Why Wear A Triathlon Suit?

The triathlon suit is a fairly loose piece of terminology, as it can refer to several different things. It is sometimes known as a tri suit, and is worn during the cycling and running phases of a triathlon; or the name can be used to refer to the wetsuit used by competitors in the swimming portion of a race. It is worth noting that you will need to research your events very carefully, as some of the shorter events do not allow wetsuits for the swim, and in some warmer triathlons you might, in any case, prefer to wear a lighter “swimskin” to keep you cool. Whatever triathlon suit you are referring to, each type has its own specific purpose and also each has certain advantages.

So for example wetsuits are a great way of providing extra buoyancy during the swim, and of course keep you dry underneath whilst allowing you to increase your speed through the water. They are made from neoprene which is great for reducing drag, and you simply wear the tri suit for the rest of the race under it, so you can peel it off after the first leg and get onto the bike. The shorter races do not tend to have as extensive transition areas as the long ironman events, so you can still lose a lot of time if you wear a wetsuit, and it is easier for the rules to discourage people from wearing them at all, since there would be unfair advantages if some wore them and others didn’t. Mainly it is water temperatures though which dictate whether the wetsuit is allowable, whatever the distance.

The triathlon suits used for the cycling and running are made from technical fabrics, designed to wick moisture away from the skin to keep you cool and dry, and also to prevent chafing. There are various ways to dress yourself, from the one-piece triathlon suit, to a pair of tri shorts with a singlet, or you could go for full length cycling bib tights, which reach from the shoulders to the ankles. It is completely down to what you feel most comfortable wearing. A lot of people prefer the two garment solution because for the longer races, it’s far easier and less time-consuming using the bathroom.

However, the one piece does have a few race advantages. It will not start to roll down at the waist as you lean over your bike, and this can make it very much more comfortable. Probably the best way to figure out which is best for you is to try a whole range of different types of clothing, both one piece and two piece, until you find something which is just right. The best idea then is to train in the clothing you are going to do your racing in so there are no nasty surprises on race day.

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