Training for a SwimRun

The original concept of SwimRun had two very distinct differentiators that set it apart from other multi-sport formats and that is to always race in pairs and to do so over some EPIC distances.

These extreme distances are not always achievable for everyone and SwimRun started seeing shorter race formats being presented to ease entry-level multiport enthusiasts into the sport.

That is one of the reasons why we introduced the SHORT EXPERIENCE SwimRun of just over 8,5km to our race format, hoping to get ocean enthusiasts and avid sports lovers to join us on Race Day.

Racing in pairs is also not a concept everyone gravitates towards. Having a teammate ensures for a fun, sociable experience – plus, having an extra pair of hands ready to help during those slippery sections, also doesn’t hurt. But training with your teammate become vitally important, on top of finding the perfect partner that shares your fitness level, as well as your personality.

In other words, with SwimRun you will need a teammate that fits you even better than your wetsuit!

Fewer races tend to offer Solo entries. Luckily our SHORT EXPERIENCE race format gives you the option to register as an individual, as you ease into the exciting realm of this sport.

How to train for your first SwimRun race

Whether you decide to opt for the LONG ENDURANCE or the SHORT EXPERIENCE SwimRun format, we hope you will be able to find what you are looking for. Whether you choose to be paired and racing over long distances or solo over smaller distances, you will need to choose the event based on your level of fitness and then train for those distances.

The first endeavor into open water swimming can be a bit intimidating. We suggest you start off with a training spot where you will be able to stay close to shore or shallow waters where you can stand in.

Remember the tow float that makes you highly visible and gives you something to hold onto if you get tired or even experience a cramp (bring a friend to keep an eye on you from the shore).

Practice your sighting by lifting your head out of the water to see where you are going. Because there are no lines on the bottom of a lake to keep you in a straight line, you have to pick a focal point and make sure you are swimming toward it.

Learning to breathe bilaterally (breathing on both sides) is also especially helpful in the open water as you may find that the waves are hitting you on the right or you are staring into the sun on the left.

Here are a few other things to help get you started:

Training with your partner – swimming

One of the hardest things to train for with your partner is syncing your swimming. In most teams, one team member will be a stronger swimmer, so typically with every swim leg, the stronger swimmer leads while the weaker swimmer should swim directly behind. Another technique is swimming next to each other, but entails a different kind of challenge – eyeballing! Facing each other with every stroke can be a bit disturbing, so we suggest you train to breathe on either side.

Training with your partner – running

Running together will be easier, one following the other is often better than side by side. When running side by side you tend to inadvertently up the pace and talk too much. If one of you is the stronger runner, then let the slower runner set the pace by running up front. This way you won’t lose each other, and you will have a pace that you can both cope with. Knowing things like steering the same pace on uphills etc. will help you train and communicate a strategy that fits both parties.

Training – for transitions

Training your swimming and running individually is just as important as your SwimRun and transition training. You really need to practice your transitions from land to water and vice versa. The physical demand of going from running to swimming needs to be trained too – whilst swimming after a run is more about being able to regulate your breathing, running after a hard swim requires your legs to adapt to both the rigorous and the mechanics of running as soon as you exit the water. Training your body for these changes is important or you’ll soon become exhausted!

Training – with your SwimRun kit

One of the best things about SwimRun is that unlike triathlon there are no transition areas and no faffing about changing gear – you simply put your kit on, cross the start line and keep moving. Another unique thing about SwimRun is that the rules allow you to use additional equipment to help you, for example, swimming and flotation aids.

It is of the utmost importance to train in your kit before race day in order to best know how to utilise it and be comfortable with its placement throughout your race. Hand paddles are notorious for putting a lot of strain on your shoulders if you have not built the muscles up yet, so best you start training with them first.