Triathlon Training Tips: Swim

Training for a tri? The swim’s the bit most people tend to worry about but these tips from bespoke triathlon coaching service ABCpure will make sure you’re fully prepared. Now go kick some ass!

How to have a super-smooth swim

♥ The notable difference in the open water compared with a pool is having to sight (navigating the race course by lifting your eyes above the water to see where you’re going). Build sighting practice into your pool-based and open-water sessions to get comfortable doing this regularly at the pace you want to be swimming on race day. Remember in a pool you have a black line to follow, it will not be there on race day!

 Ensure you have a proper fitting wetsuit and have swum in it pre-race. The more time you can spend in the open water the better your experience will be on the day.

Watch the length of your nails! Long nails can cut through the neoprene when putting on and taking off your wetsuit (gloves or plastic bags can be used to cover your claws!).

Body glide will help to reduce chaffing around the neck which is to be applied before putting your wetsuit on.

♥ Practise taking your wetsuit off. Baby oil can be used on the lower leg and wrists to aid in a slicker T1 time.

Get in to the water at least 5 minutes before your start time to have a quick warm up, this will allow your body to get used to the water temperature and allow the blood to start flowing in preparation for the off. Ensure you have put your head under the water a few times, this will help you to regulate your breathing and give you the chance to check out the visibility (or lack of!).

Consider using x2 caps for warmth and placing your goggles between them for their security. Swim starts can get messy!

♥ Drafting in the swim is legal and can save you energy. This can be done by swimming just behind the person’s toes in front of you or on their hip (this is a little more difficult).


Kit list for the swim:

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  • Tri suit (1 piece OR 2 piece)
  • Wetsuit
  • 2 x Goggles (you just never know!)
  • Swim cap (x2)
  • Body glide
  • Baby Oil

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Enjoy the race, smile and remember pain is only temporary!

ABCPure is a bespoke triathlon coaching service suitable for athletes of any age, at any level and competing over any distance. They provide a truly customised service with weekly programmes. Services include 1:1 coached sessions. The coaches train and race by the same pure philosophy, having competed in Kona, Hawaii 2012, they know what it takes.

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