B2P Sports Tip For Putting On A Wetsuit
Putting on your wetsuit is fairly self explanatory, but here are some pointers to help you.
To start with, it is probably easiest to sit down to begin putting the suit on. When doing so be very careful not to sit on rough surfaces that can damage the suit. The body should be dry, not wet. Also, it is best to use some soft gloves to avoid cutting the neoprene with your nails. It is advised to remove any watches or jewellery for the same reason and make sure that the clothes worn underneath are not crumpled and the zips are flat so they do not cause rubbing. Strange though it may seem, plastic bags on your feet and hands will make this task seem effortless!
The first step to putting on your wetsuit is the feet. Find a good place to sit and slip one leg in. Don’t force the foot through yet and make sure the suit is the correct way round i.e. the zipper is lined up to be on your back. Grab the suit on either side of your leg and point your toes, then push your foot through. Try to do this in one movement, as it puts less stress on the seams. Repeat these steps with your other foot.
Now that you have your feet in the suit, stand up and pull up the waist of the wetsuit. The wetsuit will tend to stick to itself and your skin, so gently pull up the places that are stuck. You want to pull the legs of the suit up the body as high as you can without straining. Ensure there are no folds, no air pockets and no creases behind the back of the leg as this will cause chafing when kicking in the swim. The wetsuit should be 5-14cm above the anklebone for easier removal. Neoprene around the ankle inhibits flexibility when kicking. The suit will not be tight against your crotch yet, that comes in a later step.
The next step to getting the suit on is moving onto the upper body. With the legs on, you should now be able to put your arms in the sleeves and pull the suit over your shoulders. To pull the wetsuit over your arm, close your hand or clench your fist and put one hand in at a time so as not to damage the inside of the suit with your nails or accidentally pull a finger back. Work the material up your arms until the suit covers both shoulders.
Pulling the suit over your shoulders should make it easier to get the suit tightly against your crotch. At this point you should swing your arms so the suit will evenly disperse over your whole body before you zip it up.
While it is easier to have someone help you zip up the suit, it is recommended that you learn to do it yourself. It may take some practice, but it will be worth it when you are in a situation where no one is around to help. To make the zipper slide more easily, push your shoulder blades together, this will bring the material on your back closer together. Do not put excessive force on the zipper. And make sure you always pull in the same line as the zip runs, while holding the base of the zipper with your spare hand.
How does it feel now?
At this point you are maybe sweating and uncomfortable because the suit is too hot. This is normal. The suits are especially hot out of the water, but they will naturally shift and cool slightly as soon as you get in the water.
Typically you should allow 10-20 minutes for the first time you do this and 10-15 minutes before an event. It could take you less, but you want to get the fit perfect and then concentrate on the swim rather than something rubbing during the race. 2XU body glide is an excellent lubricant that will help reduce the onset of sores caused by abrasion of the skin.
Tips from B2P – swimming in a Triathlon wetsuit
Things you need to know about a Triathlon specific wetsuit –
1. You will often feel more buoyant in a triathlon wetsuit, so you may over roll when breathing. This is something you want to avoid. Forward motion is required not sideways resistance movement.
2. The wetsuit will help you glide by being more streamlined and buoyant so use this to your advantage by doing long slow strokes. A comparison would be cycling down a hill you can cycle in a harder gear.
3. When wearing a wetsuit, the recovery phase is often minimised due to less flexibility in the shoulders area. Concentrate on this, so you can recover fully ready for the next powerful stroke.
4. Wearing a Triathlon wetsuit will feel tight and almost claustrophobic to some people. On dry land you may get hot putting it on, but once in the water and after practise, you may not even notice you are wearing it.
3. Less kick is needed to keep you stay buoyant in a Triathlon wetsuit, so often shallow kicking is the best option.
4. A swim session in the pool wearing your wetsuit in familiar territory is advisable before your triathlon. You may need to get permission, as some swimming pools do not allow you to use wetsuits in a public session. The best option is to contact your local Tri club to find out when they train. Remember if you do practise in a swimming pool, wash out the suit thoroughly as the chlorine can destroy the seams.
5. Taking your wetsuit off should be easier than getting it on, especially when it is wet. Remove one arm at a time and peel the wetsuit away from your body. You should remove one foot at a time and step backwards as you pull your foot through each of the legs. This is something worth practising a few times before a race.
Finally enjoy your swim!