Have you recently heard about the sport of swimrun and are itching to know how to get involved?
Well, we have good news for you, we’re here to support you all the way and walk you through how you can get started with swimrun.
Here is what you’ll need to do to prepare yourself for your first swimrun event.
1. Get swim fit
Swimming makes up about a quarter of most swimrun events, and, whilst you do need to be a fairly competent swimmer, you won’t need to be able to swim the total swim distance in one go because the swims are broken up into smaller legs.
For example, if a race includes 2km of swimming, it might be broken up into five 400m swims.
If you are new to swimming or haven’t swam in a while, we recommend you start swimming in the pool to get used to rolling your arms over again. You can hit the pool by yourself or join an adult swim squad to be supported by like-minded people.
Once you feel confident enough in your swimming skills, it’s time to hit the open water such as creeks, lakes or the beach as most swim legs of swimrun events are held in these locations.
When hitting the open water, join an ocean swimming group or open water group for guidance, safety and support.
Find an ocean swimming group near you via the group directory on oceanswims.com.
2. Get run fit
If you are just getting started with the sport of swimrun, the first thing you’ll want to focus on is your running. Run legs generally make up more than three-quarters of a swimrun, and the majority of the running is offroad, on trails and beaches.
Start getting into running slowly, a run/walk combo is a great way to kick-start your run journey before slowly increasing your run distance.
Make sure you get used to running on lots of different surfaces. Mix up your training by running on roads, grass, paths, off-road trails and sand to ensure you are used to running on whatever surface your chosen swimrun event will be on.
If you are struggling to start running or get into a routine with your running, try and find a running group to get involved with. There are plenty out there and they are easy to find, just search [your local area] and “running group” on Facebook or Instagram.
3. Find a teammate
Once you’ve got your swimming and running on the improve, it’s time to find a friend that you can train and race with.
Swimrun originated as a team sport and this format is still the best way to enjoy a swimrun. Most championship races, i.e. The Australian Swimrun Championship and ÖTILLÖ, The Swimrun World Championship, are team races only.
Make sure you choose a teammate who is around the same fitness level as you and is willing to be as committed to training as you. Often a team will consist of one person who is a stronger swimmer, and one person who is a stronger runner, which is great as you can each help motivate and carry the other through their weak leg.
4. Practice under race conditions
It’s time to start practising together just like you will in the race.
Grab your teammate and practice together under race training conditions. Create a course where you can both swim and run and then design a training session around it.
Make sure you pace yourself because once you combine swimming and running it is a whole different fitness requirement to swimming or running on their own.
When you’re practicing your race training make sure you wear all your gear so you can get used to it. Try new gear or ways of racing with it so it doesn’t come as a shock to your body when race day comes around.
5. Choose a race
When choosing your first swimrun race you want to make sure you choose a distance based on your fitness level and the distances you have been swimming and running in training.
Swimrun Australia events will have a mix of race distances on offer. Start with something small such as a Sprint or Short race and then move up to the Long distances.