Triathlete in swimsuit

Should I Wear A Wetsuit For My First Triathlon?

If you are just a beginner triathlete, you need not get intimidated by those who do it professionally and have money to spend on their gear. You may find some of them having an outfit that costs a fortune, and some have gears that are worth more than anything you own.

You only need the most comfortable outfit, that will fit you perfectly while you are competing.

For instance, if you are new to the sport most triathletes would tell you to be ready and that wearing a wetsuit will be a smart idea because you will use it for the swim leg competition – and even if it is not a requirement, you can have an advantage most especially if the weather is cold.

A wetsuit will keep you warm, and it will help for buoyancy in the water, a wetsuit helps you to swim faster as well.

Pros And Cons Of Wearing A Swimsuit For Your First Triathlon

Although there are different sizes that you can choose from, there is a wetsuit that may be too constricting for your body size, so it is important to get the right fit and look for the one that is just made to fit your body perfectly. It should be comfortable with every movement and should not hinder you at all.

For experienced triathletes, they may not encounter as many issues compared to those who are just a beginner triathlete. 

There are pros and cons of wearing a wetsuit while you are competing in the triathlon, such as

Pros

  • For Speed. It helps you swim faster, provides buoyancy, making it easier for you to float.
  • Makes you prepared. You should wear it than to go out and compete without them. You will not exert too much effort while in the water, and you can save your energy for the other part of the competition.
  • Gives additional warmth during the race. A wetsuit provides warmth, especially in chilly water. This will help you reserve energy as it does not require you to create heat if you are not wearing a wetsuit.

Cons

  • A wetsuit can sometimes cost a fortune. It is like an investment, most especially if you are to be an enthusiast of triathlon sports. However, if this is just a one-time thing, it is not advisable to buy gear that will cost you a fortune. Find a wetsuit that can give you the advantage while on water but will not cause you to break the bank.
  • It can be uncomfortable to wear. For those who are professionals and have been joining the sports, wearing a wetsuit may be an easy feat for them, while a beginner, may find wearing a wetsuit highly-constricting and can be uncomfortable to a point. 
  • Hard to wear and remove. For those who are not used to taking it on and off, it would surely take time for them to get used to it and can shave off some minutes to their game. However, as with other activities, an athlete can get used to the task depending on how much they train for it. It is the same with wearing and taking off a wetsuit; it takes getting used to.
  • It is only required at a certain water temperature. If you decided at the last minute to go wearing a wetsuit and the water temperature is not ideal for a wetsuit, you may find yourself surprised at the discomfort while doing this part of the race.
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It may also create a feeling of tightness in the chest and can create a feeling of panic if it is worn only on the day of the race.

It would be a smart idea to wear it and make yourself comfortable while wearing it before the day of the triathlon. Let the wetsuit mold to your shape before the day of the race.

7 Tips For Beginner Triathletes

  1. You need not splurge for your first wetsuit. Some shops can rent you a wetsuit so you can have an idea about wearing it first. It is also smart to make sure that you enjoy the sports first before investing in any gear.
  2. Make sure that you know your swim techniques. When you get a wetsuit for yourself, ensure that you can handle the water first, and you will not rely on the wetsuit for speed and buoyancy. Practice your swimming techniques first before getting yourself a wetsuit of your own.
  3. Try it out before the race day. It is a unique sensation when you are already in the water compared to just wearing it outside. It would be wise to try the suit first before the race day. You will also notice your buoyancy and your speed improving, with you wearing a wetsuit. This way, you can gauge what movements, it requires for you to have a better swim.
  4. Do not use your wetsuit when it is hot and toasty outside. Wearing your suit during hot summer days will be a killer. You don’t want to get overheated while practicing your swim techniques.
  5. Wearing your wetsuit and taking it off. You need to practice this one cause it is not easy to slide it on with some materials tearing because of a fingernail. Take the extra care in putting it on and taking it off as it requires careful movement as well.
  6. Care for your wetsuit. If you need to use the pool water for practice, do not make it a habit of using your wetsuit, since chlorine can eat away at your wet suit, making it prone to wear and tear faster. Rinse it well after you take a dip in the pool.
  7. Keep it stored in a cool, dry place. Find a place where no pest can do some damage to your suit, it should also not be kept in a room that is too warm. By making sure that you are taking care of your wetsuit the right way, it ensures you to have another go at it for the next upcoming race.
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One other thing you need to consider is the breathing technique when you are in the water while wearing the wetsuit, you will feel restricted and you don’t need this discomfort on the day of the race. Practice with the wetsuit, and you will not be surprised on the day of the competition.

However, it is not advisable to use your wetsuit for your daily practice cause it will also wear out faster.

After every race, it is advisable to rinse your suit before you attempt to air dry it, and never should you use a blow dryer to dry it out nor leave it in the sun, thinking it will dry out faster. This is also the fastest way to replace your wetsuit with a new one.

What Is A Wetsuit Made Of

Neoprene is the material used in many wetsuits or swimsuits. It makes the wetsuit lightweight, durable, stretchable, and does not absorb much water.

There are different Neoprene wetsuit including:

Nylon-Lined Neoprene

The nylon adds durability to the Neoprene, making it not prone to sun drying, splitting, and cracking. Nylon also makes it easier to get the suit on and off the body and lessens the need for talcum powder.

Air Neoprene

This type of Neoprene gives additional warmth to the suit without the need to double its thickness, thereby it is still lightweight. There is the technology used where tiny air pockets insulate the body of the wearer. This type of Neoprene may cost more compared to the other Neoprene wetsuits.

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Smooth Skin Neoprene

With a rubbery finish that helps in absorbing warmth and keeping it trapped to give extra heat to the wearer. Most cold-water wetsuits have smooth skin in the chest and lower back area that adds warmth to the wetsuit. This type of Neoprene, may not be the most durable cause it is prone to fingernail and toenail tore and ripping incident.

Yamamoto Neoprene

As the name suggests, they make this Neoprene in Japan and have the highest quality of Neoprene available. It is lightweight, flexible, durable, and has the required thermal insulation during cold water swimming. Its stretchability can be up to 450 to 600 percent.

Other Types Of Wetsuit Materials

  • Thermoplastic – This wetsuit is popular in colder climates as it adds warmth, is heat-reflective, and durable.
  • Jersey – Popularly used to line the inside of most wetsuits and preferred by those with sensitive skin. Some jerseys are used to line the outside of wet suits.
  • Spandex – Flexible material that is a substitute for nylon. Spandex is found in the seams of wetsuits, but there are also wetsuits made of spandex alone, although this type of wetsuits is used in warmer climates cause it cannot keep much heat, compared to Neoprene materials.
  • Titanium – This material is combined with Neoprene and is used to strengthen the lining of a Neoprene wetsuit. It can keep the heat very well, and many high-end wetsuit manufacturers prefer this material. We consider titanium wetsuits highly durable, lightweight and have a thinner quality.

Titanium material is favored by many manufacturers because it is lighter than most purely Neoprene made wetsuits.

Nylon – Added to most wetsuits to double its durability, it is also considered a highly popular lining for wetsuits during manufacture. However, it also has its downside, such as lesser flexibility, and can add restrictive feeling to the user while in the water.

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