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6486 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Sep 10, 2011 9:54 PM by EllenMarieOlenska
sw1353 Rookie 1 posts since
Jun 7, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 7, 2011 9:33 AM

Newbie attire for first triathlon?

I will be completing my first sprint triathlon in mid-August (300 yd swim, 14 mi bike and 5k run).  I was wondering what I should wear throughout the competition.  I do not have the money for a wetsuit nor do I want to buy one yet.  I have a onepiece suit that I have been training in.  I know some people do the entire triathlon in a one piece, but chaffing is a problem I will like to avoid.  I was thinking I could wear spandex and a sports bra under my onepiece even if it does look ridiculous.  Then I could take off my onepiece after the swim, or I could just do the entire tri in a sports bra and spandex shorts.  I also thought about just putting spandex over my suit once the swimming is complete, but I would need to wear a sports bra since the onepiece would not support me during the run.  Anything that seems the best option?


Thanks experienced triathletes!

  • lvziggy Amateur 18 posts since
    May 4, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jun 7, 2011 10:57 AM (in response to sw1353)
    Re: Newbie attire for first triathlon?

    I don't know how experienced I am since I've only done one tri so far, but I just wore spandex shorts and a sports bra under my wetsuit.  Those 2 items stayed on me the entire time.  They were under my wetsuit, then for the bike ride I put on a long sleeve shirt and long pants (it was freezing cold!), then for the run I took off the long sleeves and pants and just put on a short sleeved shirt.  It was pretty easy so I plan on doing the same for the next couple of tris I'm planning on doing (although I won't be needing the long sleeves and long pants since it should be much warmer in Sept. than it was in April).

  • IronMakeover Community Moderator 738 posts since
    Jul 7, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jun 9, 2011 8:13 AM (in response to sw1353)
    Re: Newbie attire for first triathlon?

    Hey there,


    You're right -- don't fret about buying a wetsuit. They are fun & cool-looking, but definitely NOT required! The thing is, with triathlon, there is always something you could buy and there will always been an area to improve/work on etc. That's what keeps it fun and interesting long-term.


    All of your ideas listed here will work and I've used many of these combinations. A lot of times you can buy a fitted dri-fit tank and spandex shorts that will work, basically similar to a trisuit, but cheaper.

    I've used:

    - 2-piece sporty swimsuit + tshirt/shorts post swim segment

    - 1-piece swimsuit + sports bra, then add shirt/shorts post swim

    - sports bra, spandex shorts + t-shirt post swim segment

    - 2 piece trisuit whole time

    - wetsuit over trisuit and then peel off


    Try a few things out and think about whether your outfit will chafe, hold tons of water, or is see-through when wet!!!
    I swam with a see-through swimsuit when I was pregnant....


    Happy training,


    Sara Cox Landolt

  • Chocolate Thunder 303 Pro 69 posts since
    Jan 8, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jun 11, 2011 6:05 AM (in response to sw1353)
    Re: Newbie attire for first triathlon?



    Regarding wardrobe: My thoughts and experience revolves around whatever works for you.  By all means, wear your favorites!  I refer to triathlon rule #1: Nothing new on race day. I apologize if I tell you anything you already know, but I want to be thorough.  I wouldn't worry about the wetsuit unless you're swimming in the Bering Sea, or something equally inhospitable in which case you need more than a wetsuit.


    Indeed chafing is a neighborhood nobody wants to be living in.  Quality triathlon shorts and tops are designed to get wet and to dry quickly so they don't make you uncomfortable (chafe) during a race.  The chamois in tri shorts tends to be thinner than your regular bike shorts to facilitate drying and to allow you to run in them without feeling like you have a diaper on.  If you don't have any stuff made by a reputable company, I'm sure the local bike shop can help set you up.  Quality stuff does not have to be the most expensive but consider that it's your butt in those shorts and you don't want to be in that nasty place where you wonder how the shorts that cost $15-$20 extra would feel. I am willing to bet there will be people at your race in all kinds of gear including two-pieces, just bottoms, and the whole trisuit.  My preference is to wear the two-piece, but that’s just me.


    If you're concerned about chafing, I suggest starting to train with and start using something to prevent or ease the chafing like Neosporin, body glide or chamois butter. Those are the three favorites from some of my teammates and friends.  If a little body glide doesn't work, try more.  You can usually slip into a porta-potty before a race and get the more "delicate" areas that you don't want to be seen "lubing up".


    Good luck and let us know how it goes!



