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Beginner Triathlon

First triathlon-what to wear?

asked over 6 years ago | Report

I am doing the sprint triathlon in chicago at the end of August and am pretty clueless as to what to wear. I do not own a wet-suit, and I am a little hesitant to drop that much money on one. Training wise I have been swimming in a swimsuit and running and biking in tighter shorts, sports-bra and tank top.
Could this work for the race and the transitions? Or should I invest in something else. I have looked a little at the trisuits and trishorts. My question is can you swim in just these without a wet-suit and transition into biking and running?

13 answers

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  • My first tri, I wore a swim suit for the swim (no wetsuit needed for the first, especially for a sprint) and pulled on some long compression shorts for the rest of the race.

    I did not want to buy anything special. It worked great for me. Wear a sports bra under the suit if you are endowed (but find a non-cotton one).

    answered over 6 years ago |Report

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  • Wear what you train in. It's most important that your comfortable in what you wear. The number one rule for race day is - try nothing new.

    With all that said... There was a triathlete in Wisconsin who use to race in cut off jean shorts, and a half-shirt. While it irked most triathletes in their nice new threads, he did amazingly well, and it worked for him!

    Wet-suits aren't necessary, but wow do they help a weak swimmer like me.

    answered over 6 years ago |Report

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  • Oh, and to answer the rest of your question. You can swim in tri shorts and top w/o a wetsuit. They should be tight like a swim suit to reduce drag in the water.

    answered over 6 years ago |Report

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  • Are you swimming in Lake Michigan? Not sure what the temps are like in August, but if you don't want to buy a wet suit, you could always consider renting one for race weekend. I know a lot of bike/tri shops around Madison rent them out...

    I think you can definitely race in the clothes you've been training in...esp. for a sprint tri. Comfort becomes more of a priority for longer distances. Maybe swim in the suit, and pop on some shorts and a tank for the run. Or for more support...you could swim in a dry wick sort of bra with some tri/bike shorts.

    If you wanted to invest in something else...they might have good prices on gear at the race expo. And check out wet suits on Ebay in the off season. Best of luck to you on the race!

    answered over 6 years ago |Report

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  • i used to live in Chicago - if the swim is in lake michigan, definitely rent or borrow a wet suit - you're gonna need it - the water temp never gets much over 55 or 60 and at those temps you are in serious danger of hypothermia if you are in the water for much longer than just a few minutes....

    answered over 6 years ago |Report

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  • If you end up renting a wetsuit, definitely, definitely do a few workouts with it. You should be able to rent one for a week at a time. I find wetsuits restrictive and uncomfortable to swim in (although maybe that's what's to be expected with a rental suit). Also, get some body glide, or put some vaseline in hot spots -- I find the area just under the armpit to be problematic.

    Being a guy, I can't speak to some of your attire, but one thing I found useful is Pearl Izumi makes a tri short which is padded like bike shorts, but the pad is felt instead of chamois, so it's a little more flexible for running, and it dries faster too.

    answered over 6 years ago |Report

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  • Also, consider getting speed laces for your shoes, unless you're good at tying shoes in a post-bike-daze. I've done three sprints and I ran without socks for all three, just to save a little time.

    answered over 6 years ago |Report

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  • I have to agree with Ben on the wetsuit, I did my first Tri which was a sprint, actually when I started training for the tri I was not a good swimmer at all (can you say potential drowning victim?), I swam, and swam, and swam till I got confortable and I could swim! So on the day of the tri I borrowed my friends full wet suit (big mistake) I had never swam in a wet suit other than while SCUBA diving. The restriction of the full arms was so exhausting. I wish I would have swam without one or a sleeveless wetsuit, I was in a small lake and the water was about 70, a bit cold but I would have warmed up.

    answered about 6 years ago |Report

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  • Being that it's your first race ever, first of all, make sure you have fun at the race. Next and like some folks have said, wear what you have been wearing all the time. I'd personally go with the shorts and sports bra because they can do triple duty. Most swim suits are not designed (unless tri specific) to do anything else except swim. Having a comfort issue in a sprint swim is not that big a deal. Having one during the bike or run, could be a big one.

    Good Luck BTW!

    answered almost 6 years ago |Report

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  • Lia,
    You can RENT a wet suit if it will help you in your race and your not planning on doing a ton of tri's. Just a suggestion. Otherwise, that's a good question, I would ask your race director.
    Clem

    answered about 5 years ago |Report

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  • Everybody has posted great info, but I didn't see this mentioned: make sure your race allows the use of wetsuites. I'm doing my first tri in June, and the regs state that they will determine if wetsuits can be used on the day of the tri.

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • For my first triathlon I just swam in my waterproof sports bra and triathlon shorts and then after the swim threw on a running top I already had. It was easy and so comfortable (I can't image biking and swimming in my swimsuit----wedgy!!!:) So that's an idea if you don't want to spend too much money, just purchase some nice tri shorts (they are SO comfy) Sounds like that is kind of what you are use to training in anyway, do the same for race time.
    If you decide you like tri's maybe later you can invest in a wet suit and a tri top.

    Hope this helped!

    answered almost 4 years ago |Report

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