You have done a handful of swimruns and are looking to progress to the next level. Here are five tips from Claire Vallance who is an experienced swimrunner and one half of the team Head Hero Vallance with husband Piers.
1. Practice transitions
It is surprising how much time is lost during transitions. There is a lot of kit to organise and which order to put stuff on/off. E.g. Transitions in to water – Check if you need to take a gel/hydrate, take your hat and googles out of your wetsuit. Put your swimming hat on. Put goggles on the top of your hat. Zip up your wetsuit. Put goggles on just before you enter the water. Place your pull buoy in position as you walk into the water. Aim to try this all on the move!
2. Strengthen your core
Don’t neglect your core! It is essential for supporting a streamlined swimming position and for efficient running. The transitions are effectively crunches, getting out of the water each time. Try to plan a weekly core session even if it is only 5 minutes.
3.Train in conditions similar to your race
Train/practise in conditions similar to your race. If it is likely to be a cold swim, practise in the cold – you may find wearing a neoprene headband will make all the difference. If it is sea swim, and you don’t live near the coast, try to make a trip for a practise swim. The waves can be off putting to swim in and the salt can rub in places you have not thought about!
4. Get your nutrition right
Make sure you fuel for your race, especially if it is a longer race over an hour. Research indicates an aim of 60g of carbohydrate per hour. One gel usually contains 20-30g. Training your ‘gut’ to digest/absorb food whilst exercising takes time and ‘training’. Planning of what you can carry and pick up at aid stations is time well spent.
5. Find a partner!
Consider racing/training with a partner. Sharing the adventure with someone else is really unique and special experience.