Open Water Swimming in the Gulf and Transitions

author : acbadger
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The swim is ALWAYS a cause for concern when it comes to competing in a triathlon. This is the event for which you need to concentrate on RELAXING.

Question

 

Still concerned about the swim as it will be in the Gulf of Mexico. I think I’ll be OK for the bike and run, but I haven’t really practiced any transitions. Any tips??

Answer

 

The swim is ALWAYS a cause for concern when it comes to competing in a triathlon. This is the event for which you need to concentrate on RELAXING. Use it as your warm up. If you feel confident on the bike and run, use your strengths to make up for where you may feel a bit weaker. Be sure you are doing some open water swims!! If you are only practicing in the pool, you need to get out into open water. The more open water swims you do, the more confident in open water you will become. You’ll find your concerns about the Gulf will quickly fade and you’ll be ready to rock ‘n’ roll on race morning!


As far as transition practice…now is as good a time as any to start practicing. Do short simulated triathlons—200 yd swim, 5 mi. bike, 1 mi run—and work your transitions into those, if possible. If you don’t have anywhere to set up realistic transitions, set up a transition area in your back yard. Be sure you are wearing everything you would have on for the swim, bike and run. Make it as realistic as possible. Strip out of your wetsuit (if you use one), get into your bike gear and do a quick loop around your block on the bike, come back, dismount your bike and jump right into run mode. Be sure of a few things that may be helpful to you when you begin your practicing:

  1. Use Pam, Crisco or Body Glide before putting on your wetsuit (again, if you need/are using one). That way, pulling it off after the swim will be that much easier and, in some cases, less painful. Just make sure to thoroughly clean your wetsuit off when after your race and double-check compatibility.
     

  2. Place all of your gear that you will use on your bike (towel, helmet, sunglasses, water bottles, shoes, suntan lotion, Gu, etc.) where you have easy access to it. Practice putting your helmet on FIRST and fastening the clip. Your helmet must be on and fastened before you start any movement with your bike. You may also want a pan/bucket/ bowl of water to wash off your feet before putting them into socks and/or bike shoes. Sometimes sand/dirt/grass in your shoes can be painful while you are biking.
     

  3. Be sure when you are practicing your bike-to-run transition (T1), you run your bike about 100 yards out when you leave to bike and you run it in 100 yards before you rack your bike to start your run (T2). You have to get your bike OUT of transition before you mount it, so you might as well practice that now.
     

  4. Have your running sneakers ready when you return from the bike. If you need to swap out your helmet for a hat/visor, have those things out as well. Don’t forget to have your race belt out with your number already attached to it (unless you have pinned your bib number to your shirt already). Make sure you have the easiest access to everything you may need. You also have limited space to lay all of your gear out, so plan accordingly.

Once you have practiced your transitions a few times, you will be far more comfortable when you are actually transitioning during competitions. Once you are more comfortable with your transitions, you can start getting more technical (i.e. having your shoes already clipped into your bike pedals, etc.), but even I’m still working on that!!

 

ENJOY and GOOD LUCK!

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date: October 30, 2005

acbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

avataracbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

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