Today I want to introduce you to some practical tips for your early triathlons.  There are tips for training, tips for competing, tips for finishing, and most important of all tips for having the most fun.

Okay, here’s a thing that you’ve gotta know.  It’s about swim safety.   Don’t get me wrong about this, bike safety is important but the stakes involved in an open water swim mishap are way higher.  So I’m going to focus on swim advice for today.

Firstly, it is vital that you have some competance with a resting stroke (I recommend breaststroke or maybe side stroke), preferably one that allows you the ability to see where you are going and who you might run into (or get clobbered by).  Also, you should know how  to fill up your lungs in a big breath, hold it, and survival float in the water in case you get tired. (see picture)

Now let’s talk about your pride.  Well maybe not your pride so much as your judgement.  There are so many decisions involved in completing your best triathlon, but maybe none are as important as knowing when to ask for help in an open water race.  

Studies have shown that the competitors that win marathons are more likely to ignore their bodies protests of pain and discomfort as they push towards their goals.  Pretty tough people, right? Well.. In open water swims, is it possible that the tendency to push through the pain, fatigue and protests from your body could get you in trouble, and that you might not know it until it is too late? (bubble, bubble, bubble, gurgle, burp)

So how can you be tough and safe at the same time?  Easy, this has already been planned out for you.  First, know that there are flotation bouys that you can grab onto, so you can rest, or if you have a cramped muscle. That’s why they are there.  

Second, know how to signal for asistance by removing your… Uh, what was it again? No, not your speedo … Oh right, your swim cap.  Take off your swim cap and wave it in the air and safety staff will come to you.  If you recover, fine.  You can send them away and complete your race, but it’s better to be safe, don’t you think?  Keep in mind that if you do get confused and take off your swimsuit instead, it may not be as easy to get the safety staff to leave, but this depends greatly on how good looking you are.

So race safe and know that there are precautions in place for your safety.  Be aware and be informed about any local hazards that may get you into trouble… No, I don’t mean newbie triathlon beginners swimming in the raw, but maybe lake monsters, mermaids, or even overzealous Newfoundlanders fishing for cod.

Swim well.




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