I'm new to triathlons, and I'm wondering what to wear for one! Do you change after the swim? Add shorts for the bike ride? Any advice would be great! I'm female, if it makes a difference.
No right or wrong answer, but there are typical outfits. For Oly or Sprint distance, most vets use triathlon outifts. These are either 2 piece top and bottom or 1 piece singlet. You wear it under your wetsuit, on the bike, and on the run. No change = time saver. And you wear it after the race socializing in lycra all day. You can see examples on probably any tri store online website.
For 70.3 and Ironman distances, there are different schools of thought. We had a debate about it here once:
triathlon shorts = can be worn through all 3 sports eliminating the need to ever change during a race, has a smaller thinner bicycle pad in them so that they are easier to run and swim in.
top = triathlon racing tank top = again can be worn through all 3 events thus you never have to change clothing.
the females will have to chime in to state which brands and such do and do not have athletic support built into the tops.
check out this company's website to see what "triathlon shorts and tank tops" look like. they are known for making quality gear.
For the vast majority of open water swim (OWS) triathlons that are shorter than the Ironman distance, people don't change clothing. There are a very few who will bring clothes and change in the port-a-johns. The vast majority of OWS triathlons do not have a place for you to change other than the port-a-johns. Changing a-la Euro style in the transition area can be a disqualification or time penalty.
You can wear your bathing suit or tri top/bottom or bike bottom/tri top or sports bra/shorts or bike jersey/shorts or any of those combo. Some people will wear the bare minimum in the swim then throw on some cloth (i.e., bike jersey, bike shorts, etc) on top of the swim clothing in the transition area. Most people wear the same thing throughout the entire race. Very very very few people change out of their biking clothes and into running clothes during that transition. Most people wear the same thing throughout the entire race.
The reasons why people change at the Ironman distance are because of the distance involved and that there is a changing tent there for folks to change into. Comfort plays a major role when you are out there between 8-17 hours at the Ironman distance. At short distances, there is no need for it.
If you are bran new to the sport, it might pay great dividends for you to go and volunteer at a race. This will give you some indications as to what to wear and how to behave at a triathlon. There are a bunch of triathlons within the driving area during the summer.
If you are larger than a B cup/wouldn't go out in public without wearing a bra, you'll probably want to wear a sports bra and not rely upon the built-in shelf bra of tri top/suit. Wear a sports bra made of wicking material under your tri top/swimsuit.
One piece tri suit and two piece suits have pluses and minuses. One piece you don't have to worry about top riding up and exposing your back when cycling or belly when running. But if you are well hydrated/nervous and need to use the restroom frequently before a race they can be a minor inconvenience to get in and out of. I have a TYR one piece I wear for shorter races with a sports bra underneath.
I also have a couple pairs of tri shorts and tri tops for longer races. Advantages over a one piece are you can mix and match, easier to get in and out of for restroom breaks. Minuses are if the tops aren't long enough, can expose the lower back when cycling and sunburn. Be sure to bend over/assume a bike position when trying on tops.
For tri shorts I've tried both TYR and Zoot. Love the Zoot but returned the TYR shorts. TYR was a unisex cut and since I have hips, I didn't like the fit/feel of them. If you have slender/boyish hips the TYR may work for you.
Any other ladies want to chime in?
Any chance gear ordered this week would get here in time for the DC Tri June 20th?
agree with what Tammy said, although I go with shorts and tops (I'm a nervous pee-er and the thought of a one piece outfit just doesn't work for me).
I've gone through a few iterations of stuff and have settled on a seamless sports bra with one of the Sugoi DCtri tops (in men's sizes so it's plenty long, the women's tops always ride up leaving me with both sunburns on my back and unflatteringly exposed muffin tops - not good all around!) and tri shorts.
I've also learned that although the idea of tri shorts without grippy stuff at the thigh sound comfortable, they slide up my leg while biking and cause some not nice chaffing, so I'm going with silicone grippers from now on. If they feel too grippy on the run, I just fold the bottom up once.
That said, you can get away with a bathing suit and a pair of shorts to start if you want!
Agree with everything said above. Just wanted to add that a good pair of tri shorts is a great investment. If you splurge on any piece of triathlon clothing, this is the place to do it - good shorts generally cost more but will be worth it in the long run!