Meg over at Triathlete in Training has her very first sprint tri coming up and asked me to do a blog post about what to wear in a tri.
I did my first triathlons last year, and between my introduction to the sport and my boyfriend’s training for a 70.3, we spent a lot of time on tri websites, in tri stores, etc., researching, examing, trying on and talking to seasoned triathletes.
Anywho, what I learned was that there are a few different options for those of us of the female persuasion. You can go with a tri top (usually a tank top, sleeveless or raceback) or a bikini-type tri top. For bottoms, there are tri shorts of different lengths (I’ve found I prefer the shorter ones) that have a thinner chamois than a standard cycling chamois, plus you can swim and run in them, and they dry quickly. They also make bikini-style tri bottoms. Or, if you’re more of a one piece person, you can get a tri suit, which are definitely pricier, but rival the comfort of a cycling bib and you’re not fussing with anything riding up or down.The first thing I discovered is that true tri clothing is ridiculously expensive. Like a pair of shorts is my total clothing budget for the month. I work for a nonprofit, so I’m not exactly rolling in dough, and even though I know this stuff lasts for a long time, that’s a lot to shell out at once, especially when you are also starting to get things like shoes and pedals and all the random gear that goes along with being a triathlete. We athletes do love our gear, don’t we?
I also learned this stuff runs small. I usually wear a small, and I’m more of a medium in tri clothing. All the manufacturers are a little different. If there is a tri store near you where you can try on a couple different brands, it’s worth the time to figure fits best, and what feels best.
As a side note – don’t wear anything underneath this stuff and use bodyglide where applicable.So, after researching, I decided my best option would be to find something on clearance. Since most tri companies put out a new line every year, with slightly different styling, they clearance the previous year’s merchandise. It takes a little more work than buying straight off the shelf (thank god for the internet) but you can usually, eventually, find a matching kit for half to 2/3s the price of it new. I really like All3Sports, Triathlon Lab, TriSports and really if you just google, there are a lot out there.
Ultimately, I’m glad I made the investment in tri clothes. I knew I would be doing a few – I wanted to make sure I was comfortable, wearing something that would dry quickly and help keep me cool, and while it might sound silly, I wanted to look the part. I knew I would feel uncomfortable the whole time if I looked like it was my first time (or second, or third…). Plus, spending the money on the clothes was somewhat of a commitment to the sport for me.
What is your favorite thing to wear when you’re racing?
Next up – accessories.