I think the number one question I am asked- from both aspiring triathletes and people who are just curious- is “what do you wear???” I had the same question starting out- how do you go from swimming to biking to running when there’s no place to change out of your bathing suit and into your athletic gear?
Behold, the Tri Kit!
This nifty invention is what you wear in a triathlon. For the entire race. Swim. Bike. Run.
You have a couple of options in tri kit land. The short-course pros- the ones you see in the Olympics- wear a special one-piece bathingsuit for the entire race. Wearing a bathingsuit with sneakers feels really goofy to me, so I’ve never really gotten into that one.
You can wear a one-piece, which many swear by for ease and comfort. Personally, I have a nervous bladder, and I remember well from my college days what a hassle it can be to wear a cute body suit out to the bar and then have to completely undress every time I got to the front of the ladies line, then trying to get it back in place and perfect positioned so my bra wasn’t showing, and then tugging it down in the back so that it didn’t wedge, all while wondering if the belt I chose to make it look like I have a slimmer waist is actually giving me the appearance of a slimmer waist.
I prefer a tri-shorts tri-top combination. Sure, the top can ride up, and it’s a bit more expensive to buy two pieces instead of one. But being able to run to the restroom and just pull my shorts down is worth it to me. Truth.
Worried about soggy bottoms? Fear not! The material tri kits are made of dries super fast. It’s super tight and thin, so the clothes don’t retain water. And you’ve got so much adrenaline going that you really won’t notice when you run out of the ocean, rip your wetsuit off, and jump on your bike. The tri short also has a super thin chamois to help increase your comfort on the bike. Think of it like a little pillow for your bum.
Not excited to buy new gear? Thinking this is going to be super uncomfortable? That’s okay! There isn’t a uniform rule on the books, which means you can wear whatever you want.
Except you can’t be naked. There is a rule against that.
But if you want to haul ass to the porta-potty and change into dry pants and a bra and a shirt, you can do that! In my first race I wore a pair of tri shorts I bought on amazon and a running bra under my wetsuit for the swim, then pulled on a tank top before I got on the bike. No one cared. It really is up to you.
Finally, let me share one of the most life changing pieces of advice I’ve ever received.
Going commando is best.
Sure, “gifted” ladies like myself will need a bra. I prefer Moving Comfort as they have a mesh back that dries quickly, but your favorite sports bra should do it (though I recommend testing it out in the water before the race to be sure it doesn’t hold water and make things uncomfortable). But on the bottoms, embrace the no underwear feel. No bunching. No chaffing. One less thing to worry about.
Have a question about your triathlon wardrobe? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask! If I don’t know the answer, I will find out. I’m happy to look like an idiot so that you don’t have to.