When you start thinking about the day of your race you’ll inevitably run into a really big question, “What the heck do I wear?!” Which is understandable, because how often in life do you transition between three drastically different activities in the bat of an eye?
Here’s our suggestions, in order of preference…
A triathlon suit (a.k.a. tri suit)
These kits (to use the industry term) designed specifically for a triathlon. They can be both two piece, a shirt and shorts, or one piece, something kind of like what swimmers wear.
Tri suits are convenient because they are made of smooth fabric and typically pretty tight, which means they won’t create much drag in the water.
They also have a small chamois (butt padding) to make your ride a little more comfortable. The chamois is significantly smaller than cycling shorts, because no one wants to run in a wet diaper.
And tight elastic pockets, great for carrying nutrition, but also once again, won’t catch much water during the swim.
Tri suits are definitely the way to go if you have time to shop.
A swim suit and shirt
You can of course swim, bike and run in your swimsuit. We recommend a tight sport swimsuit, not a “leisure” swim suit. Too much risk for chaffing, and things moving around.
Ladies, a good option for you, if comfortable doing so, is simply a sport swimsuit bottom and sports bra. Both being made for athletics are fit for the job.
If you decide to put a shirt on before the bike or run, make sure you have tried putting it on while you are soaking wet! Anything you have to pull over your head will be incredibly difficult to put on, so maybe opt for a cycling jersey you can zip up.
Whatever you can find and are comfortable with
Lastly, we never want to discourage someone from doing a triathlon simply because they don’t “have the right clothes.”
You cross the finish line the same way whether you are wearing a tri suit or your basketball shorts and cotton t-shirt! The key will be to make sure you practice all three sports in whatever you will race in before race day.
While the right apparel will help you be more comfortable on the day, it’s not a best dressed competition. So just get out there in what you're used to and claim that finish line!
Already done a triathlon? What did you wear for your first one?