What To Wear For A Fall Ironman Triathlon

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If you’re racing at this year’s Ironman Maryland, you obviously already know that it was rescheduled due to the weather from October 3rd to October 17th. But the adjustment to training isn’t the only thing that you need to think about. The change in date also brought with it some cooler weather and may have left you scrambling to change your plans for what to wear for a fall Ironman triathlon.

Well, no need to get nervous. Just like training in cooler weather, racing is mostly a matter of personal preference and what temperatures you’re comfortable at.

So, what should you wear for a cool weather Ironman triathlon?

What To Wear For A Fall Ironman Triathlon

To get you started, here are some things to think about as you plan your race and transition bags.

  • You’ll want to wear the clothes you’ve already used in training.  Remember – nothing new on race day.
  • It’s easy to forget what to wear in the fall after training in the heat all summer. So, try to get in some workouts in the morning when it’s cooler out so you can try out what works.
  • Neoprene booties are allowed at water temperatures of 65 degrees or colder for Ironman races, but you should also check with the athlete guide and with the race official.  If this is the case, they’ll bring it up at the athlete meeting/briefing.
  • If you want to be dry while on the bike, consider putting a towel in your T1 bag to dry off after the swim. It doesn’t take very long to quickly dry off and you’ll be happy you aren’t soaking wet while on the bike in those temperatures.
  • If you’re the type of person that warms up & sweats easily, you most likely will like using arm warmers and knee warmers because you can pull them down or pull them off when you warm up (especially if you like working out in shorts in those temperatures).  A long sleeve jersey would work for someone who takes a while to warm up or likes to be warm when working out. Full bike gloves are also a good idea.
  • You can always put in a couple of extra things that you might need in your transition bags, like running gloves and vest, that you think you might need. There’s no rule saying you have to use everything in your transition bag.

I’m sure you already have an idea of what the temps will be at the start & the highs for the day.  (What Ironman athlete doesn’t keep a constant eye on race day weather??) When it gets closer to race day, you’ll have a better idea of what the actual temperatures will be along with wind speed.  

The key is knowing the temperature range for the day: what the temperature will be while your cycling, and what the temperature will be when you’re running, as well as if you’ll be finishing the run when the sun is up or after the sun goes down.  Combine that with knowing how you like dressing for those temperatures when you train.  It’s very individual because some people heat up quickly, whereas some people either don’t heat up or cool off quickly.

Bicycling Magazine does a nice job of summarizing what to wear on the bike at different temperatures.

And Runner’s World has a page on what to wear while running.

Triathlons in the fall are actually pretty nice, and a fun change from summer races.  So try not to worry too much, remind yourself that you’ve done the training you need to get to the finish line. And you’ve trained in the fall and cool weather before, so it won’t be anything completely new.

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