The Dos' and Dont's of Triathlon Gear
by Darren Round on Aug 23, 2015
If you’re looking at entering your first triathlon, or perhaps you’re even a seasoned contender, you may be wondering what the best choice in clothing is for such an enduring event. There are many options to choose from, and sometimes the choices can be confusing.
To help, we’ve compiled some great tips to help you choose the best outfit to wear during a triathlon.
Before you start looking at purchasing a new outfit, it is important to consider how much money you wish to spend. With this decision comes the fact of whether this is your first triathlon, your fifth one, or if you’re a semi-pro looking at updating your wardrobe.
Depending on how often you think you may be entering triathlon events may determine how much money you want to spend on an outfit. If you’re only going to enter one event every year or two, a one-piece tri-suit may be quite a costly investment.
If you think triathlon’s are something you may just want to dabble with and you’re not sure how long your career will last, if you’re going to invest in any kind of clothing then make it your shorts. Triathlon shorts are similar to bike shorts, as they should be a snug fit but won’t swell up in the water. Most tri shorts these days have many different options, and a basic pair can set you back around $50. Some features include SPF ratings, chlorine resistance, and fabric with cooling features.
In previous years it wasn’t uncommon to see people competing in triathlons with nothing on except their swimmers. Although this looks like it would be the most convenient option, it isn’t necessarily the healthiest. In hot Australian conditions, bare skin from only wearing a swimsuit can result in some pretty bad sunburn, which can be easily avoided by covering up. As well sunburn, you are more likely to have a bad experience with chafing during the biking and running portions of the event.
There are quite a few tri-suits on the market which come in one-piece or two-pieces. They are made for triathlons, can be quite comfortable, and are specifically made to deal with the conditions that you will face in a triathlon. A lot of these suits are quite pricey, but because they are known to be a little rich there’s also the impression that you’re going to be quite an achiever if seen wearing one of these suits.
If you’re serious about being a triathlete, spend the money and get a decent tri-suit. However, if this is your first (and possibly last) triathlon, maybe it is best to wait until you’ve got a couple of triathlons under your belt before looking into purchasing one of these.
It goes without saying that wearing a hat is very important. Not only will it stop the top of your head from getting hot and keep you a bit cooler in the warm conditions, it will also stop sun glare and keep you just that little bit more comfortable throughout the race. A hat can also do wonders in keeping any hair out of your face after the bike race or swim.
Bike shoes are going to be a lot easier to ride in than your standard running shoes, as their harder soles give you a lot more power to pedal. There are a few different shoes on the market, including “clipless” cycling shoes which are attached directly to the bike pedals themselves. This is both convenient and time-saving. For more time saving ideas, look for shoes that have a loop on the back on them to help you slip them on easier during transitions.
If your race permits it, a wetsuit is a great item that will help you to get a faster time in the swimming segment. The wetsuit is of particular importance if you’re racing in cooler conditions. The best wetsuit choice is one that is easy to put on and remove, and there are many choices such as sleeved, sleeveless, short style, or full-length. Be wary of how many zippers a particular suit has, as you do not want to have to waste time zipping up during the event.
The key idea is to keep it simple. Just wear the essentials and purchase the items that you really need. Do not get influenced into purchasing extras that you don’t think you’ll really need. Plan your outfits and your transitions, and have any needed items ready at different checkpoints. Planning is going to save you a lot of stress during the event.