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 First open water swim/run
Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

First open water swim/run Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:37 pm 

My wife and I hit the Pacific waves for the first time this morning, and WOW - we were blown away by the science and strength that is called upon for open water swimming.

The swells were fairly rough, as our instructors kept noting, but we battled the waves and swam out about 200 yards to a buoy...which neither I, nor my wife, ever made it to. I got out about 100 yards and beyond the breakers, rested, and decided that I'd head back in for a rest, then give it another go. I hit the beach, met with another swimmer and a coach, and we headed back out into the crashing surf. It was rough going again, but once we were beyond the breakers, the sea completely calmed, and we swam for a bit, and then headed back to the beach for the run portion of the brick.

It was a 4 miler, so I met with another Iron Man-competing pal, and we dashed ahead of the group. We clicked along easily for the first 2 miles, but I felt fatigue creeping in. I was destroyed by the swim, and he admitted the same, so we backed off our 7 min/mile pace and settled in for 8:00mn/mile. The last mile was a battle, but we finished far ahead of everyone else, around 31:45 or so, incredibly strong after the swim for him (he'd been instructing newbies in the water, so he was extra-drained).

My wife was a little freaked by the experience: The ocean is a massive, scary place to be in, but I am so incredibly proud of her for going at it, and *then* running 4 miles to boot. We both agree our next try at the big, scary sea will be a massive triumph for both of us.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: First open water swim/run Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:24 pm 

Sounds like fun! Is this a tri-specific training program that you've joined? Or was the swim portion separate?

I've never tried swimming in the ocean, but I can imagine that the swells would make it tough. Is a lake considered open water swimming? If the oceans proves too daunting, you might start with that, since I'd think it would still be much different from swimming in a lap pool.

Do you have a specific triathlon race in mind that you're building for?


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: First open water swim/run Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 3:39 pm 

Rickshaw wrote:
Sounds like fun! Is this a tri-specific training program that you've joined? Or was the swim portion separate?

I've never tried swimming in the ocean, but I can imagine that the swells would make it tough. Is a lake considered open water swimming? If the oceans proves too daunting, you might start with that, since I'd think it would still be much different from swimming in a lap pool.

Do you have a specific triathlon race in mind that you're building for?


The training program is provided by Team Disney, where my wife works, and yes, it's tri-specific. They also do evening bricks (bike/run) once a week as a team, which I can't make it to, but I know I need to get my arse in the ocean a LOT before September, when both my wife and I will be doing the Malibu tri ( a sprint distance: .5 mile swim, 18 mile bike, 4 mile run). I'm signed up for the LA tri for the week prior (Olympic distance: .9 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run), but I'm thinking of bailing on that, as I need to start ramping up my trail miles this summer for my 50 miler in January and will be reducing my swimming/cycling.

Man, I wish there was a lake closeby! It would at least give us a chance to actually SWIM a bit in open water. I discovered that all of those pool laps you do, in prparation for an ocean swim? All they provide are the essentials of swimming. 75% of your effort during the swim portion (in the ocean) is getting out and getting back in.

I'm excited though! Tri-training has helped me really enjoy my running, even though my weekly mileage is reduced by nearly half (25 miles, mostly trails). Today I did 1:10 on the bike and 1:17 running in the mountains. What a great Sunday!

Plus, I get to see my wife in a wetsuit : )


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: First open water swim/run Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:56 am 

Hey it's great to see there is another Tri-geek in the crowd here. Hang in there, if you can get some more practice in the ocean you'll figure out how to work with the waves instead of against them. Last year I did three triathons that had ocean swims (with no practice swims in the ocean) and it wasn't until the third event that I managed a decent swim. Assuming you are in shape (from pool workouts) then you just need to figure out how to swim in the ocean. First, you have to be relaxed. Then it's just a matter of being able to breath to either side (the side the waves aren't approaching from) and trying to time your breaths when you are at the bottom of a swell so that you can sight straight ahead when at the top of the swell. It's much easier coming in to shore than going out.

I just did our clubs frist sprint triathlon of the season (one of four this season) this past weekend. I've been doing plenty of pool swimming and have done a couple open water swims (lake) but found myself VERY rusty for the 500 meter ocean swim segment. This is a non-competative event so though there was a clock at the finish line you had to keep your own splits. I can never remember to hit the lap button on my watch at the right places but the times I recorded are fairly close. I managed the 500 meter swim in 7:31, the 10 mile bike ride in 29:20, and the 3 mile run in 22:00. Total 1:00:15 (including transition time). I think I finished about 27th out of about 250 people.

