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The Ultimate List Of Swimrun Tips For Beginners

Read this simple guide if you are interested in learning more about swimrun. This is the ultimate set of tips for someone new to swimrun with comments from some of the athletes, event organisers and brands. Enjoy!

The hardest part of any journey is starting. We have all, at one point, been new to the sport of swimrun. Here is a nice account from Alex Sheen who started swimrun last year:

I started swimrun recently and am hooked! My first ever experience of swimrun was on a river, clad in an old sailing wetsuit and swam heads-up breaststroke hopping out of the river a few times to do a few runs. I was excited to get to my first event, albeit a bit nervous as generally flake on race day, so trying to keep focussed on enjoying it. Fast forward 12 months, I’ve made a ton of new friends and been out to some wonderful places and adventures. Swimrun is incredible, just try it!

Mad Hatter Events: The Hokey Cokey Swimrun

What are the race organiser’s tips for first-timers?

Just do it and don’t worry about the kit, or the speed. Just get round it, enjoy it and do it. Everyone will help you with guidance before the race but come and give it a go! As Keen As Mustard Events, England

Be willing and ready to adapt to change. Place a premium on building a good base of fitness and worry less on having the right gear. Remember that for the first ten years, not a single person who attempted ÖTILLÖ  had swimrun specific wetsuits or even lightweight trail shoes. ÖDYSSEY Swimrun, USA

​Race within your personal limits and remember it is a long day out, don’t burn all your matches in the first swims and climbs. Rockman Swimrun, Norway

Train a bit more in the discipline you are less familiar with, and train with you partner to go to one level up. Swimrun Hydra, Greece

Make your own pull buoy, make your own shoes. Come and give it a try! Just do it. Simple, you have to keep it simple. Once you know you like it, you can buy the specialist kit but for the moment just come and try it. Muskipper SwimRun Series, Canada

Just don’t worry. People seem to get stressed about the kit. Have a go. WESWIMRUN, Wales

The easiest thing is to talk to someone who is doing swimrun! If you don’t know anyone, find a swimrunner online. It is a supportive and friendly community who all want to help new people get into the sport. Just try it. Backwaterman, Austria

Go out with your teammate for a training swimrun and practice the transitions. SuretoSure Swimrun, Luxembourg

Find a short race and just crack on and give it a go. Anyone can do our 14km race, if you can do a bit of swimming such as breast stroke, you can do swimrun. EX Swimrun, Sweden

EX Swimrun:Swimrunners are a friendly bunch! Photo Credit: Christer Schapiro

Top swimrun tips from the participants

If you are racing as a pair, you should have ‘similar race goals’, communicate openly and be ready for an adventure. Such are the demands of the sport, that events are unpredictable. Similarly, if your prospective partner doesn’t have a decent tolerance for ambiguity and the unknown, then the adventure might turn into an ordeal. Chris & Chipper, The Low Tide Boyz

Train in your race kit. We’ve been seen running the streets, en route to the river, clad in rubber, hand paddles and goggles flailing behind us. Mike Barnes

Try to some of your runs off road or in the woods. Most swimruns include runs that are off road. Practising on technical terrain similar to the race will help confidence and prepare your body.  Claire Vallance

Dedicate one swim session a week to swimrun-specific fitness and skills. Use a pull buoy and paddles for as much of the session as you can and add increasing levels of drag over time. Alex Juggins and Samuel Nicoll

During a race use a little soft flask with over concentrated energy powder, it’s like having a big gel that you can use exactly like you want instead of being forced to take a whole gel. Hugo Tormeto

Make sure you compete in new or nearly new goggles that will not fog. Having a clear view for the swims is crucial so you don’t swim extra distance for bad sighting! To make your goggles less foggy, you can wash them with Yes! Dish soap. Fanny Kuhn

Every swimrun is unique. There are no set distances and the focus really is on being at one with nature and testing your body and fitness against that. David Trehane

If it’s a warm or even slightly warm day, take your wetsuit down to your waist for any runs longer than 2 miles. Otherwise you will feel like a boil in the bag cod fillet long before you reach the water. Lucy Saxelby

I would say the most important element is eating a ton. It’s a long event and it’s easy to undershoot. Most athletes don’t eat enough, and it’s a real challenge to eat enough while you’re in those elements. Matt Hurley

Swim Run Jersey

What should be your first bit of swimrun specific kit you should buy?

It’s all about a big pull buoy. The bigger the better! Many people new to the sport try swimrun without a pull buoy, and swimming in trainers is heavy and laborious work. Helen compares it to a quasi ‘drowning experience’, certainly not great if you are giving a new sport a try.

Helen Wikmar, CEO ARK Sports

What should you look for when choosing a swimrun wetsuit?

1. Flexible shoulder.

2. Quick easy to take off lining

3. Quality build to stand the rigours of the sport.

Angus Greenwood, CEO Yonda Sports

Choosing the right pair of socks for swimrun?

1. A pair of high socks (rather than ankle socks) are essential.

2. Compression socks will support the rugged nature of Swimrun and the demands on your body quickly changing muscle groups between run, swim and transition.

3. Socks should not carry too much water and regulate your lower limb body temperature.

Annie Wennergren, Co-founder Gocoo

Fred Newton

Fred is the Editor and co-founder of swimrun.com. He has actively been involved with the sport of swimrun as an enthusiastic participant, race director, volunteer and journalist.

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