
Link: Here Ya Go
In 2017, my News Years' resolution was to be a coffee snob. Like many goals in life, sometimes you don’t achieve them right away, but I can say with confidence that I am firmly on my way to achieving this goal! I’ve moved through different variations of making coffee and oddly enough, have settled on the pour-over as my favorite (and cheapest method). The tools I use to make my pour-over are below.
Link: It’s not fancy, but I like the Caribou Daybreak Morning Blend
Link: Any porcelain pour over will do. Don’t forget that you’ll need filters too!
This is how you know I’m a coffee snob. I now differentiate between espresso and coffee. I had the good fortune of receiving an espresso machine as a wedding gift and now make espresso more mornings than I don’t. I’m still trying out different beans but these are the ones I’ve liked the best so far. Note: You can also make coffee with these espresso beans and it’s pretty good coffee!
Kind of like my socks, I decided that in my line of work, I don’t have to buy fancy suits to wear so I can splurge on the small comforts that make my workday much more enjoyable. Enter fancy socks and underwear. The SAXX boxers are my favorite pair for when I’m outside sweating and yelling at kids all day. They’re moisture-wicking and have a little “pocket” that keeps everything nice and cool. They’re also great for hiking, running, and any other outdoor adventure where cotton is your enemy. *Recommended primarily for men*
Link: I like the VIBE
$50-$150 Price Range
Garmin TRi HRM Strap
My coach Kurt says that his autobiography is going to be titled, “30 years and a strap.” I’m only at 15 or so years since I started using heart rate but I still use it every day. The new optical wrist monitors are garbage so I have a couple of these chest straps in my bathroom and I put it on for Every. Single. Workout. I don’t often adjust a workout because of my heart rate but it’s an important part of knowing what’s going on in my body. The more information I can give myself while training (power, pace, heart rate, RPE), the more informed decisions I can make and learn my body better. I usually don’t race with it simply because I don’t like the feeling of being constricted when I’m trying to get every little bit of energy out of my body. Sometimes, I wish I would just because the data would be really interesting, but I haven’t made that jump yet. I know some people prefer the kind that straps around your forearm and those do seem to work really well, but as I said, this is what I have and what I use so this is what's going in the article!
Cost: On sale for $75
Link: Garmin Tri HRM
Summers in Texas are hot. Really hot. Because of that, I often start riding early in the morning when it’s still dark. I used to think this would be unsafe, but with a nice headlight, I’ve come to believe it’s actually safer than riding in the middle of the day. There’s something peaceful about starting a ride before dawn and watching the sun rise from your bicycle deep in the hill country. I like the Cateye because the mounts can be attached in many different ways. I have mine upside down on my tri-bike because of the extender I use and it works perfectly. I also have a helmet mount that I use when mountain biking with a separate handlebar light so that I have two lights when riding trails in the dark. I actually have the 1200 version but it looks like they don't make it anymore so I included the 1100.
Link: Cateye 1100
Garmin Varia Radar
I was less than convinced when I first got the radar but I’ve grown to rely on it heavily (probably much more than I should). The benefit of radar isn’t when you’re in the city and you KNOW lots of cars are around you. The benefit really comes into play when you’re cycling in more remote areas with few cars. It beeps every time something approaches you that’s going much faster than you and it lets you know to move over. It works flawlessly, unless you’re riding with Carlos Torres or Tony Forinash because their speed is too close to that of vehicular traffic.
Link: Garmin Varia (This is the older model that I have)
I’ve always liked cool sunglasses but swore I wouldn’t buy nice ones anymore after I lost a couple of pairs of Oakleys in high school. Until I got a pair of ROKA’s. They are the lightest sunglasses I’ve ever owned with the best coverage. I didn’t know sunglasses could make such a difference until I got these. I literally forget that I’m wearing them when I’m training or coaching outside. I wear the GP for most cycling and racing, the Kona’s for coaching and everyday use, and the Torino’s for when I want to feel like a boss. The transition lenses for the GP's are a recent purchase I made this year and they are SUPER nice for early morning rides since I don’t have to carry two pairs of sunglasses anymore.
Link: Get your ROKA Gear
I wear this helmet every time I ride my bike. It allows me to listen to music without having something in my ears so I can still hear traffic and noises around me. The microphone in the helmet is really good, and when I talk on the phone, people say they can’t hear the wind (which seems crazy to me). I used it the other day during a ride to hop on a family Zoom call. I will say that phone conversations are a little hard for ME to hear sometimes with the bone conduction headphones. Everyone says they can hear me great, but I can’t always hear as well when I have the wind in my ears. The model I have, the Linx, has actually been discontinued but the model below has many of the same features plus some.
Cost: $99 right now!
Link: COROS Helmet
I didn’t think that having a separate GPS device for cycling was really that necessary but I have to admit, I REALLY like having one. I used a watch for many, many years on all my bike workouts but now that I have this, I don’t think I could go back. The biggest factor is that it’s safer. Now, my data, information, and maps, are right in front of me and I don’t have to turn to the side or take my hand off the bars to look at my wrist. The maps feature is a big plus as I often like to venture into unknown places on long bike rides. With this, I can create a course in Strava, sync it to my device, and go find some roads I’ve never ridden before!
Cost: $458.95 (Currently on sale)
Link: Garmin Edge 1030 (Once again, this is the older model. They do have a new Plus version
What is a triathlete without a triathlon watch? I remember when a buddy in high school got an original Garmin. It was a nasty looking rectangular thing that extended from the middle of the back of his hand to halfway to his elbow. I made fun of him mercilessly. 15 years later and I’ve owned my fair share of Garmin devices. I wear this watch every day and track every workout with it unless I’m cycling. Between this and my HR monitor, I’ve got all I need to train hard and keep up with my data. I did start using the music feature on this watch last year and have to admit, I’ve enjoyed being able to do long runs with music and not have to carry my phone. I do keep track of my swims on it as well but don’t worry, I still use the pace clock for all my intervals!
Link: Garmin Forerunner 945
Other Link: The FR 935 is on a big sale now too. I think the main difference is no music.
I would be remiss if I didn’t list this item here. It’s certainly pricey but WOW does it work. I’m a pretty lazy person actually and this gun allows me to lay on the couch while pounding my quads into a state of readiness for their next training session while eating popcorn and watching Lord of the Rings extended edition. Needless to say, I’m pretty recovered by the end of that! Another thing I like is that it’s super travel friendly since it lays flat. The TSA people look at you a bit funny when they pull it out but who cares?