I believe the triathlon training has helped my running, especially the bike/run brick workouts. I've tried to maintain my marathon training program while still fitting in 2-3 swim and bike workouts each week. I keep telling everyone that the workouts themselves aren't nearly as difficult as finding the time to do them.

So, Rustyboy, have you tuned into some of the Tri-specific podcasts (Zen and the Art of Triathlon, SImplyStu, Get Your Geek On, Everyman Triathlon, Ironman Talk, In Transit)? Some are better than others but they're great for helping past the time during a long run.


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: First open water swim/run Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:35 pm 

Yeah, I just started tri-training in March. I'd taken almost a year from swimming, so it's juuuust coming back to me now, but I agree, ocean swimming is all about relaxation and not panicking. I was AMAZED at how bouyant I was in my wetsuit - I barely had to kick at all! I also bought Mavec wheels last week for my bike, and all I can say is, WOOOOOOW, what a difference. I'm getting fitted tomorrow night at my LBS, so I'm sure I'll be even more efficient for the bike.

Those are fantastic splits for your sprint, BTW! I'm hoping (depending on the water conditions) to finish everything in under 2 hours. I figure if I can swim the 1/2 mile in 18 mns max, bike in less than an hour, and run 8:00 splits, I'll hit 1:45 or so. We shall see.

I haven't checked out the podcasts, but thanks for the heads up! I'll definitely sort through and load some into my Ipod for long runs!


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: First open water swim/run Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 2:13 pm 

Rustyboy wrote:
I was AMAZED at how bouyant I was in my wetsuit - I barely had to kick at all!


Funny you should mention that. During my two open water lake swims (no waves to bounch me around) I felt that my wetsuit was TOO bouyant. My back bothered me a little as I was getting warmed up. My hips and legs were so high up in the water it was causing my back to hyper-extend whenever I lifted my head to site for the bouy. I could feel a sligh annoying strain for about the first 15 minutes of my swim. I have a De Soto T1First Wave (two piece) and I think the thickness of the rubber in the hibs and legs is more than I need. But I'm not interested in replacing it just yet since it's very comfortable otherwise. I've never had any problems with chafing and I don't use any body glide at all. It slips on and off pretty easily. But then, it's the only wetsuit I have any experience with.


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: First open water swim/run Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:07 pm 

Rustyboy wrote:
I also bought Mavec wheels last week for my bike, and all I can say is, WOOOOOOW, what a difference. I'm getting fitted tomorrow night at my LBS, so I'm sure I'll be even more efficient for the bike.


Rustyboy, which Mavic wheels did you get? I'm in the market for a set of race wheels. So far I've managed to outfit nearly all of my bike equipment from eBay. I've gotten some really good deals (and missed some too).


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: First open water swim/run Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:26 pm 

I bough the Ksyriums, and they didn't come cheap ($850 - yeow!), but it was oh-so-worth the price, plus, I'll keep them and move them onto my tri-specific bike...when I can afford one.

I just (an hour ago) came back from my bike fitting, and between the new wheels and that, holy smokes! I am soooo ready to fly. And by "fly", I mean, "go a little faster and still struggle like a mutha on the uphills".

I'll have to keep an eye on Ebay - I'm looking for new shifters (it's always something, isn't it?). What kind of bike are you riding?

And thus, the banter of tri geeks begins...


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: First open water swim/run Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:27 pm 

Glad to hear your fitting went well. Of the many tips I've heard/read, the one major tip for the bike has been to get fitted by a qualified professional. It can be the best money you'll ever spend on your bike...and it sounds like it was for you. I got a basic fitting for my road bike but have been tweaking my tri bike (Cervelo P2K) myself based upon info I've read. I sometimes get a slight ache in my back 10 miles into a ride on my road bike (Felt F80), but I can do 30 miles on my tri bike (the most my training calls for now) without any issues (except for tired legs). Of course, I try to train more on my road bike to save the wear-and-tear on my tri bike. I do notice that my legs feel better running off of my tri bike than they do coming off of my road bike.

So what bike are you riding? I'm still coming up to speed on the ins-and-outs of cycling but my impression is that you want to put more heavy duty wheels on your training bike and save the light wheels for occasional training rides and for race day. That way the hubs stay in better shape and the wheel stays true longer, which in turn makes your breaks wear more even and more adjustable, the chain stays in better alignment resulting in smoother shifting (and smoother shifting results in less wear on the cogs), and the overall ride is more balanced. Considering the expense of the light racing wheels you don't want to wear them out and have to replace them too often. So, I'm in the market for some light race wheels to be used mostly for race day. But I have a feeling I won't be making that sort of purchase until next year, unless I see an awesome deal on eBay.


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