Choose your race wisely
Start off with a short distance race such as an OtillO Sprint, then build up longer races. Most range from 25km to 50km. Be realistic about your fitness and ability, Swimrun is a challenging sport but also hugely rewarding! With the right training and commitment you can quickly progress.
Work out what kit you really need
Are you a purest or an evolutionist? Don’t go overboard with shiny new stuff until you’re sure which approach suits you best!
- Mandatory kit. Check your individual race brief, but this usually includes a compass, a whistle and a pressure bandage, plus a wetsuit, ideally one designed for swimrun.
- Pull buoy. This allows you to rest your legs while swimming and minimises drag. It’ll be fastened to your body with a bungee while you’re running, so do make sure it can’t slip.
- Hand paddles. Make sure you master the technique in advance, otherwise you may find them more of a hindrance than a help.
- You’ll be running on rough technical terrain – think slippery rocks – so you’ll want light shoes that drain quickly and don’t drag during swims. A good option is the Vivobarefoot Swimrun Trail FG, one of the only brands to make dedicated swimrun footwear.
- And finally … lube. Chafing can be a bigissue, but healthy dollops of Vaseline on the back of your neck, knees and ankles can ease the problem. No point trying water-based alternatives – they don’t last!
Practice your transitions
You have to enter and get out of the water dozens of time through a race. It’s wise to practise, practise, practise until your transitions are sleek and you feel totally at ease with your gear.
Work on your running
The swims are obviously important, but they’re not where you’ll make up most ground – in fact the real pros often think of them as ‘rest periods’. Make sure your running technique is rock solid, so there’s no risk you’ll fall back on a sloppy, heavy style when you’re tired. Lots of swimrunners find mimimalist or barefoot running techniques work well over long distances.
You are a TEAM
Swimrun races are almost always a pairs event, with a maximum of 10m between you and your partner. Although this is partly for safety, the camaraderie that comes from working together is one of the most incredible things about Swimrun. Train as much as you can as a pair – especially if you’re usually more of a lone wolf! Going through swimrun with another person creates an amazing bond, so when the going gets tough, supporting your partner is as important as running your own race. If you can keep each other smiling, you’ll have an amazing time no matter what.
And finally, enjoy it!