  • Julie Ann Hackett Legend 226 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jun 14, 2011 10:56 AM (in response to sw1353)
    Re: Newbie attire for first triathlon?

    I agree you should wear what you train in and what is comfortable for you.  Don't worry about a wet suit until you start doing some longer distance races.  I didn't get one until my second year of doing tris and I typically don't wear one for sprint distance races unless its absolutely freezing.  If I had to pick the one piece of clothing I would recommend, it would be a pair of tri shorts.  I think the last post explained all the advantages.  You could pair that with a sports bra a swim top and do your whole race from swim to run in that outfit.

  • EllenMarieOlenska Amateur 7 posts since
    Apr 14, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Sep 10, 2011 9:54 PM (in response to sw1353)
    Re: Newbie attire for first triathlon?

    I'm sorry, I just read your post, and although I'm too late for you; it is a very good question; so I figure I can throw in my 2 cents for next time, or others who might be interested.  You've already gotten some good advice, so I won't repeat.  I laugh when I think of my first tri - wardrobe foible... I did not know about those nice "tri-belts" (that you attach your # to and just snap on after the swim).  Hopefully you did know about those, if not; I'm sure you do now!

    I did not when I did my first tri, and was proud of myself that I was so savvy I had an outfit I could wear through all 3 events.  It didn't dawn on me until that morning that I wasn't going to be able to pin my # on my top, like I would do for a run, because I had to swim!  So after the swim (can't remember if I had to, or just thought I had to have the # on the back), I could not get the # pinned on my wet, snug-fitting spandex top with my now shaky hands... After much fiddling, I finally just took the top off, no towel around me, nothing.  I don't know if I was glad or insulted that no one, including the men even noticed!  They were all too busy concentrating on their transitions.  Oh - I did pin the # on and put the top back on!.  You've gotten some great advice, so I'll try not to repeat.  Just give you my "most imp advice".

    - I agree with the wetsuit comments.  Unless temperature is an issue (and I wouldn't sign up for anything in the Bering Sea!), I'm not sure the wetsuit would make a huge enough difference in your swim time for that short distance to warrant the hassle (and expense).  I have seen people wear them for sprint events.  One man told me he "wasn't a good swimmer and it improved his time".  I would say for your first time, where your goal is to just do your best, just do it without the wetsuit.  I think you will see that most of the other participants won't be wearing them.


    - Tri shorts - definately best investment.  They are basically biking shorts, with a little less padding, and made to dry quickly; so you don't have that soggy bottom feeling.  And my all means, as stressed above, lube up!  Use any of the aboved mentioned, if you don't want to buy the more pricey chamois butter, in addition to the Neosporin you can use any kind of cream that can be used "down there".  I also like A&D ointment, or the generic version, and I really like the baby "diaper rash" type products, they are made try to keep moisture off of "that area".  There was one brand I really liked, it was a thicker cream, I can't remember the name.  As mentioned above, experiment while training, and don't use something new on race day.  I actually don't notice any improvement with the chamois butter over the diaper rash stuff.  We women have another orifice down there that is sometimes sensitive to certain ingrediants in products, and the baby stuff is made for very sensitive little areas!  So, experiment and buy the smallest size you can the first time!


    - The one piece tri-suits look cool, and I bought one.  However, as a woman; I found it to be a real pain in the butt - literally!.  If you're like me, and pee when you're nervous.... you have to unzip the take down the whole thing, which is a pain; and then pull in up, make sure the inner bra part in in the "right place, put your arms through, etc. etc.  This sounds trivial, but when is wet, and you're trying to hurry, and you're nervous, that inside "bra part" can get twisted and you get frustrated......!  It is so much easier to just pull down your pants!  Especially if you are going to want to "re-lube" as mentioned above.  Or - lets say you have to make an "emergency" pit stop behind a bush or something....pulling down your shorts is much less dangerous than having to pull down your entire suit and pee buck-naked!  Zoot, and I'm sure every other brand; (that brand fits me well so I tend to stick with it - also - you may find one brand's size S fits snug, and another brand fits loosely.  Its not that I wouldn't buy anything else, I just know with that brand I can pull my size off the rack and the fit will be perfect.  Anyway, I was saying; they make tri shorts with coordinating tank tops; so you get the "look" of a one piece, with the benefits of shorts!


    These are all the little things you only learn by trial and error!  Now I have this pricy one-piece tri suit that I NEVER wear for an event because of the above mentioned reasons,  anyone want to buy one!


    Hope your race went well, and you have many more to come!

    What did you end up going with?


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