Your First Triathlon – What to Wear in a Triathlon

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Triathlon Wear

I’m starting to get a fair bit of messages from people saying, “What do I wear “for my first triathlon? The answer doesn’t need to be that you need a super, high-end, very fancy $400 Tri Suit. You don’t need to go and spend a couple hundred dollars on a separate top and a bottom; you don’t need to buy a team kit. Granted, those things are nice, they’ll make you faster, you’ll enjoy them more; you’ll look a lot more study. But you can get away with a heck of a lot less, so what I’ve done here is lined up (whistles) four different options that you can use from most ideal to trim kit to least ideal, but still totally acceptable, trim kit. I’m going to go and get a chair.

Alright, so let’s say theater just starting out in the sport, maybe you’ve got a background of going to the gym, just being generally fit, going for runs, and you’re not looking to spend a ton of money on getting into triathlon. You just want to try the sport. What you can get away with is just a pair of gym shorts and a gym shirt. That’s all that you need. I’ve seen tons of people race triathlons in this get-up. You’re not going to look that silly. Granted, you’re not going to be as fast as you possibly can be, because everything that tassels behind you and flaps in the wind with this and doesn’t suck in your body, it’s going to create more drag in the water, on the bike, and on the run. But you can certainly wear this pair of shorts underneath a wet suit and it’s going to be fine, it’s not going to slow you down at all.

When you get into transition, take off the wet suit, put on the T-shirt, the tight fitting, the better and then, when you hop off the bike and you go for the run, you’re good. You’re already in running gear. So you can stick with that, no money in your pocket. If, however, you’re coming from more of a cycling background, then you have the option of using your cycling kit and that’s perfectly acceptable too. What we’ve got here are my cycling shorts and then a basic cycling jersey. I also see a lot of people using this for one of their first triathlons and this works just a little bit better than the running kit because, in the case of cycling gear, everything’s just a fair bit tighter and more aerodynamic. You’re not going to be battling the wind as much. What I would do is I would certainly wear the cycling shorts underneath your wet suit and you definitely can wear the cycling jersey underneath your wet suit, because that’ll save you having to put on your cycling jersey when you’re wetland you’d be surprised how sticky you are when you’re wet and you’re in a rush, in transition. So this is just the next best option. Now the downside to this is a couple of things.

  1. Number one, the chamois inside the cycling shorts are a fair bit bigger and thicker, so it’s going to impede you’re running a little bit. Also, the sleeves of the cycling jersey, they might chafe you a little bit when you’re tucked into that aero position, or when you’re swimming. So if you want to step up from that, that’s when you start getting into triathlon kit.
  2. The differences between the cycling kit and the triathlon kit are that the shorts have a smaller chamois in them, so it’s easier to run after the bike, and the jersey doesn’t have sleeves in it, so there’s less to rub when you’re in the aero position, less to rub when you’re in the wet suit, fits you really nice and tight so you stay very aero. It typically has zippers in the front that you can zip down and cool yourself off, but it’s not going to zip down so much and then gradually creep down because you might end up getting a penalty if you show a little bit too much skin. That’s a rule that I’m not a big fan of, by the way, love showing skin.
  3. This kit right here, I raced for five seasons. You can get away with this for a really long time. Now, if you want to get really high-end, this beautiful number right here is a Hub compression aerodynamic Tri suit. What has happened over the last few years is truly suit companies have put a lot of science into getting the very most aerodynamic materials, fit, cut, venting, and all kinds of things.
  4. These are getting into$300 or more for a Tri suit. It’s your all-in-one, it’s got your zippers to cool you off, it’s got cooling vents, it’s tight in certain places where you need compression, and you need aerodynamics. It’s looser in others so you can stay nice and cool. It has sleeves so that you don’t have a scoop of a little air pocket in your elbows when you’re cycling. This is about as aerodynamic as it gets. Granted, you don’t need that, but it is the ideal option.
  5. Over the course of a half Iron man, I think you’re set to gain somewhere around 40 seconds to a minute by going with something like this because it is that much more aerodynamic.

Pros and Cons of One-piece Versus Two-piece

One-piece is going to be a little bit more aerodynamic, but you’re not going to be able to cool yourself off nearly as much by showing a lot of skin. Two-piece historically has looked a little bit less nerdy than a united. However, you’re not going to be able to dump a bunch of ice into your jersey and just have it sit there like you can in a one-piece. As I say with all things in triathlon, don’t go and blow your entire bank account in the first season. It is a gradual thing that you need to grow from spending little bits of money, and then a little bit more, and then a little bit more, and a little bit more.

Accumulating all the things that you could possibly spend your money on over the course of years, so there are a bunch of reasons that I ended up deciding to ride this two-wheel chassis to work every single day, two years ago. First one, is it was really nice out one night and I could not imagine sitting in traffic the next morning. Next, is I did the numbers and I was like, “Parking, $185 a month, insurance, $40 a month, “gas, $100 a month, “car repairs, $50 a month, “a few days of parking at $8 a day. We’re talking about $4,000 a year, just to take your car to work and, in my case; it takes me less time to ride my bike to work, especially in the summer. In the summer, it’s about 23 minutes on the nose driving to work, about 35. Why would I do anything but ride a bike? It’s one of the few things in life that is just as fun as an adult as it is when you’re a kid.

That $4,000 a year went towards paying down any car debt that I had. It’s not $4,000 a year; it was almost $8,000 a year that I’m saving. Do you know how many bike parts I can buy for that? You know how many triathlons, I could do? So just the numbers wise, I’m a very numbers guy, I like my numbers, I like seeing numbers help me make decisions, so just by looking at the numbers, I bike to work. Triathlon is expensive.

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