September 27, 2018
SWIMRUN SERIES| Race Preparation | How to prepare for swimming for Swimrun
Just like in the last post, let's discuss training, but this time in the water.
Training for the footrace portion of a Swimrun can be different from doing it for another type of swim race.
There are several elements that make the swimming portion of a swimrun very different from a traditional open water race or the swimming portion of a triathlon: you will go through different transitions, use specific support materials and you will compete in pairs, so preparing for these particular conditions will be the key to succeeding in your next race.
TIP 1 | PROGRESSIVELY INCREASE YOUR DISTANCES
One of the key factors that makes the swimming portion of a Swimrun different from typical open water swimming or from the swimming portion that you would have to complete in a triathlon is that in addition to it sometimes being long distance, you will have to it in chunks.
That is, instead of swimming one distance continuously, you will have to complete interwoven footraces in between swimming segments, which will cause your muscles to become fatigued in a different way than you are used to. Adapting to these new conditions as early as possible will be the key to not suffering (at least in excess) during the race.
In order to do this, even if you have to train in a pool, we suggest trying to recreate the race conditions as closely as possible to those you will face the day of the race:
First, figure out the total distance you will have to cover on the day of the race and gradually increase your distances in your training sessions to reach the total distance.
Second, determine the total distance you will have to cover as well as the distance of each segment and train while taking breaks. That is, if the total distance of the race is 7km but it is divided into segments of 700m, 500m, 250m, 700m... train in blocks of those same distances.
Finally, it is important that when possible, you opt to swim in open water (in lakes or in the ocean depending on where the race is) to get used to the real race conditions and that you include small runs on foot so that your muscles can adapt to the sensations you will experience on the day of the race.
TIP 2 | TRAIN FOR SWIMMING WITH THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
As we mentioned in the previous post, test out the equipment you will need on the day of the race during your training session in order to make sure it doesn't cause you discomfort and that your equipment will not be a problem for you the big day. This is particularly important when it comes to swimrun.
One of the main things that you definitely have to get used to is the fact that you will have to swim with your running shoes on. This can affect your technique and your positioning in the water, so it is essential that you get used to these new circumstances.
On the other hand, there are factors that can help you swim faster such as the use of swim paddles or devices that help to improve your buoyancy in the water in order to compensate for the weight of your shoes such as a pull buoy or calf guards with extra buoyancy, but make sure you feel really comfortable competing with this additional equipment since you will be carrying it with you throughout the race.
Finally, even if you are used to swimming with a wetsuit, if you opt for a specific swimrun wetsuit, you will be facing different conditions than the ones you are used to in other races (open water swimming/triathlon). You will have the option to choose different amounts of buoyancy in wetsuits, lighter and heavier materials, etc. Also note that in most cases you will be swimming with a race bib and carrying food with you, so it is important to get used to new sensations that will affect your drag.