New to triathlon kit? Confused by all the different tri clothing brands?
Buying your first trisuit can be daunting. What is a trisuit? What does a trisuit do for you? Do you really need one if you are just starting out in triathlon?
Why you want a trisuit for your race…
No matter if you are training for your first race, or your second or your 50th… Yes, you do want to wear a trisuit on race day!
Doing a triathlon calls for kit that can comfortably see you through all three disciplines: the swim, the bike and the run.
You need an outfit that dries quickly after the swim so you don’t get cold.
You need something that fits like a glove.
You need slim, comfortable padding for protection on the bike, but a specialised pad that dries quickly.
You need kit that does not restrict your movement.
And most importantly for many women, you need a top that offers sufficient bust support for the high impact of running.
We also recommend purchasing your trisuit well in advance of the big day. There is an old adage about triathlons: “nothing new on race day” ever ever ever! You will be nervous enough as it is, so help calm your nerves by feeling confident and comfortable in your kit.
Do yourself a favour and buy your trisuit now! Don’t leave it to the last minute.
Why you can trust Trigirl
Trigirl is run by two female triathletes who are both extremely experienced fashion (and triathlon!) experts.
Kristin is a trained designer with years in the fashion industry. She is also a British Triathlon Federation Level 2 Coach, a certified Leader in Running Fitness and a Spinning® instructor. She runs her own triathlon club and is a five-time Ironman triathlete.
Pat is a garment technician specialising in active and technical sportswear. She has an MSc in Fashion Development and has over 20 years of experience in sportswear production. She is a two-time Half Ironman triathlete.
We race the races and we wear the product. We have had your race day nerves and your finish line frustrations. And, of course, your joy – oh so much triathlon joy!
Trigirl launched in 2007 with the mission to combine cutting-edge fabrics and innovative designs to develop trisuits just for women.
Over the years Trigirl has gathered a large fan base. Our trisuits are loved and cherished for making women feel good, whether they are doing their first triathlon or competing at a high standard.
Trigirl has stood the test of time. Trigirl stands for the best quality, workmanship and fit today just it did over 12 years ago when the brand first launched.
What Trigirl does for you
We are always happy to offer help and advice. Whether it’s about how our kit fits, what you need for your next race or where to begin with your training.
Our founder, designers and coach advisor can all be reached directly by email. The Trigirl.co.uk website is full of advice on training, racing, nutrition, women-only races and much more.
Being UK based, we can offer quick and efficient dispatch, free of charge to UK destinations with Royal Mail 1st class.
As a small company every customer matters and we are here for YOU.
Still not sure if Trigirl is the right trisuit for you? Try one on and see how you feel wearing it. If you are not happy, returning an order is easy. Returns are refunded or exchanged quickly. We want you to feel 100% happy and confident with your new Trigirl trisuit and with our service.*
We hear the question all of the time, ‘Should I buy a one-piece trisuit or two-piece trisuit?’
It should be a matter of personal preference, but it seems everyone wants to weigh in: ‘My coach said I should only get a one-piece’, ‘My friend says two-piece all the way’, ‘But the pros all wear one-pieces’… even I have written an article for Trigirl on why I love my two-piece trisuit!
However, there are pros for both options, so to help guide you in your choice, here are some of our favourite benefits of both one-piece and two-piece trisuits.
One-piece pros: The choice of professionals, one-piece trisuits offer a streamlined fit that is aerodynamic and supportive. Designed well (as Trigirl’s are!), they can be very flattering and comfortable. With a one-piece, you never have to worry about your stomach being exposed!
Two-piece pros: Two-piece trisuits offer a bit more flexibility if you wear a different size top-to-bottom. Though one-pieces are still flexible based on their stretch fabric, two-pieces offer the flexibility to order two-different sizes, which, for some, is more comfortable. Because of the separate top and bottom, there is the chance of stomach exposure, however, at Trigirl, we cut our tops a bit longer so that they don’t ride up, and our shorts with a higher back to keep them in place on the bike!
One-piece pros: a one-piece trisuit is great for racing, but it also is a really comfortable option for swim training. Since it’s basically a more constructed swimming costume, it is a supportive option and offers more coverage in the pool. Of course, a one-piece can also be used for cycling and run training as well.
Two-piece pros: two-piece trisuits are also great for training and racing. They offer the flexibility to wear each piece at a time. For example, I love to run-train in my tri shorts, but wear a running top because it’s a bit looser/ warmer/ has the logo from a race I’m really proud of. Or I cycle in my tri shorts, because I find them extra-comfortable, but I pair them with a cycling jersey for the extra-large pockets.
One-piece pros: ask ten people and you’ll probably get ten different answers as to why a one-piece functions best. From the aforementioned aerodynamic fit, to having less to fidget with to just being really comfortable, one-piece suits can offer great functionality in a trisuit.
Two-piece pros: Easy toilet stops. Race day equals nerves which usually means frequent toilet stops. Pulling down a pair of shorts is just easier than pulling down a one-piece. Beware of one-pieces with built-in sports bras during toilet stops – they are really tricky to get out of (and if you’re stuck in an emergency without a porta-potty, you basically have to strip naked on top – eek!) Fortunately, we’ve thought of that at Trigirl, so all of our one-pieces have a separate sports bra.
