Triathlon Transistions

I searched the forum but couldn’t find any answers so I thought I try a new thread.

I’m running my very first Triathlon and have a question about clothing and managing the transitions. I picked up tri suit and have done a number of Bike to Run workouts. But my question is with the swim. If the water is cold and I can wear my wet suit do I wear the tri suit under my wet suit? Or do I wear my jammers under the wet suit and then change into the tri suit?

Or if its warm enough do you wear your your swim suit and then change into the tri suit? Or start and finish with the tri suit?

Thanks for your help

Wear your tri suit under the wetsuit; if it’s warm enough then you just wear your tri suit.


Assuming you’re doing something other than an ironman, you’re generally not able to change in transition - - you can add clothing of course so if you have a separate top you wanted to keep dry you could put that on after the swim, but let me warn you that can be a challenge when you’re wet! :joy: The general way to do things is to wear your tri suit from start to finish for the shorter distances though.


Only wear the tri suit and don’t worry about the padded shorts. I don’t feel like there is an acceptable reason to ever change out of it if you are racing. If you doing one for fun, then by all means, do whatever you want - its your day! Do not worry about the temperature of the water with regards to your land clothing. Only the outside temperatures matter. If it is over 60, you won’t need anything more than your wet tri-suit to start the ride. You are racing and coming from a swim, so you will be running much hotter than normal.

At the race, people will look like they know what’s going on - its a facade for many :slight_smile: But everyone will be nice and will answer your questions. Get there early so you can relax, mingle, and have a blast.


As other have said above. :+1:

Trisuits are designed to be used in all three disciplines. They wont impede your swim, they dry quicker than cycling kit, and are comfortable for the run.

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Thank you everyone for helping out this newbie!

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So happy I found this post. Had the exact same question. Wasn’t sure if you could change from swim gear into bike gear. This answers it all. Will be shopping for a tri suit :wink:


There’s lots of videos on YouTube from GTN and the like on how to handle your transitions. There’s nifty little tricks that may work for you - example 1) as soon as I’ve stood up got the back of my wetsuit unzipped, pulled my cap and goggles off, then got the top half of the wetsuit off and round my waist, leaving the cap and goggles in the arm of the wetsuit where they won’t fall out. Every second you don’t get your wetsuit off once you’re out of the water it becomes harder to take off as the water drains from it. Example 2) I’ve always preferred wearing socks on the bike so if you dust the insides with some talcum powder then roll them down so you only need to get your toes inside them everything is much easier. Simple tasks become challenging when you’re soaking wet and trying to race!

Have fun!


Others have answered this. Trisuit all the way. My first tri back in the day I changed my bike shorts to run shorts for comfort (wrapped a towel around me), and you will see plenty of folks doing similar things at smaller local races. There is USAT rule for ‘no nakedness’ in transition - but in Europe it seems like pretty much anything goes! :flushed:

FYI. Jammers count as flotation devices so they are not USAT legal in non-wetsuit legal swims.

Wear your trisuit under your wetsuit unless the air temperature is really low. How low is too low? That’s gonna vary from person to person.

Outside of Ironman distance races, most athletes don’t do full clothing changes and this is in large part due to the fact that Ironman races have changing tents.

I’ve always worn my race day kit under my wetsuit and worn it for all 3 sports. However, at Ironman Arizona in 2009 with 60 degree F (15.5 C) water temp with 43 degree F (6 C) air temperature, I was pretty uncomfortable early on the bike till my kit dried and the air temperature increased. Probably would have been faster overall if I had taken the time to change in T1 on that cold day.

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I think you have a different interpretation of jammer to a lot of folks. To many swimmers they are just long, tight fabric trunks… No flotation to them.

Cool. I don’t mind being wrong.

Ha ha, so true. I came into T1 at Lanzarote one guy totally naked with his privates waving around. I’m not sure what the women felt about that!

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Triathlon I’m entering is Olympic Distance Triathlon in Newcastle Australia in February so end of summer and water nice and warm. Won’t need wet suit so tri-suit it will be. Thank everyone for the tips, will definitely take any advice I can get.

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I’ve done just one sprint tri so far, and trisuit was fine for that.

But what do people do for additional clothing on the bike if air temperature is too cool for trisuit only.

The last 2 Octobers the last race of the season it was cold enough I wanted more for the ride. So I put on my vest. Windproof in front. First year I took it off for the run; last year I left it on. (These were off-road Tri’s).

I have been contemplating this for next April. You may need to put on an extra layer if it is really cold.

I’ve used arm warmers and a Gilets

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Depends how competitive you are and what you want to achieve. IMO if you want to have a fun smile filled race, dress for the weather; if its raining, either wear a jacket or some sort of protection (wind, etc.). However, if your racing for your AG win or OA win, you will either need to suck it up and hope for the best or bitch out and grab a jacket, knowing you will be impacted by the aero. Its a gamble.

For reference I did a 70.3 this summer and it was looking like it was gonna piss pour and the morning was a bit chilly, so I basically mentally checked out at the start and just threw on a cycling jacket for the bike leg. I still came in with a pretty good bike split (in the top 20s) but the jacket was not helping my aero; I was regretting wearing it the whole time after I got going but thats what happens. If it got colder and the rain got worse, I would have been in a better place than the field and likely any aero penalty could get roped back in on the run, as I would be warm and the competition would be boarder-line hypodermic. But again I mentally checked out and went for a fun race, which I had. And being miserable sucks.

So my advice is dress for the weather unless you want to take risks, where risks could be a top bike split or DNF the bike/run.

Wear your tri suit under your wetsuit. Goes without saying spend some practice time getting out of the wetsuit. :wink:

Most tris won’t have a place to change.

2nd tri I ever did some dude changed right there in the open air transition area. That’s a DQ.