So you have started doing triathlons and you now want a wetsuit; smart move, you will be much faster with a wetsuit! Seems like there are millions of different wetsuits out there to choose from and that’s a good thing.
Go for a long sleeve wetsuit as opposed to a sleeveless wetsuit and the reason is simply because it is faster. When you try it on the first time, you will feel suffocated and that is the way it is… but you will be fine.
Here are 3 keys to race like a pro in that new wetsuit;
1) Practice swimming in it. DO IT. It will make a world of difference if you can put in at least 5 training sessions with it prior to racing in it. You will feel constricted, that is normal and that is why you want to get use to it in a pool and not 500m out from shore. The tightness in your chest will diminish and shortly you will be gliding on top of the water rather than dragging through it. You will be stunned how much faster you are in a wetsuit!
2) Lube up. Apply a proper wetsuit lube to your wrists, ankles and neck primarily. This will drastically reduce the friction of the neoprene against your skin and make it much easier to get out of. Many different kinds of lubricants will damage the neoprene, that is why it’s a good idea to get a lubricant that is compatible with neoprene
3) Getting your wetsuit off can be very tricky the first time you do it. The last thing you want in your first wetsuit triathlon is to be sitting in T1, struggling and freaking out because you cannot get out of it. Practice your triathlon exit at home so you get comfortable with unzipping and peeling it off.
Your first time in an open water race or a triathlon does not have to be a nervous time. If you have selected a well fitted wetsuit and you have practiced with it, you will then be fine. If you should struggle in the swim, turn over on your back and do backstroke for a while. That will relax you immensely. Once you feel more on top of your game, then turn over and start swimming to T2.
The more you practice wetsuit swimming and exiting your wetsuit will make that first triathlon with it a huge success!