If you’ve been swimming in a pool all season and your priority race is an open water swim, then there are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind before race day. Of course, it’s ideal if you can get in some open water training sessions before the race, but for many that’s not an option.
Whether or not you can get into open water before the race it would still be wise to consider the tips listed below so that you can practice them in the pool. This way, when you do finally hit open water, it won’t be as big of a shock.
1. Swim the shortest distance. When swimming in open water you’re obviously going to want to swim the least possible distance you can. If it’s an ironman distance then it would be nothing to swim an extra 400 meters just by taking an irregular path.
In order to prevent this you’re going to want to get into the habit of turning your head and eyes when you breathe in order to see what’s in front of you. Now you don’t want to do this every breath as it will lead to inefficient swimming, but you definitely want to get in the habit of checking every 50 to 100 meters.
It should be a smooth motion, not jerky, and should be barely visible from an outsider’s perspective. Many of the best swimmers have develop the technique so well that they don’t even need to turn their heads they can just turn their eyes as they submerge their face after taking a breath and see everything that’s going on in front of them.
2. Breathe on both sides. Another important technique to get comfortable with is taking a breath on both sides. You never know where the wind is going to be coming from in an open water swim. If you can only breathe on the right then you’re going to have big problems if waves are coming from that direction.
It’s not hard to learn to breathe from both sides; it just takes patience and effort. If you make a vow to improve breathing on your weak side then there’s no reason why you can’t get it up to par within a month.
These are the most important aspects to keep in mind when open water swimming.
3. Add sprints. One final tip you might implement in the training sessions leading up to the race is getting into the habit of sprinting for a few hundred meters at the beginning of the workout.
Sprints are a great way to simulate the commotion at the beginning of a race, and if you do them enough times it shouldn’t be a problem for you to break away from the main pack and get out front.
This will make the swim much more enjoyable and allow you to get into your rhythm much quicker than those jockeying for position in the back.
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