Everything You Wanted to Know About Triathlon (but were afraid to ask)

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Top-10 triathlon contender Brandon Marsh answers five questions you’ve probably been afraid to ask the triathletes in your life.

1.           Do you wear underwear with cycling shorts?

No. You don’t wear underwear with cycling shorts. Cycling shorts are form fitting and are made to be worn without under garments.   Undergarments tend to chafe and just make your life miserable.

2.           What’s the deal with Vaseline?

It’s not uncommon to see a triathlete dip his hands into a jar of Vaseline and then put those same hands inside his shorts. It’s not anything weird. He is just trying to prevent the chafing mentioned above.   This is especially true on race day when you typically wear different clothing than you normally wear when training.

3.           Do you pee in your wetsuit?

I had a swim coach once upon a time who said that’s what “chlorine is for” when someone asked to get out of the pool to  use the bathroom. Honestly, though, anyone who says  they don’t pee in their wetsuit is probably lying to you.   If it’s a rental or borrowed suit…then clearly you should try NOT to do so.

4.           Do women wear a swimsuit or bike tights/shorts for the race?

In the old days, everyone raced in a swimsuit…men in a proper Speedo-style suit and women usually in a one-piece-style swimsuit.   Now, most people (men and women) wear a pair of tri-shorts and a tri-top for racing. Tri-shorts are essentially cycling shorts with a smaller pad in them.   A tri-top is a tight fitting top that may or may not have a bra in it for support…or so Amy tells me.

5.           What is a “full” triathlon?

I used to say that I’d done a ton of “full” triathlons since I always completed the whole swim, the whole bike, and the whole run of every race I competed in.   But what people usually mean when they refer to a “full” triathlon is an Ironman triathlon.   An Ironman triathlon is 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling, and 26.2 miles of running.   I still stand by the fact that as long as you complete any triathlon with swim, bike, and run portions, you have done a “full” triathlon.

Vitacost is giving away four entries into a 2012 Ironman Triathlon or Ironman 70.3 Triathlon. Click here to enter.

Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at ask.the.triathletes@gmail.com. On Twitter, follow Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and follow Amy @AmyCMarsh.