Understanding Triathlon Suits: One-Piece or Two-Piece

Understanding Tri Suits. Which one is right for you?

A tri suit is a garment designed specifically for triathletes to be worn during the swim, bike, and run. They are made of a swimsuit-like material that dries quickly during your transition to the bike. They also make riding more comfortable with built-in pads that you won’t even notice during the run. Most importantly, the suit allows for a total range of movement so you can wear the suit for the entire tri. A tri suit is an element of the basic triathlon gear you need, so keep reading to understand the differences between a one-piece and two-piece tri suit.

Two-Piece Tri Suit

Rookie Triathlete wearing a two-piece tri suit

Rookie Triathlete, Laura Gomez, wearing a two-piece tri suit on the run course.

A two-piece tri suit is a set of tri shorts and a tri top. Some athletes prefer a two-piece because they offer a few advantages. For example, a two-piece is less likely to restrict your range of motion from being too tight on your shoulders and allow for natural movement. The two-piece suit also tends to feel cooler than a one-piece, due to the fact your mid-drift can be exposed. A two-piece suit is also great for athletes who may require different sized clothing for the upper and lower parts of your body.

One drawback is the two-piece can be less aerodynamic during the bike portion if the suit bunches up. Leaning too far forward on your bike can also cause the back of your tri top to rise up and lead to exposed skin. This is not ideal to protect your skin if you were to fall on the bike course or raise the risk of getting a sunburn.

One-Piece Tri-Suit

Triathlete wearing a one-piece tri suit

Running into T1 in a one-piece tri suit!

One-piece tri suits are more commonly preferred by most athletes for simplicity. A one-piece suit typically has some compression built-in, making the suit more aerodynamic for athletes who opt for a one-piece. Women who wear one-piece suits claim that it’s more flattering on their figure than a two-piece. Athletes also say there’s less chafing with a one-piece because there are fewer seams in the suit.

One drawback of a one-piece suit is the material the suit is made of can cause you to feel warmer throughout the race. This is important to take this into account depending on which tri distance you complete and what time of year your race takes place. Lastly, a one-piece suit is a better option if you will be wearing a wet suit during your race.

At the end of the day, comfort is most important when choosing the best tri suit for you. Hopefully, now you have the knowledge and tools you need to get yourself the perfect suit for your upcoming tri!

17 Triathlon Terms Every Triathlete Needs to Know

New to the sport or a seasoned triathlete with many races under your belt, here are 17 triathlon terms every triathlete should know

From training terms to lingo you’ll hear out at the race site, the world of triathlon truly does have a language of its own. In honor of this year marking the 17th time we celebrate triathletes of all skill levels coming together at The Rookie Tri, here are 17 triathlon terms every triathlete needs to know that will have you graduating from a novice triathlete to a pro in no time.

  1. Aid Stations – Strategically located stations to help you replenish during the race. They usually have water, hydration drinks, and depending on the distance, can also have gels or chews. See where the run course aid station is located at The Rookie Tri.

    Athlete getting body marked on race morning of Rookie Tri

    Rookie Tri athlete getting body marked on race morning.

  2. Body Marking – In a race, you will be required to wear your race number on your body, the upper arm, and the back of the lower leg. Before a race, there will be designated “Body Markers,” volunteers who write your race number on your body with either a permanent marker or applying a temporary tattoo peel-off number.
  3. Brick – back-to-back workouts of the tri disciplines. Traditionally, a bike and run, smushed together like on race day. But it can really be any combination of two of the disciplines.
  4. Cadence – Also, known as RPM, or revolutions per minute, cadence means the rhythm of your swim stroke, bike pedal stroke, or run turnover as your feet hit the ground. Measured in “revolutions” per minute.
  5. Derailleur – A system on a mountain bike, road bike or triathlon bike made of up sprockets and a chain with a method to move the chain from one to the other to cause the shifting of gears.
  6. DNF – Acronym for “Did Not Finish” (the race).

    Perfecting the dolphin dive into Decker Lake

    Perfecting the dolphin dive into Decker Lake.

  7. Dolphin Dive – a way to enter the water in a swim start where the water is shallow in order to start swimming right away.
  8. Fartlek – The definition of the Swedish word Fartlek is ‘speed play’ in English. Involves training at different paces and speeds within one training session and can be applied to all three triathlon disciplines; swimming, cycling and running.
  9. Ladder – an interval workout with progressively increasing then decreasing distances at each interval. For example, run fast for 400m, jog for 200m, run for 800m, jog for 200m, run for 1200m, jog for 200m, run for 800m, jog for 200m, run for 400m, jog for 200m. (BeginnerTriathlete.com)
  10. Open Water Swim (OWS) – swimming in a natural body of water (lake, river, ocean, bay)
  11. Podium – the first 3 competitors in each age group. I “podium’d”. Boom!
  12. PR – Acronym for “personal record.”
  13. Race Number Belt – A belt where you can attach your race number. This is helpful for putting on your number after the swim. You clip the belt around your waist with your number to the back (on the bike), and then when you run, you rotate your number to the front.

    Professional timing gives you accurate results as soon as you cross the finish line.

    Professional timing gives you accurate results as soon as you cross the finish line!

  14. Taper – The period of time before a race where you slow down the frequency and intensity of the workouts in order to give your body time to recover and rest before the event.
  15. Timing Chip – Usually handed out in race packets and is to be worn around your ankle during your tri. When you pass over certain points during a race, the timing chip registers your time for the official race results.
  16. Transition – Two time periods within a triathlon. T1 is the period of time between the swim and bike; T2 is the period of time between the bike and the run. Transition is also the physical area in the race where you will transition from one sport to another.
  17. Wetsuit “Legal” – a triathlon where the water is cold enough to wear a wetsuit, as often set forth in the USAT rules.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of some of the most common, essential triathlon terms used by athletes. Try them out during your Rooke Tri training and you’ll be ready to chat with the pros!