General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Wetsuit vs Tri suit Rss Feed  
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2019-01-10 3:13 AM


Subject: Wetsuit vs Tri suit
Good day

I must chose between a wetsuit and a tri suit, for my first Ironman. what would be the better option. I am not the best swimmer. If i buy the wetsuit, do you put your cycling gear underneat the wetsuit? If so does that change the size of the wetsuit?

Thank you

2019-01-10 9:31 AM
in reply to: hannie

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Placitas, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Wetsuit vs Tri suit

I've done 3 Ironmans.  In all 3, I've worn a wetsuit & swimsuit for the swim, bike bibs and jersey for the ride, and running shorts and a shirt for the run.  Most IM's have a changing tent, so you wouldn't *need* to wear bike gear under the wetsuit.  

Tri-suits are lycra/spandex with a small butt pad that doesn't absorb water.  Maybe it'll work for 180 km, maybe not.  I wasn't interested in running 42 km in tri-shorts.  

Wetsuits are neoprene.  They'll provide some buoyancy for the swim.  What are the expected water temps?  If the water is too warm, you won't be allowed to wear the wetsuit (nor would you want to).  A Wetsuit is ONLY for the swim.  

2019-01-11 3:26 PM
in reply to: hannie

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Wetsuit vs Tri suit
Are you 100% sure the swim will be wetsuit legal?
Wetsuit for sure then.

I not, tri suit and a cheap speed suit from ebay.

If it's a full IM they have changing tents. Maybe have swim jammers under wetsuit and change out to bike gear for the bike in T1.

Personally I wear a full sleeve tri suit under my wetsuit and use the tri suit for the whole race.
Love my Zoot.

You can get decent wetsuits used as well.
2019-01-18 6:50 AM
in reply to: hannie

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Lowestoft, England
Subject: RE: Wetsuit vs Tri suit
As already said wear a swimsuit or trisuit if you prefer under the wetsuit. Get changed in the tent in T1. I also have done a full change in T2 into run gear in several IM. It's all about comfort. A few extra minutes to change in what is probably an 12hr day doesn't matter.
2019-01-18 4:17 PM
in reply to: hannie

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Melbourne FL
Gold member
Subject: RE: Wetsuit vs Tri suit

Wetsuit for sure if legal.  I bought my full sleeve unit online used (eBay) for cheap.  Before that I had a sleeveless put it melted when I forgot about it in the car on a 100F deg day!

Trisuits can also be purchased online used or new at discount. I always wore a trisuit when racing 70.3's.  If a full not sure what I'd do, above comments say to change anyway so you have your pick.

2019-01-18 7:54 PM
in reply to: 0

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Wetsuit vs Tri suit
????? It's not normally an either/or thing. If the race is wetsuit legal, most people would wear a wetsuit over their tri suit or tri top and shorts. Definitely if race rules allow it, I would wear the wetsuit if you are not a strong swimmer. Tri gear is (or at least should be) tight-fitting--it shouldn't affect wetsuit size. I think the sizing assumes you are wearing SOMETHING under the suit!

If not wetsuit legal (water above the max temperature), then people usually just wear the tri suit or tri top and shorts. A speed suit (like a tight swimsuit that goes over your tri gear and helps reduce drag, but without the warmth or buoyancy of a wetsuit), is also an option for races in water too warm for wetsuits. Might be worth it for full IM if you really like the sleek feel of a race suit for the swim, but don't want to do the rest of the race in super-tight kit. It is really helpful in reducing drag from two-piece suits, which tend to have a bit more. My times tend to be about a minute to 90 seconds faster for HIM with the speed suit, maybe 2 minutes+ for full IM--it does give a little boost.

That the race is full IM gives you some other options. There are usually change tents, so you can do the swim in a swimsuit (with or without wetsuit or speedsuit) if you want, and then change into your preferred clothes for the bike and run. It's just a matter of personal preference. It may be worth it to take a little more time in transition to be more comfortable for an event that's going to go on that long.

My first (and, so far, only) IM was not wetsuit legal (tropical ocean swim). I did the swim in a one-piece tri suit with a speed suit over the top, the bike in my trisuit, and the run in a singlet and shorts. Since the bike is the longest part of the day, I chose the suit that was most comfortable for that leg. The speed suit made it a bit more hydrodynamic for the swim. I could have run in the tri suit as well, but given the heat, salt water swim, and length of the run, I felt I'd be more comfortable in the clothes I typically wear for a long run on a hot day.

Edited by Hot Runner 2019-01-18 7:56 PM

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