Tips & Tricks
July 6, 2016
How to make your first swimrun race a success
Natalie Seymour and her sister/fellow swimrunner give their low down on racing Love SwimRun Llanberis - their first ever Swimrun experience. Which, incidentally, they won!
When I first heard about swimrun races, I was surprised to hear how the format worked...Swimming in trainers, really??!! Running in a wetsuit... Surely not?!? I will be honest I wasn't convinced it would be something I would enjoy, but as so many people seemed to giving it a go I thought, why not?!
As I looked into it more, the idea became more appealing... Beautiful locations, a bit of an adventure and a good excuse to need some more kit and try something that seemed a little bit bonkers. In addition, and a big plus for me, is that you can do it as a team, meaning that you can share the crazy day out with someone else. Who better to team up with than my sister. She needed some new motivation for training and couldn't get out on her bike as much, so this seemed like the perfect solution!
Here is a summary of my sister's experience. It captures the race brilliantly and I hold myself fully accountable for getting excited at the start and going off way too fast! Safe to say that the older sister always knows best!!
"Loveswimrun is an apt name for the event as all the competitors were enthusiastic at the start and seemed to leave the event with exactly this sentiment. My training had been a little sporadic, but my confidence was improved once Nat and I had done a few training sessions together and we found a pace that suited us (well me anyway!) Unfortunately due to an unexpected extra long work week I arrived in North Wales slightly sleep deprived. However, the gorgeous venue and friendly atmosphere meant that I had a big smile on my face on the start line, looking forward to the adventure ahead. This was followed by a bit of a panic and a desperate cry of 'Nats slow down' in the first swim! However we soon found a good pace for both of us and she kept me going, even up the tough zig zags of the slate quarry. I am now a convert to swimrun and I'm already looking for future events for teamseymour. Thanks to my lovely little sister for her patience and support and getting me round in one piece."
For me, this race was an excellent addition to some brilliant training volume in North Wales. However, if anyone asks me if they should do a swimrun race, my answer would definitely be a big YES! And, in order to help with your preparation, I thought I would share my top five tips for success!
1. FIND A GOOD TEAMMATE - I loved this race because I got to explore a Welsh lake and mountain with my sister. Pairing up with her was brilliant because we have a similar swim and run tempo, which made it easy to work together. It is important you can communicate well and know each other's strengths and weaknesses. Lou flew down the descents on the run and I kept her going up the hill!
2. GET THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT - The Orca Core SwimRun wetsuit was perfect. I felt buoyant in the water and comfortable on the run. The side pocket made it easy to carry the trauma bandage and an emergency gel and the front zip meant I had a chance to cool off whilst running. The bright armsare a great addition and Lou said she could always see me in the water and the support crew could always see us coming! We decided to go minimal on equipment with no pull buoy or tow boat. Whatever you decide to do make sure you have tried and tested it in training.
3. PRACTICE AND PRACTICE TOGETHER - My sister and I both have busy schedules, so training together was left fairly last minute. Nevertheless the two sessions we did together were crucial in our preparation. One because I learnt I could swim in trainers, two because we were able to plan our swim and run pace and three because we realised that swimming after running made the arms feel drained!
4. KNOW THE COURSE - Swimrun is not your typical out and back kind of route! This makes it great fun and gives a sense of exploration and adventure. With this, however, it is key to know the course as you don't want to find yourself off track in a race that already has a fair amount of distance in it. We had to stop and check we were on course in the swim, but this was a better strategy than going a long way off course. The run was well sign-posted, but it was very beneficial to have done it before and checked the course map before we started!
5. KEEP SMILING - Our race lasted 2 hours and 46 minutes. During this time we felt fatigued, the legs felt like they didn't want to run anymore and the arms like they were about to fall off. The best advice I can give is to expect this to happen, encourage your team mate, but most importantly try to smile through it!
I wish you luck in your next Swimrun race and hope you have as much fun as we did!