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By Andrea Schnorr

Reasons to wear a wetsuit in a triathlon

Running. Swimming. Biking. That is a triathlon in a nutshell, and a growing number of people are participating in them across the U.S. While some may think they will never do a triathlon, the data shows otherwise.

According to Statista, an online statistics portal, there were about 4.24 million people who participated in U.S. triathlons in 2015. That is a staggering number of participants in a year at best. Clearly, doing a triathlon is a growing trend across the country.

Whether you are a newcomer or a regular triathlon participant, there are a number of things to consider before and during the race. How will you train? What is your goal? Which triathlon will you compete in? What will you wear?

Determining what to wear can be a big decision when participating in a triathlon, and you are probably wondering if you should use a wetsuit or a tri suit during the competition. Below is an overview of both options, as well as reasons why one options makes more sense over the other option.

Tri suit vs. wetsuit

If you are new to triathlons, you may not know there different types of gear you can wear – a tri suit and a wetsuit are the most common.

A tri suit is typically available in both one-piece and two-piece options. Typically, the top is sleeveless and the bottom is similar to cycling shorts. The tri suit is made of thin and breathable materials, making it more comfortable to wear during a race but it is not very buoyant.

A wetsuit is made of neoprene material, which is very buoyant and an asset during the competition. Wetsuits also come in different styles. They come in full suits, sleeveless and sleeveless with shorts that have just-below-the-knee-length legs.

Why wear a wetsuit during a triathlon?

There are a number of reasons to wear wetsuit and not a tri suit during a triathlon, including:

  • Buoyancy – Wetsuits are made of rubber, which floats and will help your performance. In fact, if you are not a strong swimmer. wearing a wetsuit will give you some more confidence.
  • Warmth – It is no secret that swimming in cold water can be freezing and a wetsuit gives some type of warmth. All events are wetsuit legal below 78 degrees, so if you are trying to keep warm during your event, a wetsuit is a perfect option to retain your body temperature.
  • Speed – A majority of triathlon wetsuits are made with a silicon treatment, making them more slippery. Even without this, the wetsuit is slippery enough to reduce the amount of drag during a race and can make you go faster.

While the tri suit makes sense for some, many choose to wear a wetsuit during a triathlon because they can help improve performance. The best advice is to consider what will work best for you and make you feel the most comfortable. After all, you are the one wearing the gear and doing the triathlon, so your opinion is the one that matters the most.

Regardless of what you choose to wear, good luck, because completing a triathlon is a significant accomplishment for any athlete.

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