Get your race off to the best possible start by taking your time to get dressed…
Wetsuits are designed to be tight and absorb water, so if you’re hot and sweaty you’ll never get one on. Don’t warm up until you’re in it. If you’re already hot and flustered, find a shady spot to calm down before attempting to get it on.
Before you start put plenty of wetsuit lube around your ankles, shins, wrists and forearms (never use a petroleum based lube as this can degrade the rubber). This will help with getting it on but more importantly with getting it off fast when the clock is running in T1. Apply some lube at the back of your neck to avoid chafing.
Some triathletes like to put a plastic bag over each foot to help the wetsuit slide on. You want to pull the leg as high as you can – a good few inches above your ankle. Then whip the plastic bag off.
WORK IT UP
Once you have both legs in, work the wetsuit up slowly, smoothing out wrinkles as you go and making sure it comes as high up as possible, so that the crotch of the wetsuit is right against your body. If you don’t do this, it’ll be impossible to get your arms in comfortably. Mind your nails as wetsuits snag easily.
If you’ve got the bottom half right you should have no trouble now putting your arms in. Sometimes stiff catch panels can make it difficult so try the plastic bag trick again if you need to. Work the arms right up so your shoulders are still feel free to move.
Finally ask a friendly competitor or friend to zip you up. If you’re in the suit long before the start, leave it a while as you don’t want to overheat. Make sure they tuck the leash away so no-one can accidentally unzip you during the swim – usually the end of it will attach to the Velcro fastening at the top.
Words: Elizabeth Hufton Images: blueseventy
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