Monday, May 13, 2013

Sunny with a Chance of Open Water - Race Day Tips for Cold Water Swims

Photo from
Spring has finally arrived to the upper midwest.  That's good news for those of us signed up for outdoor triathlons this week.

Blaine Triathlon has decided to not convert to a duathlon.  Land Between the Lakes has the advantage of being WAAAAAY down in Albert Lea so I'm sure that water will be quite comfortable.

For both of those races and even New Bri Tri and other early June races there's a good chance the water is going to be COLD.  Here are some simple tips to help you on race day:

1. Properly fit full sleeved wetsuit designed for swimming.  At early races you see a number of people in either ill fitting swim wetsuit (too big) or a barefoot/waterski suit.  The barefoot/waterski suits are made with less flexibility in the shoulder and torso and can make swimming virtually impossible.  Don't have a full-sleeved wetsuit?  You can get one here at a great discount:  Use the code CO-TRIFORIT.

2. Earplugs - wax earplugs will keep the cold water out of your ears.  Exposure to the cold water in your ear can be disorienting and drop your core temperature.

3. Wear two swim caps or a neoprene hood.  Wear a nice silicone cap underneath the race cap or if you really don't like the cold, a neoprene hood can help keep you warm.

4. GET IN THE WATER - that's right - your first exposure to the water on race morning should not be when the horn blasts. This is true for every race, but especially a cold water race.  Warm up on shore with some jogging and muscle activation exercises.  This will get your core temperature up a bit.  Then get in the water and get moving.  Don't get in the water too early - try to finish your warmup as close to your wave start as you can.