If you are serious about racing, then triathlon clothing is essential. With three different disciplines to contend with – swimming, biking and running – it is vital to have clothes that perform, helping you to go faster and be more comfortable, rather than slowing you down.
The key to good triathlon clothing is that it has to perform a number of functions – when you are in a race, the last thing you want is to have to waste time getting changed between each of the different stages. That means that whatever you wear should be able to perform in the water, on the bike, and on the run.
The Saucony Lady Elite Tank Top is specially designed for tri athletes, cobining tight fitting quick drying technical material. Tri-Lete - High compression, breathable and water repellent fabric with...
The Saucony Lady Elite Triathlon tights is specially designed for tri athletes, combining tight fitting quick drying technical material. Tri-Lete - Now high-compression for improved fit and improved ...
You'll typically find two different types of triathlon clothing that are suitable for racing – one piece suits, or two pieces. They have to share certain characteristics however – firstly, they need to be suitable for the swim. That means skin tight, lightweight materials that won't hold lots of water or create drag when you are swimming. For that reason, racing clothes are almost always made of synthetic materials, with lots of lycra to make them fit properly.
Once you are out the water you will be jumping straight onto the bike, and suddenly your needs change. Therefore the first requirement to make that transition easy is that your clothes should not retain water – the water from the swim needs to drain away quickly, and the material needs to be quick drying.
Once out on the bike you want some comfort for your butt – bike shorts are well padded to provide protection, but tri suits used for racing can't have a heavy pad or it would be like a soggy nappy after the swim! You will therefore find that they have a thin pad – just enough to be comfortable on a ride, but not enough to act like a sponge and hold too much water.
Once you are off the bike it's time to run. Here you want close fitting clothes that won't chafe, and for many people, if it's a summer race, a top that you can unzip or roll down as you get hot.
You'll find one and two piece tri suits designed for both men and women, their different cut making them fit properly according to your gender. Typically you will only need to wear these for racing – for your regular workouts you can wear normal swimming, cycling and running clothes. The only time you might use your tri suit in training is when you are doing “brick” workout, where you combine a swim and a bike ride, or a bike ride and a run.
These brutal workouts are an essential part of training for a race so it makes sense to practice wearing the same clothes you will use in a race.