Perhaps more importantly than one- or two-piece, choose a high-quality trisuit, in fabrics that are durable, with seams that don’t chafe, a comfortable cycling pad, that is designed to fit. (Of course, Trigirl is the best!)
Choose a trisuit that works for you. No matter whether you choose one-piece trisuit or two-piece, you’re sure to shine!
So, you’re considering a triathlon. What’s next? What is triathlon, how do you sign up, how do you train, and most importantly, can you do it? Yes you can! Our beginner’s guide to triathlon will help you get started!
Triathlon is made up of swimming, biking, and running, typically done in succession, in that order. There are some races that mix the order up or involve kayaking instead of swimming, but these are less traditional.
Many people know of triathlon because of the world-famous Ironman, an endurance race featuring a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180 km) bike, and a 26.2-mile (42.2 k) run – yes, a full marathon, all in one go. Triathlon has spread around the world, with thousands clamouring to complete the Iron-distance, but many participating in much shorter races. In fact, the Olympic distance is a more manageable 0.9 mile swim, 25-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run. There are sprint races and super-sprint that are much shorter and can be completed by most in less than two hours… meaning there is a triathlon for almost everyone!
So how do you find a tri?
Triathlon is everywhere, but finding the right race for you can be difficult when you’re new. One easy way is to check out the British Triathlon Event Finder. You just type in your postcode and are led to races in your area. It’s a good idea to start with a sprint distance race and work your way up to longer distances so that your body has time to build up strength and endurance – without the likelihood of injury. And finishing your first race is a great confidence builder. This confidence will likely fuel your drive to continue in the sport and to perhaps move on to a longer distance!
Another great option are women’s only triathlons. There are plenty of races just for us girls that offer a supportive, fun environment minus the testosterone-fuelled competition that sometimes dominates racing with the boys.
An alternative way to choose a race – and to start training – is to join a club. Triathlon clubs typically have several group training sessions a week to help keep you motivated, as well as tons of information regarding recommended races in your area. Plus you’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals (and believe it or not, triathletes tend to work hard AND play hard, so they’re a pretty fun group!)
Joining a club (or even paying for a coaching group) is also a great way to learn more about training and to get fit with a group. If you’d really prefer going it alone (or just want to give tri a try before spending money on training), there are lots of free or inexpensive training plans online. We recommend Beginner Triathlete for a wealth of training advice and a good range of plans, or Trinewbies for a similar plethora of knowledge!
One thing a lot of training plans don’t mention is training for your transitions – these are the crucial moments between the three sports (in other words, when you transition from swim to bike or bike to run). Even if you’re not going for a record-breaking time, knowing what you’re doing in the “transition area” is key, so practice setting up your area. It’s important that you know where everything is, have everything visible so that you can see it for easy and quick changes, and that you don’t forget important things you need. We can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to start the run in your cycle helmet (or how sad you are when you get out on the bike and realize that you forgot your sunglasses or left your sports drink behind). Actually, we can tell you, because we’ve done both. Practice transitions!!
We are not going to lie to you – triathlon can get expensive. Race fees seem to have gone through the roof along with the popularity of triathlon, but there’s also a lot of equipment. Unless money is just burning a whole in your pocket, we’d recommend purchasing equipment as you go along. No matter what, you need some basics (swim goggles, bike and helmet, running shoes), but there is no need to splash out. Sign up for races that welcome beginners (trust us there are a lot!) and ride the bike that you already have.
Get by with the minimum and reward yourself for finishing the race with something new, be it your first triathlon-specific top (we recommend Trigirl!), a good wetsuit or some aerobars (aerobar tip – practice using them in training!). No need to spend loads of money and then decide the sport just isn’t for you!
Another great equipment tip we’ve picked up along the way? Nothing new on race day! That means train with everything you plan to wear, plan to eat, plan to use in any way. There’s nothing like socks that cause blisters (but you didn’t know because – ouch! – they’re new) or food that upsets your stomach (but you didn’t know because you trained solely on water) or even worse, to realize that you don’t know how to use your fancy new pedals or that your new goggles leak… Practice everything before the race including the kit that you intend to wear to avoid surprises!
Before the race even starts, know the course! It’s easiest to swim in the right direction when you know what that direction is. Hills on the bike won’t seem as daunting when you know where to expect them and you’ve trained for them. Pacing yourself will be easier when you have a good idea how far you have left to go. Most race websites provide good course descriptions, maps, and even turn-by-turn directions. You can sometimes also find race reports online from past participants.
Try to get a good estimate during your training about your comfort-levels in the swim. The triathlon start can be a disorienting and even frightening moment when the gun goes off and a huge group of arms and legs start swimming all at once. Position yourself according to comfort level and speed (if you’re uncomfortable and not-so-speedy, don’t get in the very front and centre of the crowd!) In fact, for your first race, it’s a good idea to keep out of the centre of the pack regardless. Keep calm and don’t go out too fast – it’s exciting, but you’ve got a long way to go!
