Jim is right-- you really have to practice transitions and "brick" workouts, in race clothes. (I have a friend that used to wear her wet suit in the shower, then run around the basement before trying to take it off.)
If I might add my 2 cents worth with just doing one TRI. Swim with whatever you going to swim with and then get on the bike right away and see what your comfort level is and I would even suggest running as well. Take your bike to your Y or where ever you are training to swim and do this before your TRI.
Also, practice getting these clothing items on in the conditions you will be in. I found I was faster in dry conditions but when I was wet it it took me a little longer. I plan to practice this myself before my TRI this year.
You really do not need to spend all kinds of money on the fancy clothing. If this is something you think you will want to do on a continual basis, then start investing.
Do not forget about e-bay as well when you are wanting to purchase TRI clothing.
There have been a few recent threads on this on the Triathlon Team here on Spark (see my page to find the team) but here is my opinion: Buy tri shorts!
Tri shorts have lighter padding than cycling shorts, but are designed to be worn in the swim, dry quickly as you get on the bike, and be worn on the run without feeling like you are wearing diapers. I love mine, and even wear them for some of my bike rides beyond multisport.
For the top, I now have a sports bra type tri top, but for my first tri, I just wore a black sports bra.(I knew it was going to get wet!) Many people prefer the one piece tri suit, but that wasn't for me--I get more use out of single pieces. I also did not want to wear a regular swim suit, because I didn't want to cycle with the suit's leg bands--I knew I'd be too uncomfortable on the bike.
After the swim, in T1 (the first transition), I put on my cycling shirt because I was a little self concious, and left it on through the rest of the race.
So the best advice is to wear one basic outfit for all three legs of the race. You can't change in transistion areas (it's completely out in the open). Add a shirt if it makes you feel more comfortable, but keep even minor changes to a minimum.
As for where to buy clothes: Performance and Nashbar are great choices. Other places to search to tri clothing are REI, Title 9, Danskin, and Team Estrogen. Or just search "triathlon clothing". And don't forget to check at your LBS to see if they carry tri clothes--mine does. This way, you can actually try the clothes on!
And if you tell me more about your race (like distance, location and tempuratures), I might be able to give you a little more insight.
Fitness Minutes: (35,633) Posts: 1,187 3/29/09 12:54 P
They make tri clothing. Either tri top and bottoms or a tri suit. The bottoms have a slight pad for comfort on the bike, but it is not so thick that it won't dry quickly after the swim. And depending on where you are, you'll need to buy or rent a triathlon wet suit. Good luck on your first tri!!
2010 Goals: Get under 6 hours for a half Ironman triathlon Get under 8 min/mi for a 5K - DONE 4/3
2010 Big Races: Jan 15-17 Bermuda Half Challenge (8:15 Mile, 1:01:20 10K, and 2:11:32 half marathon) June 6 Mooseman 70.3 triathlon (6:30:25) Aug 22 Timberman 70.3 triathlon (6:10:14)
current weight: 139.0
Fitness Minutes: (74,787) Posts: 10,356 3/29/09 9:49 A
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