Should I wear a sports bra under my tri suit is actually a question I get a lot. You lads have it lucky never having to fret about these intricacies of clothing changes. Anyway ladies, this is a serious question that causes many women, a lot of anguish and sometimes embarrassment.
Especially at the beginning of your triathlon journey there is a lot of head scratching. If you swim first and there is nowhere to change between disciplines and public nudity is forbidden, how do you best transition from swim to bike to run without exposing yourself to either copious amounts of chaffing, the wet nappy look or public nudity and therefore disqualification?
Triathlon sports bras are as essential to good running as a decent pair of trainers. It is important to support the delicate breast tissue during running for your own health, to prevent long term sagging and if you are on the larger side, to prevent discomfort.
As you cannot do a full costume change between disciplines, are you meant to be wearing your sports bra under your trisuit from the beginning or does it appear somewhere later on in proceedings?
Shall I Not Wear A Sports Bra Under My Trisuit At All?
Your clothing must be strategically planned (and well-tested) in advance.
If you have a smaller cup size, a compression-style crop top will be enough. In other words, a standard trisuit is perfect or a triathlon crop top. You will not require an extra sports bra as well as this. Some female athletes also choose to wear a supportive one piece swimming costume under their trisuit instead of a sports bra. Test this method as well
Here some recommended ones:
Fitglam Womens Workout Sports Bra Seamless with Racerback 3/2/1pack
Adjustable Sports Bra -Max Support, Double Layer Wicking Microfiber -Active1st
For women with bigger busts, an encapsulating style (with separate cups) is recommended. Because encapsulating styles typically involve more fabric layers, your clothes won’t dry as quick as standard quick-drying tri suits but make sure to choose a good sports bra with moisture wicking properties.
Remember plenty of larger breasted women successfully compete in triathlon so do not let this be an excuse. In fact many women compete when they are pregnant as well. If you are pregnant or planning to be check out this post on triathlon training in pregnancy.
Wacoal Women’s Sport Contour Bra
Astarin Womens Racerback Sports Bra Front Closure Pack
What Else To Know Before Choosing A Sports Bra To Wear Under My Trisuit?
Other important factors to insist upon in your sports bra include:
- Non-chafe material
- Flat seams
- No under wires
- Ergonomic support
- No extra padding at the chest as this will not dry and will retain water the whole race and be even more weight to carry around
- Wide shoulder straps to evenly-distribute shoulder support
- Test it out over your race length many times before race day and make sure it is comfortable
Any Tips To Correctly Size My Sports Bra Under My Trisuit?
A sports bra should feel firmer than your normal bra without being tight or restricting. Remember you must be able to swim, bike and run in it.
The bottom band of a sports bra should be horizontally level.
If the back rides up, the bra is either too big or the straps are too tight. In bras with separate cups, the center piece should lie flat on your breastbone. Make sure the cup covers the breasts and you do not have any skin hanging out over the top or at the bottom!
Here are some tips on how to make sure it fits you well:
Make sure you replace your sports bra regularly. Do not hang to old ones that have lost their support and have compromised elastic. This is more important than replacing your running shoes frequently. This is very important as breasts have no muscle tissue, once they start to sag, they do not go back!
Which Trisuit Works Best?
A two piece is usually best especially for beginners due to nervousness about toilet issues. It is not uncommon to have to go several times on race morning due to nerves. A two piece trisuit is so much easier logistically to manage. Alternatively many people just wear a tri singlet and tri shorts. This is absolutely fine and for most people is more comfortable to be a bit more covered up than a crop top ( unless you have already sporting a toned six-pack)
Saying that elites athletes often opt for a one piece tri suit due to aerodynamic benefits. Unless you are elite, you probably wont be going fast enough to gain any aerodynamic benefits.
TYR Sport Women’s Sport Competitor Trisuit with Front Zipper
2XU Women’s Perform Tri Singlet
Pearl Izumi Women’s Select Tri Shorts
How Does It Work When I Wear My Sports Bra Under My Trisuit
If you are A, B, C cup you should be comfortable in just a trisuit without a sports bra. You can wear your trisuit under your wetsuit if you need one for colder water.
Trisuits are designed specifically to be quick drying so you can wear them swimming, then jump straight on the bike, then run without a change of clothes.
Do not wear any underwear underneath it as it will retain water, make you heavier, risk getting cold and will chafe.
If, however you are D cup and above, you will be more comfortable with a sports bra under your trisuit. Buy a sports specific one like the above so it dries quick. As above, wear no underwear on your bottom half. You do not need it.
Many beginners have made this mistake and look like there are running with a wet nappy. (Not a good look!)
I hope this has been helpful to demystify the logistics of getting to the start line!
Any questions, please feel free to email me
In the meantime, keep training, keep moving forward!
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