First sprint distance triathlon this weekend, any tips for not blowing up the swim?

I have my first sprint distance pool triathlon this weekend (Sunday 30/09/18) and I’m a bit nervous about the swim. Training has been OK, not as consistent as I’d like but there we go. I took part in a GoTri Sunday before last as a practice and found that I went way too hard on the swim, which really knackered me for the bike. I think the lack of warm up threw me off a little bit as well.

So, does anyone have any more advice than just taking it a bit easier from the get go? Maybe try to negative split? Anything I could do warm up a bit directly before the swim?

Would really appreciate any input!

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Line up in the back. When the gun goes off count to 10 AFTER the people around you start swimming.

10 seconds will really not matter in your sprint tri, but you’ll have open clean water without getting caught up in a group.

Then just relax and swim. You can lay down the power on the bike and especially the run. If you weren’t a high school or collegiate swimmer just take it super easy on the swim. Listen to your breathing. Are you going to fast? Just relax!

With more experience you’ll be able to line up in front, grab some feet and drill it at the right intensity. But for your first time just really enjoy the swim.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

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That’s awesome, thanks Nate! I only started swimming earlier this year so it’s been a steep learning curve but listening to you guys on the podcast has really helped from a mindset perspective as well as training. It was actually the episode with Emmet Kelley that made me even consider triathlon in the first place!

Don’t be ashamed to do a back float or hold on to a kayak if you get tired. It’s legal to hold onto a kayak and rest, they just can’t pull you through the course. :joy:

Also know that your wetsuit acts as a partial life preserver. It’s way easier to float with one on.

How I view it as walking during a marathon. It’s freaking tough, no shame in taking some breaks in order to finish!

Haha, no sticky bottles in Triathlon eh?

Thanks Nate, you’ve really given me a boost! Roll on Sunday, I’ll post a little report here once I’m done.

If you are a weak swimmer odds are you will be faster in the water as your wetsuit holds you in a more hydrodynamic position. Don’t stress, try and get a pair of feet to follow it will make life easier for you.

+1 to everyone’s comments above. In general, swim your own race. Let the type A and ex collegiate swimmers go ahead then go. The extra minute or so to let them all go will not matter in th grand scheme of things of the race. Breathe deeply and bring your attention back to your form if anxiety arises. Believe it or not the swim might be the safest of all three legs. Good luck champ! :slight_smile:

So are you also saying that you aren’t allowed to warm up in there water before the race start corral?

In most of my races this is standard, but still be at least 10-15 minutes before the start. I guess with bigger events that might be different, but xterras usually only have 2 waves.

If you can’t get in the water do some pushups to get your arms warmed up. I still take a pretty wide start spot after 10 years of doing this. It isn’t much further but you have clear water in front ofyou to the first turn buoy. Go slower than you think you should and while this won’t help this time around, start flip turning in the pool. I also sight breath the whole week leading up to my event. This will better prepare you for the continuous effort you’ll have in open water.

Hi everyone, thank you all for the help! The Tri went swimmingly :wink:

TLDR: took it easy in the swim, ramped up the bike and run as they went on, probably could have gone faster but enjoyed the event immensely

According to my start and end times I think I finished around 1:23-24ish, waiting for my official time to come through as my timing chip got knocked off in the swim.

The single biggest piece of advice that helped me through the swim was “just really enjoy the swim”. Instead of worrying about what time I was going to end up with, I just took my time and only probably lost 2 minutes or so compared to if I had really gone for it. I got out of the water feeling so much more relaxed and fresh.

T1 went really nicely, I took someones advice to just sit down and get my shoes and everything on and that really helped me stay calm and I didn’t fumble anything. Grabbed a gel then got on the bike.

I started off the bike nice and easy, the course was gently rolling so was easy to get into a good pace. There were sections with big potholes but the UK Triathlon marshals did a really good job of spraying them so they were easy to spot. It felt really good leapfrogging people! In hindsight I probably held back a bit too much on the bike as I didn’t want to blow up before the run, but I was happy with my pacing.

T2 was easy, elastic laces on running shoes are a godsend. Another gel, probably not needed but it made me feel good, and then on to the run.

The run was 4 laps of a route around a grass field. I didn’t look at my watch for the first lap, just went from feel going for a moderate pace but one slightly easier than a 5k pace. I checked my watch as I finished my first lap and was happy with the pace so upped it a little for the next lap, and kept increasing the pace as I went. Again I probably could have gone quicker but I played it safe trying to keep my pace in check.

Overall I really enjoyed the event, and beat my self imposed target of 1:30 so happy with that! My plan now is to take a couple of weeks off structured training then get back into it with some base later this month and start looking at events for next year.

Once again, a big thanks for everyones advice, it really helped me to keep calm and let me enjoy my first sprint Tri!