After a well-practised transition, you’re on the bike – what now? Settle in. Take some sips from your water bottle and get yourself oriented. Sometimes it feels a little weird to start riding after spending time in the water. Get your legs moving in a low gear (the gears where your legs can move quickly and easily vs. pushing hard in a high gear) and then do what you’ve trained for – ride your bike. Again, remember, this is about combining three sports together, so while it’s fun to go fast, save something for the run!
Finally, this is what all of that training has been for. You’ve left your helmet in transition, pulled on your running shoes, and you’re off on the run. Depending on race distance, some pacing is perhaps still required, but this is where your brick workouts really come in to play. That strange feeling in your legs is expected and you know just about when you can expect it to go away. Have fun, work hard, and picture that finish line. You’re almost there, and you’re going to make it!
Once you’ve finished (and you will!), you can start dreaming of that next finish line – and planning how fast you’re going to get there!
Starting out and wondering what to wear in triathlon training and racing?
When it comes to competing in triathlon, the last thing you need to worry about is what to wear, right? Wrong! Choosing your triathlon clothing and packing your triathlon transition bag can be a challenging part of the sport- and one that very few train for! There’s nothing worse than training towards a big race, only to find that your kit doesn’t perform on the day or that you’ve forgotten to pack your cycling shoes.
To help you figure out what you need and why you need it, Trigirl is offering up our list of race day needs, hints and recommendations. Plus check out our handy printable race day checklist for all of the bits and pieces that you mustn’t forget when you head out early on the big day!
The first basic rule is: stay away from cotton. Cotton holds moisture and moisture causes everything from a saggy outfit to blisters and chafing. All of Trigirl’s kit is made from high-quality, wicking fabrics that will dry quickly and resist bacteria.
The beauty of triathlon-specific kit (a ‘trisuit’) is that it involves one outfit that is designed to function across all triathlon disciplines (there’s no time or place in a race to change!)
So, should you choose a one-piece or a two-piece trisuit?
A one-piece trisuit is a streamlined, sleek option. It will easily go from swim to bike to run with no worry that the top might ride up and is often the option chosen by the pros for aerodynamic benefits. Trigirl’s one-piece kit is designed to flatter, so even though it’s tight-fitting, you’ll feel comfortable and confident. Might we suggest the beautiful Trigirl Tri Tropical trisuit?
A two-piece kit can be more versatile. It makes it easy to mix your favourite top with your favourite shorts. A two-piece is therefore a great choice if you are a different size on top and bottom and it is perfect for racing and training.
Not to mention, two-pieces are a bit easier when a long race or race day nerves lead to frequent toilet stops! Trigirl’s two-piece kit is designed to be worry-free as well. The top stays where it is supposed to, the shorts are higher in the back waistband (never too low while cycling!). They have soft gripper tape in the legs so they don’t ride up.
And while we’re on the subject (sort of)- tri shorts are made with a comfortable built-in quick drying pads, so no knickers are required. Check out Trigirl’s two-piece sets for tops and shorts that are made for each other!
Triathlon Kit for the Swim
For the swim, you’ll need a swim hat. Most races provide these in colours that coordinate, no, not with your trisuit, but rather with your start wave. It’s always a good idea to pack an extra, just in case. You may even want to wear it under the cap provided for warmth in the case of very cold water.
And speaking of cold water, if you’re swimming in open water in the UK, the water is typically cold enough to make a wetsuit desirable (and if the water is under 14 degrees C, British Triathlon rules require one). The bad news is that wetsuits can be expensive; not ideal if you’re just starting out and have a lot of other triathlon clothing and equipment to purchase. The good news is that there are many wetsuit hire companies which allow you to hire a suit at a reasonable price. They may even apply the hire fee to the cost of purchase if you choose to buy the suit later.
Make sure that you get the wetsuit in time to try it at least once. Wetsuits take some getting used to and fit is paramount!
Triathlon Kit for the Bike and Run
For cycling, a helmet is not only a potential life-saver, it’s a piece of your kit that’s required by triathlon rules in every race. Choosing a comfortable helmet is key. Cycling is the longest stage of triathlon and since you’ll be using it to race and train, you’ll spend a lot of time sporting it. Try on different helmets and see what fits and feels comfortable for you. The main difference in expensive helmets and less expensive models is weight, not safety features. If you find a very comfy helmet at a low price point, it’s not necessary to spend a lot.
For the run leg, head gear is optional, but a billed cap is a good idea. For something so unassuming, a running cap does a lot to protect you from the elements, whether the day brings bright sun or heavy rain. Choose one that is breathable and comfortable.
Another important consideration is keeping your feet dry and comfortable. Not every triathlete wears socks (especially sprint-distance speedsters, trying to save precious seconds on their transition times). However, if you are prone to blisters or you’re going long, breathable, wicking socks are a must. Once again, absolutely NO cotton. There is a wide range of fibre contents and thicknesses on the market. Try out different socks in training to determine what’s best for you before a race.
One last (important!) suggestion- nothing new on race day. Plan your race day wardrobe in the same way that you’d plan what you’re wearing for other big days in your life.
Test out your kit in training so that you know you’re comfortable, confident and ready to race… all the way to the finish line!