You come out of the water moving fast and see the boat ramp that you have to climb up to the transition area. You start running, and as you do you unzip your wetsuit and pull the top down to your waist. You get to your spot, and start trying to get the wetsuit off, stomping and stepping and pulling your legs up to try and get them out of the wetsuit legs. You finally get it off, with your legs a little tired, and possibly with a hip flexor strain. This might not sound bad, per se, but how could it be improved? I’ve got three simple tips:
1. Take your wetsuit all the way off as soon as possible. This is probably more important than anything else. The wetter your wetsuit is, the easier it is to get off. If you wait until the transition area to get it off, then it’s going to be drier than it was right after you got out of the water, and that much harder to remove. Granted, depending on your race it might not be possible to take your wetsuit off right at the water’s edge because you might be in the way of everyone else, but often it is quite easy to do without inconveniencing anyone else. If you’re lucky, the event will have wetsuit strippers (people at the water’s edge who strip off your wetsuit as you lay on your back on the ground) which is ideal. Also, you’re often really out of breath as you exit the intense swim. Pausing to take off your wetsuit at this point will help you catch your breath and lower your heart rate so that you can run up that boat ramp that much faster, whereas getting that break in the transition area doesn’t give you much of a benefit at all.
2. Use a lubricant on your wrists and ankles. Put Body Glide or a comparable product on the parts of your body where the wetsuit typically gets stuck, that is, the wrists and ankles. DO NOT use Vaseline or other petroleum based product, unless you want to ruin your wetsuit.
3. Don’t wear a watch. Your wetsuit can easily get stuck on your watch, especially if it’s a larger one. So just leave it off until after the swim. Ok, ok, if you really want the watch and it will help you swim faster, then fine. But I personally don’t have time to be looking at my wrist while I’m swimming, nor do I think knowing my time would help me much, but that’s just me. I’m just sayin’ that it will be that much easier to get your wetsuit off without one on.
Do you have any other tips for getting that triathlon wetsuit off as fast as possible? Do share.