Commonwealth Games kit roundup: the gear you need to train like the pros

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games has a roster of 18 sports and 7 para-sports, and a dazzling array of events within each of those. More than 70 teams compete, with athletes from Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa and many more nations and territories descending on the Gold Coast in April. 

You might not be competing, or even have a chance to compete, but that doesn’t mean you can’t emulate the pros. You don’t need a sponsor or a bank account with more zeros than Australia has gold medals to be the best you can.

We’ve distilled that array of sports to focus on three disciplines anyone can pursue: swimming, cycling, and running. Each sport will challenge you in radically different ways, and the tech is alluring and exciting. 

Everything here either shows you your metrics like heart rate, distance and power output so you can train smarter, or simply makes the sport more enjoyable.

Hit the (pool) deck

You’d be surprised by the amount of aids and equipment you can buy for the pool. Don’t let that over complicate your training or enjoyment, though. Freestyle is the default stroke of choice for most swimmers, and we’ve shown off the essentials to get you focussed on the black line and get your form in order. 

Zoggs Predator Flex Polarised Ultra swimming goggles

Cut the glare so you can attack the water

UV Protection: Yes | Polarised: Yes | Anti-fog: Yes | FINA approved: Yes | Goggle pouch: Yes | Strap type: Split

Polarised to reduce glare
Perfect for outdoor use
Nose bridge fixed
Anti fog needs maintenance

Whether you train in a pool or the open water, you need a pair of goggles that fit well and don’t fog up. The Predator Flex line from Zoggs do just that, and the polarised version here has the added benefit of offering a better view underwater, cutting out the glare. A snug fit that adapts to multiple head shapes and sizes is complemented by adjustable straps that lock into place.

Speedo BioFuse training fins

Increase your speed and strength

Material: silicone | One-size-fits-all: no

Solid construction
 Easy to get on and off
Can feel heavy
Not suitable for races

No, you’re not cheating yourself if you train with fins. A good set increases your leg strength while giving your upper body the opportunity to fine-tune your stroke and form. This set by Speedo is the ideal length for the pool, and is stiff throughout the fin itself for ample propulsion. The foot pocket is made from silicone for comfort, wrapping neatly around the back of your heel.

Moov Now Fitness Coach watch

Your silent swim instructor

Battery: CR2032 | Battery life: 100 hours (active), 6 months passive tracking **Bluetooth:** Yes | Weight: 6g | Waterproof: up to 3m

Fantastic battery life
Very reasonably priced
No screen
Strap clasp is so-so

The Moov Now isn’t like other fitness trackers or watches. It relies entirely on your smartphone for a start, and the battery is good for up to six months usage. Weighing a scant 15.1g, this wearable lives on your wrist while the app gives you a post-workout breakdown of your lap time, stroke count and more. It’ll even offer tips for how to improve your form so you can sw smarter the next time you hit the pool.

Read the full Moov Now review

Zoggs Centre snorkel

Breathe easy

Mouthpiece: silicon | Purge valve: yes | Includes nose clip: yes

Easy to use
Adaptable for all caps and goggles
Pool use only
Looks a bit dorky

A swim snorkel differs from a regular, side-mounted piece of apparatus in that it runs straight in front of your nose. With the pipe pointing up to the surface, you have the ability to completely focus on your position in the water, and not on gulping down lungfuls of air – perfect for training. The Zoggs Centre snorkel is compatible with all goggles and swim caps, and the soft mouthpiece makes it extra comfortable for long sets.

FINIS Tempo Swim Trainer Pro clock

A metronome for your arms

Bluetooth: no | Floats: yes | Modes: three | Battery: replaceable

Snug fit
Low-tech design
Small buttons

It looks low-tech, but this simple timer could be the saviour you need to tell you to pick up your tardy pace. The waterproof Tempo swim trainer lives just under your cap, or on the side of your goggle, and emits a beep at a set interval. Think of it like a metronome that ‘ticks’ every time your hand enters the water. Set it to find your natural rhythm, then experiment to increase your pace. The FINIS model is lightweight and unobtrusive, which is what you need so you can focus on your style.

Paul Taylor is chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub SME Leaders Steering Group and and Cybersecurity Partner at KPMG.