Gear for Beginner?

Hi there,

now that I have found the triathlon bit of the forum: spot the triathlon novice.... Injury meant I had to do lots of cross training and could not run. So - numerous swimming, cycling and aquajogging miles later I thought I'd put all this training to good use and do a few triathlons. Now - questions: wet suit. Any advice on what to look out for? How to decide on the correct size. Can you try them out in an endless pool and is that reasonably realistic compared to open water swimming? Also, what has kind of baffled me: tri suits. Obviously worn under the wetsuit and then worn throughout the race. Now - being a girl I do need a sports bra for running. Do these suits come with inbuilt bras, and do these do the trick? Or do you wear a bra under the trisuit and then hope for it to dry on the bike leg...??? May sound a stupid question, but seeing I haven't really been near any trisuits yet with any intent, I just don't know.

 Any advice will be welcome - thank you!


  • Ursula, firstly, well done on having a go, once you;ve done one you'll be well and truly bittne, and just want to keep going, and possibly upping the distances.

    Wetsuits,  ut's difficult to recommend a size, as all manufacturers are slightly different.  However, the best wetsuit for you, is the one that fits.  You'll find that that s cheaper suit that fits is significantly better than an expesnive suit that doesn;t, so it is a case of trial and error.  Some of the larger Tri shops (TriUK etc) have endless pools inthe shop so you can try out suits.  Other shops have dem sessions at lakes etc, and some retailiers at lakes also sll wetsuits, so you can try before you buy.

    Open water swimming is different to pool swimming.  It's cold, it possibley deep, you can;t really see where you are going because there isn;t a line on the bottom to follow, and there's no side or end to hang onto to catch your breath.  However, the wetsuit is like a bouyancy aid, and if you stop swimming you can just hang in the water and have a good look around, catch your breat, and then start swimming again.

    Before you do any OW races, make sure you've spent some time practising in OW, just to get used to it

    Swimming in the wetsuit also feels different to swimming without one.  Firstly there is a slight restrictive feeling around the shoulders, but less so with a good fitting suit.  The biggest change is that you'll higher in the water, a bit like swimming with a pull bouy.  You'll legs will feel higher as the wetsuit has the bouyancy.

    Tri suits, can;t really offer too much advice Re women, but having read a few forum threads on this issue, there are woemnspecific suits, and some have in built support.  However, others wear a supportive bra underneath, and find that it soon dries out on the bike.

  • Hi - I'm a female triathlete, what you wear up top really depends on your size. I'm 38C and when I first started I would wear a pair of thigh length lycra shorts under a size 36 swimsuit, it worked fine for sprint distances. Nowadays I wear a quick-drying sports bra under my other gear - sometimes I'll wear a tri suit for a sprint but for longer races it's separates, tri shorts and either a monaco or crop top. Don't want to be fussed having to strip the suit off if I need to take a potty break.
  • Ultra Ironwolf - now THAT is something I hadn't actually thought of! And as I am ultimately planning a middle-distance race as my first target race (I may be a novice, but I am also an endurance junkie, and certainly the swim and the run leg won't be a problem...) the potty break may indeed be an issue... And crop top - yup, can see that work. Thank you! image
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