ASK BETTY: WHY RACING IN A BLACK KIT IN A HOT CLIMATE WILL NOT SABOTAGE YOUR RACE
by Kristin Mayer·
As women we ALWAYS want to look good on race day. Choosing our race outfit is just as important as our nutrition and equipment. For many of us that means wearing black.
If, however, you are a triathlete who panics at the thought of racing in the heat and you are considering wearing an all white kit to keep you cool (please God no – don’t do it ) the good news is that you don’t have to ditch your beloved black kit on race day.
The fear about wearing black is rational albeit, in our experience, incorrect. We all know that if you touch a black car on a hot sunny day it will feel hot. That is because the metal in your car acts like a heat sink. The good news for you is that 1) your kit is a thin piece of cloth and not a hunk of metal 2) you are not a machine. Unlike a car, you sweat and thermoregulate to help you manage the heat.
In our experience outfitting thousands of athletes, if you get hot racing in the heat it is, well, because you get hot racing in the heat. Some people do better in the heat than others and wearing a black kit won't likely put you over the edge. The only way you can deal with heat is to train in the heat to get used to it or get new parents and new genetics. Worrying about a few millimeters of breathable cloth is not going to appreciably change how hot you are on race day. Wearing a white kit will just make you look wet and nasty when you get out of the water and make you cringe when you see your pictures on race day.
Don’t believe us – how about looking at what they professionals do? Do you think that professionals with money and Kona points on the line would wear black kits if they were really a detriment? I have been designing kits for professional athletes for dozens of years. Professionals like Craig Alexander, Luke McKenzie and Beth Gerdes sport black kits and don’t give it a second thought.
If that were not enough to convince you, here are a few more reasons why black may be the correct decision in race day:
1) Black makes everyone look better. It's true. It's slimming + sexy.
2) Black doesn't get dirty. When coming out of a muddy lake swim your kit won't be ruined. How many times have you seen someone in a light-colored kit cross a finish line looking filthy. Racing XTERRA? Don't even get me started. Wearing a black kit allows for spilling colored electrolyte drinks down your front, charging through puddles on your bike and wiping sticky hands on your shorts.
3) Todays fabrics are not the same as your parents wore in 1985. With today's technology in fabrics, kits are much more ventilated, breathable and lightweight. We also have aid stations on the run. Grab some ice. Stick it down your pants. You may shriek but it will help cool down your core temperature.