The swim leg: three mistakes you must not make
Is it your first race? Here is some invaluable advice to help you avoid three mistakes that might have a negative impact on your performance …
According to statistics, it is the swim leg that most triathletes are afraid of. A lack of experience or ineffective training will not be taken into consideration: your race will not become a duathlon and you will still have to take on the swim.
There is no alternative to proper and sufficient training. Nevertheless, there are certain mistakes, which, if avoided, will help you successfully complete the first leg of your race.
1 – Do not forge to visualise the course
If you are used to open-water races, you will have no problem remembering this simple but essential piece of advice. Attending the prerace briefing or simply studying the course, direction of the race and the buoys (remembering which side, right or left, you need to go around them) will save you both time and energy in the race.
Plus, being familiar with the course direction, swim routes and finish line, will help you conserve energy for completing the swim.
2 – Never go into automatic pilot
Going into automatic pilot is no good and neither is blindly following the group of swimmers in front of you. You need to manage your own race and learn to distribute your energy evenly, bearing in mind that the race is divided into three different legs. So, lift your head out of the water and check the direction in which you are swimming and where the buoys are located. You can train for this in the swimming pool by attempting to visualise an object at the end of the pool after a certain number of strokes.
3 – Do not test your equipment on race day
In everyday life, we might describe them as “comfort wear”, but in swimming they are known as your wetsuit, goggles and cap. Testing out your equipment in the pool or in open water during training will help you choose what to wear on race day, without having to worry whether your goggles will mist up or whether your cap is too loosed or too tight.
As always, the secret is not to improvise and that applies even more so in a triathlon, when you will be running and riding a bike as well as swimming.
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