Race Time: 8:00am
Wolf Lake Park, Hammond, IN
Article ©2012 Triathlon Wetsuit Store
The two main reasons to invest in a wetsuit are buoyancy and warmth. Cold water temperatures may have a negative impact on your performance if you try to race without a wetsuit. Most triathletes also report much better buoyancy when swimming with a wetsuit on, which can decrease your need to kick significantly.
The main factor to be considered when deciding on whether to invest in a wetsuit is typically the cost (Ranges from $200-$700). Some racers choose to borrow, but if you do, be sure the sizing is correct. Wetsuits are far from a one-size-fits-all type of garment. If you are only planning on racing once or twice and don’t know anybody to borrow a wetsuit from, you can check your local shops for wetsuit rental services. If you plan to race regularly, the price of rentals will quickly overtake the investment of buying your own. The best place to start is by reading some triathlon wetsuit reviews from other racers, are asking around within a triathlon group or tri shop; then when you’ve gotten an idea of what you’re looking for go try some on until you find the best one for your body/technique.
Using The Wetsuit
Once you’ve gotten your triathlon wetsuit, you will want to use it early and often. Any triathlon wetsuit will require some practice and “breaking-in” before being used on race day (don’t be surprised if you need a hand getting the wetsuit on the first time). Make sure your entire body is dry when putting on the triathlon wetsuit, and be careful not to cause any tears. Neoprene is a great material, but is quite easy to puncture and tear. The wetsuit typically goes on over your triathlon shorts and suit. It is good to get used to the unique feeling and reaction time your muscles will have when swimming with a wetsuit on, and it may even require a slight adjustment in your stroke. It can be common to feel constricted by the wetsuit when you first try swimming with it, but you will quickly get use to it as it provides so many swim benefits. After a few good sessions, your wetsuit will feel like a second skin.
If you do not already use it, the lubricating product called BodyGlide will help prevent any chafing or sores and also make the wetsuit slide on and off easier. Just apply the lubricant to your legs and arms and you should have no problems. You may hear of some swimmers using regular old cooking spray like PAM to slide the suit on as well. Using that sort of product is generally OK, but be sure not to use a petroleum based lubricant as it will deteriorate the suit material. Any water based lubricant will work.
The other part of the triathlon you need to dedicate some practice time to, when it comes to wetsuits, is the transition from the swimming portion to the bicycle. It’s important to slip out of your suit as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t affect your time transition time. The best way to do this is to grab the zipper and attached ribbon immediately after leaving the water, unzip, and slide your arms out of the wetsuit (without getting yourself tangled up) while travelling to the transition area. When you arrive, you can pull the suit off the remainder of your body. Be careful not to rip it.
After The Race
A quality triathlon wetsuit could last an entire career; but only if you take the time to maintain it after each race, or swim session. Start by giving it a thorough rinse with fresh water. Make sure to wash the outside and inside with equal care. Once you’re sure it’s completely rinsed down, hang it to air dry. At the end of each season you should take a day to shampoo the entire wetsuit (McNett is great for cleaning neoprene), and then rinse it out. Once dried, be sure to store your wetsuit somewhere that it will not be torn, scratched, or subject to persistent sunlight.
You can expect to spend at least $200 on a triathlon wetsuit. If you don’t take care of this investment it will need replacing within a couple of seasons. If you DO take the time to maintain your wetsuit you can literally use it for an entire career.Back to top