Should I Wear A Wetsuit, Coach?
This is a common questions when it comes to shorter triathlon races. My answer is almost always the same when it's for a Sprint distance or shorter. Meaning anything 100-800 meters.
My answer? 🤔
👉🏻 A resounding YES!
🏊🏻♀️Free speed: wetsuits save most swimmers 5-10+ seconds per 100 meters.
🏊🏻♂️Save the legs: the buoyancy of neoprene puts your body in an on-top-of-the-water position requiring less kick
🏊🏻♀️Lower effort: you'll swim faster at a lower HR & you can spend those heartbeats later in the race
🏊🏻♂️Belief effect: many feel more confident & aggressive in a wetsuit which makes faster swimming
The catch? You need to get out of the wetsuit quickly or you lose the time you saved. This is where most peoples concern comes in.
Here's how to combat that and have lighting fast transition out of the suit.
✂️Cut it: cut the arms & legs to avoid getting stuck. Small upside down V same works really well right where you achilles is. (Don't cut it while your wearing it!) Cut small to start, then try it on and see.
⏱Practice: Practice wetsuit removal until you can get it off in under 10 seconds.
Get slippery: Grease up your legs & arms with TriSlide for quicker removal.
💧When to take it off:
One method is to remove it at swim exit while water is still trapped inside. The extra water can help it slip off faster. Even better if there are wetsuit strippers, but that usually does't happen in short races.
🏃🏻♀️Multitask: If you don't like taking it off at the swim exit, or there isn't a good place for that; run with it, get off as much of the wetsuit as possible to save time at the rack. Should be down around you waist when you get to transition.
🥁March it: Pull the wetsuit completely down, stand and step on one leg & yank out. Repeat y stepping sideways on other leg. You may have to step a few times each direction.
Here is the second key, you should be putting your sunglass (optional) and bike helmet on while your marching in place to get the suit off. Only after that, if you haven't stepped out of the suit fully, should you reach down and use your hands to remove the rest of the way.
If you do it correctly you will march right out of it and never touch it with you hands. Don't pick it up and move it, just step out, and grab you bike because you already have your helmet on. You're ready to roll.
If you don't flying mount, then put your shoes on after your helmet and away you go.
For any other distance race the answer is usually going to be yes as well. But biggest factor is heat. If the water is warm and it's going to be a long hot day, a wetsuit can cause premature overheating to the body.
As always, don't be afraid to ask me what's best for you for any given event.
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