Swim:For training I think that you can use just about anything for a swim suit. I purchased a swim suit from K-Mart for 8 dollars, it works quite well. I will be purchasing a Speedo for my 1st race (not that kind of Speedo). The Speedo that I am going to purchase is cut like cycling shorts. Swim goggles are the other piece of equipment that is essential. I have two pairs, one is a pair of TYR's, they are quite disappointing; they fog and they let water in. I only paid 5 dollars for them, so I guess you get what you pay for. The other pair of goggles that I have are Speedo's that are quite old that Steve W. gave me, they work quite well. I also have a water proof wrist watch with a chronograph on it, I need this because I am blind without my glasses and cannot see the clock at the pool.Bike:I once owned a magnificent Trek 5500 OCLV carbon framed bike with Ultegra components. I sold this bike for an engagement ring. Even my wife thinks that this was a dumb move. I now am riding a Lotus circa 1989. It does the job, although it is heavy and needs a lot of attention mechanically. I think that for a beginner into the sport, it is not essential to have a top of the line bike for the 1st season. As long as it is a comfortable bike that is mechanically sound, you should be fine. The other cycling accessory is aerobars, these are quite nice and have helped me increase my speed. As far as peddles, I think that for the 1st year clipless pedals are not where you should be spending money. The cages are fine. (I have clipless, but that's because I had themfrom my old cycling days.) Running:Running is a cheap sport, that is why I love it. Sneakers do not have to be the most expensive in the world, I paid 25 dollars for my last pair of New Balance sneakers, they are still working fine. The one piece of advice that I was given: is to purchase a new pair of shoes the second your knees start hurting from running, I have followed this advice and it seems to work. I also use a heart rate monitor. I use it with every workout, except in the pool. It is a pain in the butt to get used to wearing it, but it is a good way to monitor your exertion throughout your workouts. I have a cheaper monitor that only tells me current heart rate, average heart rate, high and low. I think that this is a good investment. On days that I think that I was slacking on a run or a bike ride, I can check my heart rate average and see whether or not I was.
Swim I have seen many people at the pool using various types of apparatus' and training aides. However, there is only one true piece of equipment you can't do without, the suit. I first started swimming in a pair of Reebok swim trunks but quickly progressed to a pair of TYR Jammers ($25.00). They fit great and can be used throughout all legs of the race. In addition, I use a watch with a split time chronograph to time my laps ($15.00). This is a great piece of equipment because it can track your laps and also because it is a nice push when you see how fast (or slow) you are completing your laps. Bike I have two bikes, a Fuji Ace (Free) and a 2003 Trek 1000 ($550.00). The Fuji Ace I inherited from Steve M. It has some mechanical issues that I doubt will make it much further. The Trek 1000 is a great bike, nice, light, and good components for the money. The way that engineering capabilities have increased over the years have led to even the most basic run of the mill bike having better than average components. I also recently purchased a set of bike shoes ($50.00) and clipless pedals ($60.00). I feel that they really give you an advantage in the rotational physics. In addition, I find that the cages are unsafe and make me feel somewhat claustrophobic and trapped. I did not purchase aero bars as the triathlons I am involved in are hilly with plenty of s-curves and I feel that the use of aero-bars are more effective on long flat terrains. Run At the start of my training I was running on a pair of Adidas running flats and was starting to develop some leg pain. Since then, I switched to a brand new pair of Saucony ($50.00) and they have made all the difference. I also purchased a heart monitor but really bought a cheap one that only gives heart rate and a chronograph. I am not very religious in my use, however, I know that Steve M is and enjoys the benefits. The equipment listed above came to a grand total of approximately $750.00 and I consider it money well spent. If you want to buy more items to assist in training please go right ahead, but at this point in my triathlon career I would consider all the rest