If you're in the midst of training for your very first triathlon, you may be concerned not with your ability to swim, bike, or run lengthy distances, but your ability to quickly change your clothes from one stage to the next while remaining as comfortable as possible. Being chafed or constricted by your gear can be distracting and prevent you from achieving your time or mileage goals. Fortunately, the advent of new technologies in the textile world mean you now have more options than ever before. Read on to learn more about some of the factors you'll want to consider when choosing your triathlon wetsuit, biking, and running gear.
What types of swimming suits can allow you to change quickly without losing your stride?
When choosing a wetsuit for an open water swim, you'll want to focus on two main areas -- buoyancy and ease of changing. While your muscles are very helpful when it comes to powering you through the water, their relative density compared to fat or bone makes it harder for you to float. A highly buoyant suit will keep you afloat in the water, making it easier for you to maintain your stride and focus on swimming forward, rather than merely staying afloat.
You'll also want a suit with an easy-to-access zipper or panel that can allow you to strip and change in just a few seconds. Before purchasing your suit, you'll want to perform a few practice runs to make sure it's easy for you to get it on and off -- even with shaky hands and wet fingers. By practicing this step, you'll be sure to be prepared for a quick transition when you're in the midst of the action.
What fabrics will wick moisture away while running and biking?
After you've quickly changed from your wetsuit to your biking gear, you'll want to make sure you've chosen fabrics that will wick your sweat away to avoid chafing. Beginning your run with a rash on your legs or buttocks will put a major strain on your time and could cost you any lead you've developed over the prior two stages.
Most of the best moisture-wicking fabrics are made from synthetics (like polyester) or wool. By having a synthetic base layer closest to your skin, sweat will immediately be whisked away and transferred to a more absorbent middle layer of fabric, where exposure to the air will allow it to dry quickly. This lets your skin remain dry and avoids any chance of chafing without giving you the feeling of a damp bike shirt or pair of shorts.