Having a successful start to your triathlon race can make all of the difference for the remaining portion of the event. You want to make sure that when it’s “go time”, you’re physically and mentally ready to go. Because the beginning of a triathlon begins with the swim portion, ensuring your wetsuit is on properly is extremely important for the most comfortable swim possible. So what can you do to make sure your wetsuit is ready to lead you to a strong swim split?
Before putting on your wetsuit, be prepared with these helpful tips:
1. Have a Buddy
Having an extra set of hands to help put on your wetsuit will come in handy on race day. While not totally necessary, it certainly doesn’t hurt.
2. Bring Plastic Bags
If your feet or legs are sweaty or wet, it will be more difficult to pull your suit on. Putting plastic bags over your feet and then slipping your suit on will allow your feet to slip right through the tight leg holes.
3. Apply Lubricants
Before putting your wetsuit on, apply a non-petroleum-based lubricant such as Tri Slide or Body Glide to your neck and underarms. This will help prevent chafing. To get your wetsuit off quicker, use a vegetable-based cooking spray on your legs.
4. Trim Your Nails
Trimming your nails before your race will help prevent the delicate neoprene material from being damaged while putting the wetsuit on.
5. Make Sure Your Wetsuit is The Correct Size
One of the most important components of putting on a wetsuit is ensuring that it’s the right size for you. If it’s too small or too big, it will be more difficult to put on and won’t fit probably during your swim.
Let’s take a look at how to actually put on your wetsuit:
1. Apply all lubricants beforehand
2. Put plastic bags on feet and step into your wetsuit
3. Slowly and carefully inch the wetsuit up over one knee and then the next, working the suit up from the bottom and NOT pulling from the top. It is also suggested to pull the suit up from the inside vs. the outside.
4. If in a seated position, stand up and slowly inch wetsuit over thighs and hips. At this point you’ll want to check and make sure your wetsuit fits snug in the crotch panel area.
5. Begin to pull your wetsuit up to the lower chest area. If you’re wearing a wetsuit with long sleeves, use your plastic bags to help slip your hand through the tight armholes. This will help pull the suit up and over your shoulders.
6. Once your wetsuit is on over your shoulders, grab the zipper cord and pull straight up. Once zipped, make sure your zipper is in a “down-locked” position and the velcro neck-strap is secured. This is where having a buddy comes in handy.
7. To make sure you’re in your wetsuit correctly, do a few arm circles and squats. This will make sure that the crotch area, neck and shoulders are all snug and ready to go.
Putting on a wetsuit before a triathlon is one of those things that become easier each time you do it. Be sure to prepare by packing unusual and necessary items like plastic bags and lubricants. Take your time as you’re putting on your wetsuit as it is meant to be very snug and form fitting which means the neoprene is more susceptible to tearing. As with many aspects of triathlon training, the more you practice suiting up, the more it will become second nature to you for race day.
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