How to train for a triathlon swim ?
How to train for a triathlon swim
A triathlon is a triple event, successively combining swimming, cycling and running. The participants always start with the swim, over different distances depending on the categories. But how can you train? How can you prepare well to be able to follow up with the bike and the run? We can explain everything.
The distances to prepare for a triathlon
Are you thinking of doing a triathlon? First of all, you should know that you need to be in excellent physical condition to prepare for it without risking injury. Next, evaluate the distance you are going to swim. It depends on the type of event:
– For the sprint, you will have to swim 750 metres,
– for the Olympic triathlon, 1500 metres,
– for the middle distance, 3,000 metres,
– for the long distance, 4,000 metres,
– for the Ironman, 3,800 metres.
Remember that training for a triathlon is not just about preparing for these distances by swimming. It is also about keeping your strength up for the bike ride and run that follow.
What are the difficulties of a triathlon?
Your triathlon training plan should focus on endurance, as the distances are quite long from the Sprint category onwards. But you should also anticipate other difficulties.
The first is swimming in open water, which disrupts your bearings and regularly requires you to move against the current – which is much more tiring than swimming in a pool. Secondly, triathlons require you to know how to position yourself under difficult conditions, taking your breath to the right and to the left while maintaining a straight line of movement. Finally, be prepared for some very technical gestures, such as passing a buoy, which are not something you can improvise.
Organise your triathlon training
It’s a common question when preparing for a triathlon: when should you start training? As with many sports, the answer is the sooner the better! The less time you wait to start training, the more you get your body used to the effort of a triathlon and the more you get used to the difficult conditions of the event.
For example, by starting one year in advance, you will have time to improve your swimming technique, first in the pool (especially in winter) and then in open water. You should start to improve your times significantly about six weeks after the start of your training phase. Ideally, schedule two sessions per week if you are a beginner.
How to train for a triathlon?
Since the triathlon is a triple event, it is recommended to train your body for repeated efforts as well as variety. Place your swimming sessions between running and biking workouts to reduce the risk of injury. Swimming is a weight-bearing, non-traumatic sport, so it is less violent on the body than the other two events.
Also, be sure to schedule your first “swim and run” sessions after a few weeks of separate training: swim a few hundred yards, then run a little. You don’t have to start running a 10 km race right away. Take things slowly to get your body used to the successive efforts.
Getting the right gear to train for a triathlon
Preparing well for a triathlon also means equipping yourself accordingly. If you’re swimming in water below 24 degrees – which is often the case – it’s advisable to wear a neoprene wetsuit. It will keep you warm, give you a real gliding sensation and help you save energy. You should also wear good swimming goggles with a wide field of vision and sunglasses to avoid being dazzled by the sun. Finally, a silicone cap will be essential (and mandatory!).
Want to train in your own pool? It may be a good idea to install a counter-current swimming system. This type of turbine allows you to swim on the spot with the sensation of swimming in a natural environment. It is even possible to define several intensities of flow, soft for beginners or for wellness sessions, all the way up to intense for sports sessions.