I did my first triathlon this morning. I'm not the strongest swimmer, but I have been swimming for a year now. I could easily do the distance (250 yards) in the pool with reasonable technique. I was confident about being able to do the distance, I just never swam in a lake before. When I ran into the water and started to swim, it's like I forgot how. I couldn't get the rhythm of my breath at all, it was like I never swam before. I don't know if it was nerves, adrenaline or what. I ended up doing the side stroke or backstroke the whole time and feeling like I was flapping around. I was exhausted because I was using so much extra energy. Apparently, I wasn't the only one. My husband said it looked like most people were struggling.
Has this happened to anybody else? What do I do in my training to prevent this from happening again?
it is very common. next time try warming up before the race so there is no cold water shock.
goals for 2011:
break 19minutes for 5k
break 2:42 for olympic triathlon probably Anthracite olympic
break 3:16 for marathon ( a long shot but it's fun putting yourself out there)
I have my first tri on the 27th with an ocean swim. i'm not a swimmer by any means, but have been in the pool 3-4 days a week since i signed up a month and a half ago (i know, not a long time). I've seen the total immersion videos and have improved my technique quite a bit, but i still have no endurance. i struggle to do back to back lengths in a 25m pool. i'm afraid once i get into the open water i'll lose all technique and start freaking out. i did a mini sprint 3 weeks ago (only a 200m pool swim) and when i got out of the pool i was exhausted.
any advice, other than to just try to remain calm and go easy?
When I swim in the pool, I take my time and start when I'm good and ready. I think what did me in was I didn't have that pre-swim zen moment. You rush in when they say to. The lake is so much different - it was a complete unknown fo rme. It's dark, there's seaweed plus there's tons of people all around you. It's easy to lose focus. If I had to do it again, I'd spend the few minutes before the race getting focused and concentrating. Try to block everyone else out. I was too busy chatting it up. The mental preparedness is extremely important.
Just in case you do struggle, be sure to have some other strokes you can do. The side stroke & backstroke is easier because you don't need to worry about coordinating your breathing.
If you can get to the ocean to practice swimming before that, I'd highly recommend it. I think if I could have done a lake swim before this, it would have eliminated a lot of the unknowns for me and I would have done better.
thanks for the advice. the waves have really been picking up here lately, so i'm not getting much opportunity to practice there. i know that will help me if the race waters are choppy, but i'm really hesitant about going out too far to get past the break by myself, and i haven't found a good spot in the intracoastal yet. i've been using a pull bouy lately to simulate the extra bouancy of the salt water, plus it helps me not rely on my legs so much, in order to conserve energy for the bike/run.
i just need to focus that my only goal for this 1st tri is to finish, and times don't matter, and relax relax relax!
yesterday i did get to the intracostal instead of the pool and i was able to do close to 20 mins without really stopping (except to clear my goggles). much different swim than the pool. i was able to float easier, so that translated to much less kicking, and therefore not out of breath at all. i was able to get into a good rythym with breathing, and think i may be over the hump. of course the intracoastal isn't quite the same as the wavy ocean, but its a step in the right direction. it really helped my confidence.
Very common -- happened to me on my first (and second!) open water tris.
In addition to practicing in open water, other advise given to me was to count to 10 after the gun goes off before starting. Walk into the water and let everyone else sprint in as they scramble for a patch of water. Let the crush go. I tried this on my third and got the identical time as my second, but wasn't exhausted, didn't swallow any water and swam freestyle the whole way. Alternatively, start wide to avoid the crowds. Finally, don't worry about using other strokes if you need to -- I still use breaststroke intermittently to catch extra O2 and sight the buoys.
I just did my first tri the other day as well, and although I am an extremely strong swimmer,( I was the captain of my high school team) I found it difficult to find a good rhythm. I think maybe the nerves of my first multi sport event played a big part in this. I found it harder to control my breathing, heart rate, pace, etc. I'm thinking maybe more open water swimming, and more block workouts,( swim, then bike) will help to get me more used to the feeling. Also, I think that having that many people around you while you're already kind of hyped up makes it a little nerve racking. anyway, good luck, and at least you kept moving forward!
The best thing I have found is to "practice like you play". Even if you can't get out to do open water swims when you swim in the pool be sure to take slow even strokes concentrating on having your thumb come up and touch your thigh before you bring it out of the water. You don't want much leg kick and overall you just want to relax. The best thing that i have found for staying on course is to go to the opposite side that you breath on. For example if you breath on your right side than go to the left of the course. This will let you look at other swimmers and you won't need to look up for the buoys so often. Warmups are a great thing because they allow you to get used to the murky water etc. Another thing that you can do in the pool is to swim with your eyes closed. First find out how many strokes it takes you to get accross the pool, then on your next lap close your eyes and swim 2-3 stroke short of that and for those last 2-3 strokes don't put your face back in the water, instead pick your head up and look at the end of the pool. this simulates you not being able to see and looking for the buoys. It also helps get you psychologically used to not being able to see while you swim. Another thing to practice is to breath from your non natural side, because sometimes you are getting hit in the face with waves from one side and being able to breathe from the other is a lifesaver. The biggest thing is to relax.
As far as being able to extend your swim workouts you have to just keep doing one stroke after another.
as an update, did my 1st tri today with ocean swim. happened to be against the current, and everyone there (including exp triathletes) seemed to think the course was much longer than the 1/4 mi advertised. but the ocean was perfectly flat, thankfully. unfortunatly, dispite following the advice of staying back to avoid the rush, and swimming to the outsides, and the perfectly clear water, I still managed to "freak out". I couldn't seem to do anything to get into a rythym and looking around, neither could anyone else near me. everyone around me seemed to be swimming freestyle-like, but with their heads up looking ahead. even that wouldn't work for me and i ended up taking 25 mins to backstroke the whole thing (felt like that was the only way i could breathe). even still, 40+ swimmers finished after me, so i can take solice in knowing i wasn't the only one who struggled.
not sure if it was just first time jitters, general fear of open water (not being able to touch the bottom in the wide open sea is an issue for me), or just still not a good enough swimmer in general (prob all 3). i'm considering my options for another race, maybe just a run, bike, run duathlon until my swim gets better?
anyways, i finished with a respectable 1:45, 38th out of 57, so i'm happy overall.