June 24, 2011
Question of the Week: “I’m training to do my first short distance triathlon—since I’m just sampling the event, I don’t want to invest in expensive, specialized tri gear. How do I pull together an outfit that can stay with me through the whole event?”
If you’re trying out the triathlon but not sure if you’ll love or hate it, it’s smart to start with a short event like the sprint distance, and strategize how to pull together the right gear that will support your success without putting a nasty hole in your bank account.
What are the non-negotiable basics that your outfit needs to deliver? In addition to a quick-drying swimsuit for the first leg, you need to prevent thigh/bottom chafing during the bike portion, and tame breast bounce during the final running leg.
Here are three can’t-miss strategies to get you through the whole event with a minimum of transition time:
1. Support your girls. If you’re an A/B cup, you may be able to get by with just the support from your swimsuit for the whole event. But if you’re curvier, you’ll definitely want to wear a sports bra under your suit that can take you all the way through the run. Just make sure it’s absolutely quick-drying (no cotton!) and has straps that stay comfortably in place during your arm stroke.
2. Banish chafing. Major insult from the bike seat is something I’ve personally experienced more times than I’m willing to admit! To prevent the rub, when it’s time to jump on the bike just pull on a pair on a pair of simple compression-style shorts that come down at least to mid-thigh. For short tri distances you won’t need padded bike shorts, and when you skip the padding you have the option of wearing the same shorts for the running leg.
Of course, if the look and feel of form-fitting shorts during a run is not your style, it’s quick and easy to strip off the tight pants and pull on some running shorts for the final leg.
3. Test-drive everything! An unbreakable rule for any competition is to never race with anything (swimsuit, bra, shorts, top, shoes, hat, bike seat, energy gel) that you haven’t put to the test during training. So give your gear a few dry (or wet!) runs to make sure everything works together for a great race!
If you already have some triathlons under your belt, I hope you’ll add your valuable input (what works for you, what sucks) below for your newbie sisters!