SwimRun is a very interesting sport as it allows for the use of accessory items during races. The current rules state that you must get from the start to the finish as quickly as possible using only equipment that you can. The primary rule of the sports is that you must finish with everything you started out with. Most popular is the use of wetsuits, hand paddles, pull boys and fins.
Wearing of wetsuits is a mandatory requirement for most SwimRun races. You don’t need to have a SwimRun specific model to take part – any swimming (Tri) wetsuit will do so long as you can move freely enough in it to run and it will keep you warm enough on long swims.
The shoes you wear for SwimRun not only need to be comfortable for the long distances of technical trail running that you’ll be doing in your race but also need to be suitable for use in the water. Make sure they are a snug fit so they don’t come off when swimming and that they don’t soak up much water and drain well. Running with wet shoes on slippery rocks requires good traction so Good grip soles are essential!
In many SwimRun competitions the organizer provides a swimming cap (we will be providing Canaqua Sports swim caps). These are mandatory for all participants
Many people use hand paddles for SwimRun. These add some extra power to your strokes by increasing the ‘catch’ are of your hand. There are many different types of paddles on the market, but you’ll need some that have straps to hold it on your hand or they can easily come off and be lost in open water. You’ll also need to think about how you are going to carry them on your runs and practice your transitions – getting out on rocky ground is hard when your have paddles on your hands!
If you decide to use paddles you must train with them a lot! Using paddles takes good technique and puts a lot of strain on your shoulders and back muscles. You need to build up the strength to be able to use them over long distances. If you don’t you will soon find you get very tired and worse you can injure yourself!
SwimRun rules state that you can use any flotation aids so long as they are no bigger than 100 cm x 60 cm! Most people use a pull buoy.This float, which you hold between your legs instead of kicking, gives you extra buoyancy and allows you to save your legs during the swims. You’ll appreciate this when it is time to run! Using a pull buoy is generally why people decide to use the hand paddles as the extra propulsion makes up for the loss of the power from the kick. Pull buoys come in different shapes and sizes – what you use depends really on how much lift you need in your legs. For example, if you have a short wetsuit and heavy trainers you’ll need a bigger float.