Get your wetsuit on and off quickly!
Once you’ve bought your triathlon wetsuit, it’s worth spending some time understanding how to get the wetsuit off quickly. How do you coax the best performance out of it. Not all triathlon wetsuits are the same. Every suit offering slightly different benefits. Learn how to get the most out of your wetsuit. Getting your triathlon wetsuit off quickly can make a huge difference and see your swim and transition times come tumbling down.
Putting it on
The correct fit is crucial if you want to be comfortable, warm and fast in your wetsuit. The first thing you need is a carrier bag (bear with us). Put one foot in the bag and then put the foot into the wetsuit. The carrier bag will help get the leg of the suit on more easily. Pull the leg up to your knee, and repeat the other side until you’re standing in your triathlon wetsuit with it pulled to the knees. Then pull the suit on up to your groin.
Be careful not to tear the neoprene with your nails. Now make sure the groin of the suit is sitting tight into your body. If it isn’t, gently ease the suit up section by section until it’s fitting closely. Make sure there’s no rucking behind your knees. Now pull the suit up and put one arm on, carefully easing the material of the suit up bit by bit until the armpit area is tight against your own. Repeat with the other side. You should now have no baggy areas of wetsuit and no rucking, and the suit should be tight into your groin and armpits.
Do the zip up (or ask someone else to do it for you). Now bend forwards from the hips and feel for any rolls of wetsuit around your torso. If you can grab any neoprene here, gently ease it upwards towards your chest before standing upright. Now check: the only area of the wetsuit in which you should be able to grab and stretch the neoprene is at the top of the chest and front of the shoulder? Got it? Then you’re ready to swim.
Get it off fast
Getting your wetsuit off quickly is just as important as swimming in it. After all, there’s no point coming out of the water in front of everyone if they fly past you. As I exit the water what I do I open the neck and fill the suit with a fresh lay of water. This really does aid with the next steps. Reach behind you and grab the zip cord of your wetsuit as soon as you exit the swim. Then start to pull the zip open as you walk or run into transition. If you can, get the suit open, and both arms out. You then enter transition with the wetsuit pulled to your waist.
Don’t forget that it’s the layer of water inside the wetsuit which makes it easier to take off. The longer you take, the more of that water will have drained out and the trickier you’ll find it to get out of the wetsuit. Once you’re standing by your bike, pull the suit to your knees before stepping out of one leg. Then use that free leg to stand on the wetsuit, so you can pull your second leg free. You’ve done it!
There are different races that require different approaches, if the transition from the water to the bike is over 1km. I tend to remove the wetsuit as soon as you out of the water and then run holding it. Subject to the event organiser letting you do this. Fellow triathletes will look at you funny. Then when they struggle as all the water has drained out of theirs and the triathlon wetsuit is now welded to them and our on your bike and off you can smile to yourself.
How to put on a wetsuit
Lubrication: First of all ensure all movement areas (knees, arm pits/shoulders and neck) receive a good helping of lubrication to. assist the wetsuit going on. Prevent chaffing during swimming. Help get the wetsuit off. Do not use Vaseline however, this will damage the wetsuit. A fantastic lubricant to use is Bodyglide skin formula.
Positioning: Make sure your wetsuit is the correct way around – the zipper is supposed to go on the back!
Feet: Keep your socks on (or wrap a plastic bag around your feet) – this will help your feet go into the wetsuit with as little fuss as possible.
Gently pull up: Carefully pull the wetsuit up over your legs and up to your waist – do not pull to hard or you will risk damaging the suit. Also avoid sharp objects and finger nails.
Snug fit: When pulling it up to your waist, ensure that the fit is snug and that there are no creases in the wetsuit around the movement areas – i.e. back of the knees and waist.
Arms: Continue to pull the wetsuit up over your body and place your arms through the sleeves, again making sure it is snug and that there are no creases, especially around the shoulders.
Zip up: Do up the zipper and the Velcro at the back – get used to doing this yourself because it will help you getting used to reaching behind you to undo it after the swim leg.
Freedom of movement: Finally, do not be surprised in how snug the fit is – it is supposed to be, so don’t be surprised if it feels a bit tight! However, still make sure you can move freely in it.
Get your wetsuit off quickly
Act fast: After exiting the swim, the faster you start to take off the wetsuit, the easier it will be. This is because the water currently contained within the wetsuit will act as a lubrication helping the suit slide off faster.
Zip down: Reach round for the zip and pull down fully.
Cap/Goggles off: Take your goggles and swimming cap off and place them into your right or left hand. Or put your goggle on to your forehead if you put your goggle under your swim cap.
Arms out: Then with your empty hand pull the sleeve of the suit and get the opposite arm out of the suit, releasing and leaving your goggles in there. After this quickly grab the sleeve of the opposite sleeve with your now free hand and pull the other arm through and out of the wetsuit.
Waist down: Pull the wetsuit down to your waist whilst running into transition (but not any further as you will not be able to run!).
Bike transition: Once you reach your bike, pull the wetsuit down as far as possible and kick/stand on it to ensure you get the thing off.
Right place, right time! Make sure you place your wetsuit in your allotted space – any time penalties for such a silly thing is really unnecessary and totally avoidable.
You now know how to get your wetsuit off quickly
You have now learned how to get your triathlon wetsuit off quickly – now its over to you. Practise getting your wetsuit off quickly after every open water swim practise. Pretend your in a race situation even building in a short run like your going to transition. Practise getting your wetsuit off quickly in the garden. Your neighbours will think your MENTAL – but they know you do triathlons right? if so they expect you to be doing stupid things.
Race fast and Safe and remember where you learned how to get your Triathlon wetsuit off quickly. www.triathlonwetsuit.co.uk