Female Triathletes: 5 Tips & Advice Just For Us

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

5 Suggestions for Female Triathletes

female triathletes in wetsuits at Ironman Barcelona
Ironwomen & Donna McConnell (📸 Carlos Mario)

Women are physically and mentally built differently than men. When training for and competing in triathlons and duathlons, they each have their own set of motivators and challenges to overcome.


Taking a female-centric approach to your triathlon and the multisport experience can be far more rewarding and enjoyable than simply following what the men do or have normalized.


Majority of our endurance duathlon and triathlon race attendees identify as female so we have a vested interest in all of them succeeding.


Follow these female triathlete tips, shared with you by women, to make your triathlon training and racing experience even better.

Train In Your Race Kit


Guys have it easy: no curves to make their shorts look a bit weird or their shirts fit peculiarly; no sports bras to deal with; and no long hair to mess with. It's almost as if the males are a one-size-fits-all crowd. That is not the case for women.


Triathlon clothing for women bunches, rides, rubs, and pulls, and this discomfort can make or break a race.

Not to mention the hair; finding the perfect hairstyle—one that easily transitions from swim cap to bike helmet to visor—can be difficult. We find this true for female triathletes regardless of length, hair types, race and all ages.


Put on your kit and practice training in it. Perform a few brick workouts or practice triathlons to ensure that your clothes and hair will not bother you on race day.


Discover a Good Sports Bra


Women have a high pain threshold. They frequently believe that something is normal, even if it is irritating. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the  use of a sports bra. Plenty of female triathletes have been rewarded for their training and racing efforts with chafing so bad where their sports tops have rubbed them raw at some point.


Body Glide can be a lifesaver in many situations, but it cannot protect you from an ill-fitting sports bra. Do yourself a favor and go to a local running store, (Dick's or Academy are excellent choices) and request a fitting. When you've found the perfect bra for you, buy two. Diana keeps an extra bra in her training bag that she keeps in the car - just in case she need to go on an impromptu run.


Make Use of Body Glide


Even the most expensive triathlon kit and clothing rubs. Let's visualize  what actually happens.  That is, you've just immersed yourself in water and then gone for several hours of repetitive motion on the bike and run. This is where Body Glide comes into play. Apply it to all of your sensitive spots the morning of the race. Leslie Bonner , an middle of the pack triathlete, says "Use it in your shorts and on all of your chamois' seams. It can also be used to prevent chaffing on the inside of your arms while swimming or running."


Trislide (brand of body glide) could also be useful on your ankles and wrists to aid in wetsuit removal, on your neck where your wetsuit may rub, and under your bra line.


Bike Tip: Learn to Change Your Own Flats


Making sure your equipment is tuned up is an important part of race day. Are the tires inflated? Is your chain properly lubricated? Is everything up and running? Do you have extra tubes, a tire lever, a pump, or a CO2 cartridge? Just as important is knowing how to do and use these bike maintenance items.


A flat tire does not have to result in a DNF (did not finish) on race day. Sure, you'll lose a few minutes, but if you know how to help yourself, you'll be back up and running in no time and not stuck waiting for SAG race support to come rescue you.


Practice changing a flat tire in your down time or on rest day. Change your tubes at home even if you don't have a flat tire. Just make sure to let some air out of the tire tube before removing it.

SwimBikeRun Fun Club Crew at Kerrville Triathlon

Connect with Some other Women


I'm a happy person. I have more fun on the course if I can connect with other people, so I smile at other triathletes during a race. But it's mostly for selfish reasons. When I smile or give air fist bump, I usually get a smile in return, which is what keeps me going. One thing I've noticed is that women are more likely than men to return a smile.


Make the most of that positive energy. While you're waiting for your wave to begin, talk with the female triathletes. Make it a point to smile at other race competitors as they ride or run by. It could be the boost you need during the most difficult part of the race.


Sign up for a women-only triathlon or duathlon event if you need a real pick-me-up. They provide an ideal racing experience for both novices and veterans looking for a dose of genuine camaraderie.

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