TRIATHLON : 10 TIPS TO BE READY FOR THE SWIM LEG  

“It's a fight”, “What am I doing here?”, “Someone hit my head again'”... Aptonia helps you get ready for your triathlon swim!

 

Swimming is the first discipline of this triple sport, and it should not be overlooked! Whether the start is given in a pool or in open water, below are a few hints and tips that will help you for the rest of the race. If you give everything you have during the swim, what will be left for cycling and running? How to maintain the pace? How not to end up breathless? How to save energy for the rest? We share 10 tips to be ready for the swim leg, whatever the environment (as long as it is... in water)!

 

5 TIPS IN POOLS

If you are lucky, you can choose where you want to train. Outdoor pool, sea, lake... Unfortunately, most triathletes must make do with a swimming pool training most of the time. Aptonia will help you make your training sessions easier and your swim starts (pool) more pleasant with these 5 little tips!

 

1/ Work your technique

It's not only about laps! A good swimmer will tire less quickly, move faster in the water and go the distance. In triathlon, you need to pace your efforts. The energy you save up during the swim, you can use it for the rest. The most effective way is to take customized lessons, but there is a solution for every budget! Triathlon clubs where the lessons are included in the membership fee; group classes (less expensive); the informed advice of the best swimmer of the pool or other types of advice on YouTube!

 

2/ Learn how to breathe

It's difficult to coordinate the movements, breathe, kick, sighting, etc. Everyone has their own technique, every two strokes, every three strokes... It does not matter as long as you find your own rhythm. Inhale out of the water (it's best!) and exhale under the water, and not at the next breathing. Like with the technique, you need to find your rhythm and bring everything together! It may be difficult to learn everything at the same time, so you can start with a front snorkel! 

 

3/ Assess your level

For a pool triathlon start, ask the persons who share your swim lane what time they think they achieve and define a “swimming order”. If one of them thinks they have a lower lap time than you, don't tire yourself trying to leave first. You will have to fight even more to keep your position in the lane! It will result in fatigue (faster swim), stress (being overtaken, doing a turn as you can) and maybe losing count in the end!

If you think you can take the lead, we have a small hint to stand out: start by swimming flat out for 9 strokes (no breathing). Not turning your head to breathe will save you some time too! Then you can swim more slowly.

 

4/ Choose appropriate goggles

Your  goggle choice may be critical. Adjustable nose bridge, adjustable goggles, tinted or clear lenses... But how to choose? It's simple: for workouts, use the ones you feel more comfortable with. In pools, clear lenses are preferred for better visibility. And for the race, opt for more flexible goggles to avoid injuries in case someone hits you!

 

5/ Count your laps

In competition, remember to  count your laps! There is always a person per lane to count the laps, but it may happen that you swim an extra 50m. So count your laps, and practise counting them, because it's easy to lose count!

 

jour-j-natation

5 TIPS FOR OPEN WATER SWIMMING

Open water swimming is significantly different from pool swimming. Depending on the water temperature, you will have to wear a wetsuit and that requires preparation too. We share with you 5 tips to get used to open water swim in triathlon!

 

1/ Practise in open water

Getting used to the water temperature, putting on a wetsuit properly, swimming straight and "taming open waters". These are a few criteria that will help you be ready for your swim start. And it requires training too! You must be aware that there are few places where the water is clear in natural environments and not seeing the bottom can raise fears. Swimming in a large body of water with no landmarks is not that simple. Test different outdoor water points before the race, because each ocean, lake or dam will provide different sensations!

 

2/ Test the water temperature

All triathletes will tell you that entering cold water is not child's play, but it is not insurmountable! There are a few things you need to know to help your body deal with the temperature shock! Enter the water a few minutes before the start to have enough time to enter slowly. Splash some water on your neck and face. Once you are in the water, start moving immediately and let some water run inside your wetsuit. It will warm up to your body temperature and will create an extra barrier against cold water. Finally, put your head in the water (with a double cap if necessary) and reposition your wetsuit if necessary. There should be no air at the armpits and it should fit snugly at the shoulders.

 

3/ Learn to find your way

Swimming in open water can be more tiring because you may deviate from your course! A few triathletes ended up swimming several hundreds additional meters. Proper orientation will help, once again, save your energy. To do so, two very simple tips: look in front of you and find a visual reference other than a buoy. The size and colour of the buoys may make them difficult to spot them during the race. They could be small and sometimes they're the same colour as the organisation's swimcaps. So find a much larger visual reference! A tree that is somewhat different, a building, anything that will help you stay on your course. Never rely on a swimmer in a neon suit or on the swimmer besides you. If they deviate… so will you.

 

4/ Adapt your breathing to the environment

Swimming in open water also requires adaptability. To find your way, you need to look ahead. You don't need to sight at each breathing, but every two or three strokes, lift your head instead of turning it. If you are lucky and the sun is shining, breathe to the other side (but beware of sun reflections on glazed buildings). Wearing tinted goggles will make a significant difference! If someone is kicking hard or creating great water movements besides you, don't risk swallowing mouthfuls (it's neither good nor pleasant) and breathe to the other side.

 

 

5/ Be prepared for transition

Wearing a neoprene wetsuit promotes buoyancy. So you don't need as much leg kick power. If you just swam a long distance, remember to kick your legs before going out of the water. You will go from a horizontal position to a vertical position and probably start running. Kicking the legs will allow your blood to flow in the legs and most importantly to get you going again. It's a sort of preparation for your transition!

 

Because you never get too much advice, here's our last, but not least, tip! When you get out of the water, take off the upper part of your wetsuit. It will let you run with more ease, and most importantly, your wetsuit is easier to remove when it still has water in it. The more you wait, the more it sticks to your body! But remember, you are allowed to remove your wetsuit entirely in the transition area only.

 

All these tips will help you do faster-paced, and more pleasant workouts. Your triathlon starts will be less stressful and surely more effective, even though they still look like a battlefield. In the end, preparation will allow you to enjoy your race more, but also to have a different experience of it!

 

Marine B.

 

 

photo conseiller

Marine

J'ai pratiqué le Hockey sur glace pendant plus de 10 ans pour raccrocher les patins et me tourner vers le triathlon! Je cours sur les distances S et M et cette année je vais me lancer sur le format L sur l'ironman 70.3 du Luxembourg. Le triathlon est vraiment devenu un mode de vie et m'apporte énormément au quotidien (passion que je partage avec mon compagnon également)! En dehors de ça j'adore lire et je suis aussi une accro aux séries!

CHECK OUT OUR ADVICE TO PROGRESS IN TRIATHLON ! 

Advice
zone-transition
You want to take the leap and start doing triathlons? Your friends challenged you? You want to know the pleasure of crossing the finish line but you don't really know what will happen? Find out how triathlon goes and our advice to fully enjoy your first experience.
Advice
transition2
That's it, you take on your first triathlon and you wonder how to switch from one discipline to the other without wasting too much time? Or maybe you've already experienced the three-discipline event and want to work on faster transitions? This article is for you!
TOP OF PAGE