Exactly one year ago, my teammate Nadia and I signed up for Swimrun. We didn’t know anything about this combined sport, but as we are keen on all kinds of adventures, we signed up for this unknown modality. And as two rookies we settled in the Pantano del Atazar in Madrid, which was where the test took place.
We had such a good time that we are doing it again this year, on September 18 in the second round of the Madrid Swimrun Circuit, in its third edition. But I must admit that in May, and with the audacity that ignorance gives, we climbed another step and signed up for the first Spanish swimming championships, which took place in the San Juan Reservoir. And it was a surprise for us, because we got on the podium in the partner category in the sprint distance.
When we signed up for this adventure a year ago, at the beginning of the race we were completely lost: technical details we didn’t know, mandatory and optional equipment, distances we had to cover… But we had finished and finished in a good position, so yeah , you doubt your ability to do your first swim, don’t do it as long as you love swimming and running.
I tell you some information and tricks about this race which may be useful for you to face your first swim.
First, what is a swimrun?
There are still a lot of people who, when you say you’re going to race in a cross-country swim, don’t know what you’re talking about. And this is not surprising, since it is a relatively young combined sport and was not practiced in Spain until 10 years ago.
• Swimrun combines two sports, open water swimming and running, where the two disciplines alternate in different parts of swimming and running: now you swim, now you get out of the water and start running, you get back in the water, you get out again you run… And so until you have covered the selected distance. You have to keep in mind that you usually swim between 15% and 25% of the distance and the rest is running.
• The attractiveness of this sport and for me the most important of all is that you can do the swimming run as a couple. Who hasn’t complained about how boring it can be to run alone or swim like a hamster in the pool, and if you’re doing it in the sea or a dam, it’s respectful of you to do it unaccompanied? There, you no longer have this problem.
• Another plus is that the sections are not particularly long (in swimrum there are several distances, sprint (between 8 and 10 km in total), half (between 16 and 18 K in total) and marathon (from 35 to 42 K). You usually start swimming, but after the stretch, which are usually several, but they’re not long, you’re into the race before you know it.Also, the places where you race are in nature.
• The curious thing about running is that you have to take all your gear with you. Yes, the flip flops are not left on shore for you to put on when you get out of the water. You swim with shoes other than other mandatory safety materials or because they facilitate buoyancy in the water. For example him whistle and hat pools are required. The whistle in case you need to let the boats know if you need support and the hat so you can identify yourself in the water. The pullboy It’s also important because when you swim in shoes, it helps you swim more and Palace they make it easier for you to move faster while swimming. And of course don’t forget glasses. They are better for open water because they have solar filters and a greater field of vision.
What doubts arise when you compete in swimming?
What swimsuit should I wear?
A triathlon suit is a good option or a racing swimsuit. The organization provides a back vest that you must wear and preferably with your torso covered to avoid chafing from the back vest.
What shoes are best if I have to swim in them?
This was the first question that came to us. There are special shoes for this modality that you can buy at a reasonable price at Decathlon or Amazon, but we, being the first, didn’t want to spend a lot, so we ran in sneakers, the lightest we had and preferably with a mesh upper. I swam and ran in Asics Gel FujiTrabuco Sky and Nadia in Evadict TR2. And it worked out really well for us. We don’t notice any heaviness when swimming or feeling of wearing the shoe in water when running.
Do you have to wear socks?
Well, there are people who don’t wear them, but our experience shows that you should go with technical socks. Remember, you’re usually running on dirt roads and loose rocks after this. Pebbles easily enter when you swim or run, and if you want to avoid cuts and chafing, it’s best to wear socks.
If I swim as a couple (female, male and mixed), how can we not distance ourselves and go together?
• Swimming can also be done individually, but if you go as a couple, it is best to go secured with an elastic cord. It was our best investment. In my opinion, in the water it is more important to be hooked than to run. And here you need to take a few considerations in order not to complicate things:
• The one who swims better of the two must go first. In my case, my partner is the swimmer. She has been swimming since she was a child, she has done crossings, she has competed and she is better in the water. The swimmer will have a better rhythm and will certainly go directly to the point of exiting the water without deviating. To attach the bungee cord, he who goes first must wear it hung on the cross behind, and he who goes second, in front, around the navel area.
• Don’t worry because the first one swims faster, you are the ballast so it won’t escape you like it can in the race if you let it go.
How do I carry the whistle and oars?
Hanging from a belt. There are specific swim harnesses, but Nadia and I, in the first Swimrun, we get help from a triathlon sales carrier to hook up links and from there hang the shovels, the whistle and we also carry gel in case he gives us a bird (better prevent the first time you do something). Shovels are usually optional, but they are useful for progress, especially if you are the slow one.
How do I put the pullboy on?
Pull is a must and is best worn hanging on the leg at thigh height. with the help of some rubber bands, which are also sold. When you swim, the pull goes between your legs, so to swim more and swim better, when you run, you turn it to the outside of your thigh. I made a workaround with my main pool pull. I made a few slits with a fine knife and ran through some rubber bands to keep it on its feet. But if you can, better buy a Swimrum support that does not exceed 8 euros.
What if the water is cold?
There are specific wetsuits for swimming and the Head company has been making them for years. They are neoprene with air cells in the chest for greater buoyancy, with a coating for better glidingthicker in some areas and thinner in others for better arm and leg mobility (remember you have to run with it) and with detachable sleeves.
For the time we’re in, you shouldn’t need it. If you are going to prepare more swimming, it is advisable to have one, because you can only take the materials that the regulation allows, which considers floating legs but does not mention wetsuits.
So if you are an adventurer or adventurer, you still have time to close out the 20-21 season with some good splashes or start the 22-23 season with some good pre-season races.