For the last couple weeks, I’ve been linking up with Cynthia at You Signed Up for What for Tri Talk Tuesday. This week, the theme is What to Wear. This is an interesting topic, and I think a huge struggle for many triathletes-new and experienced. Also, I think there are several “right” answers for what to wear. So because of that, I’ll simply explain what I wear and why it works for me. Maybe that will help you decide what you should wear for your races. If there’s one piece of advise I can give to any triathlete though-short or long course, it would be to practice what you’re wearing for your race DURING your training. Training isn’t just about getting your body physically ready for the race. It’s also a trial and error time to figure out what nutrition you need for the race, and what clothing/gear works best for you. Lastly, I am a long course triathlete which may change what I wear as compared to a sprint triathlete.
To go in the appropriate order, we’ll start with the swim. I prefer to wear my tri kit for the whole race-starting with the swim. Some people change throughout and that’s fine, but it’s just easier for me not to change. If the water is “wet-suit legal”, meaning the temperature is cool enough, I will wear a wetsuit over top my tri kit. It is totally worth it! If it’s warm out, I’ll wear my sleeveless suit, but I’ll never go without unless I’m not allowed to.You might notice a sliver of white underneath my race swim cap. Yes, I am a rare breed, and I prefer to wear TWO swim caps. Part of my reason behind this is I have a lot of hair, so that helps hold it all in. Second is my head gets cold in the water, so two caps helps with more insulation. Lastly, and most importantly, in a rough swim, your goggles can easily get knocked off my someone kicking you. By having my goggles place over top my first cap, and then putting my race cap over the goggles, it ensures their security. Actually, in the race pictured here, I was kicked hard right in the goggles and they didn’t budge!
Ok, on to the bike. I mentioned I like to wear my kit throughout the whole race. I also prefer to wear the same kit for each race. It is a pair of Hammer Nutrition tri shorts and tri top. Some athletes like to wear a tri suit (essentially a one-piece short and top). I own one, and like it for training, but it is incredibly annoying if I have to go to the bathroom, or re-apply chamois creme, so I stick to the two piece. Also, on the bike, I wear tri shoes that don’t require socks. I find this helpful because there is nothing more annoying that trying to put on socks while your feet are freezing and wet (and possibly sandy)!
Lastly, the run. I DO wear socks on the run. I’ve tried triathlon running shoes that are supposed to be “sockless”, but I can’t handle them. My feet will blister without socks while I’m running, so I put them on in transition. It doesn’t take too long though because by this time, my feet are pretty dry, so I just slip them on and then pull on my tri shoes. Ah, the shoes. I wear triathlon running shoes with essentially bungee cord laces. This makes it so I can literally pull on my shoes while standing, and immediately leave for the run. No adjustment required. I strongly recommend these-very helpful in making a quick transition.The last two essential pieces of “clothing” for my run are a visor (learned that the hard way!), and a fuel belt. Again, I’m a long course triathlete, so I need a good amount of nutrition during the run. Also, I prefer to have my own nutrition drink/fuel that I’ve used throughout my training-this just makes for a smoother, less stressful run. If I get thirst or start to bonk, I don’t want the stress of having to wait for an aid station to show up. That’s just me though. Some people prefer not to carry the extra weight, and that’s perfectly fine. Again, do whatever works for you!
Do you have any weird quirks for what you wear (or don’t wear) for your triathlons? I’d love to hear your comments!