Friday, June 19, 2015

Racine 70.3 Swim thoughts

When I have raced Racine 70.3 I have found a few things to look for that may help you. In general it is a pretty straight forward course. It’s labeled a “flat” race, but that’s not entirely accurate it relatively is, however the wind can play a big role as can the water temp and the weather. I have raced there in 60’s and rain as well at 105 degrees and brutally hot, which for me that day resulted in a DNF. I learned a lot that day though.

I thought I would put down some of my race tips in our Athlete Membership Program for athletes to use.

Pre swim- you have to be prepared to walk a mile down to the start of the race in the sand. There is a sidewalk up on the road or even the beach walk path I would recommend using as it’s a more stable surface, and a lot less crowded for a while. So you can get their quicker and save yourself some time. Its also a good thing to wear some disposable shoes for the walk you can throw out in a trash bin when you get there.

If the water temp is very cold wait till the last few min to get warmed up. Otherwise you’ll be standing around cold waiting for your wave to start. If the water is very cold, I have raced there with the water temps in the very low 50’s I would notice that it was very hard to hold my face and head in the water for the first fee min of the event. This process is going to really slow you down if you haven’t figured out a way to deal with this. Here are my suggestions on how to deal with very cold water.

-        You can wear the neopreame head cap if you want. That isn’t a big deal. If the water is a bit warmer it’s not like you’ll hate having it on. Just make sure you are OK with the strap under your neck. If not, you’ll be in cold water and have the new sensation of the neck strap.

-        I would really encourage you to NOT wear the booties. I really think it will slow you down. Take some old running shoes to the pool and try to swim with em on. It’s a terrible feeling.

-        I try to warm up on dryland. Gt blood going to the muscles without getting cold.

-        You’re face, hands and feet WILL ADJUST after about 5 min. then they will just go numb. Try to get that feeling over with 2-3 waves in front of yours. So I usually go knee deep and bend down and just put my hands face and feet in and try to keep the rest of my wetsuit dry. That keeps me feeling warm but also allows me to feet my bare skin used to the cold water.

-        Once the race starts line up wide if you are unsure of where you stack up. If you line up deeper into the wave you may find people reluctant to start swimming who haven’t done a proper warm up as you have.

-        Once you get in the water keep our head down, control your breathing and stay under control.

Swim – the swim course is pretty strait forward but you want to watch the previous waves to see how far they can run out. That can vary greatly. You may not be able to feel your feet great so watch your step.

The first turn buoy comes about 150-200 meters out so it can still be quite thick through the turn so start to set up your turn before you get to the buoy. Once around I usually like to head back to shore slightly and swim just inside the buoys as it tends to be a lot less congested. Just be aware the swimmers you do run into there will usually be a lot less experienced.

I site off four things on this course. Most of them are the same as every course but I look first for the people in front of me, then for the buoys. If I cannot see them very quick, there has traditionally been a tower that lines up nicely with the last turn buoy. The last things I can use on some years are the sand patterns. The waves leave ripples in the sand and I try to maintain the same angle on those ripples once I know I going straight. That will at least let me skip a few breath cycles which can help your overall swim time.

When swimming in I look for the archway. You can usually catch a few waves coming in which is nice but in preparation for the long run with some of my last strokes Ill reach towards my neck and pull down on it allowing water to come into my suit which lets the suit slip off much easier. The run is so long in the last foot of water I will usually take my suit off there and run with it.

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