Seven Tips For Surviving the Start of a Triathlon.

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Articles, Fitness

Here's one for you swimmers and triathletes out there!

A great fella named Kevin Koskella is known among us triathlon coaches as the official “Tri Swim Coach” . Those of you who subscribe to my free VIP newsletter saw a great article from Kevin a couple weeks ago. Today, I have fantastic news: I've received another article for a post today AND was informed by Kevin…

…that he just released the second free video is his “Tri Swim Secrets” series. Click here to check it out. These are actually really good free videos from Kevin for anybody interested in learning to swim or wanting to swim faster.

Yes, he does make you give you name and e-mail address to see the video. But it's worth it.

OK, so here's Kevin's seven tips for surviving the start of a triathlon:

The start of a triathlon can be nerve-wracking, tiring, intimidating, frustrating, and even discouraging (why do we do this sport?). But don't let all this get to you! The start for everyone is a crazy cluster of splashing, starts and stops, physical contact, and swimmers trying to separate from each other. Here are some tips to deal with what some consider being the toughest part of any triathlon:

1. Expect the worst. Go into the event expecting that the start will not be easy. Know that you will bump into people, others will bump into you, but 99% of the time it is all by accident. Also know that the chaos at the beginning will not last for the entire swim, it will break up quickly as different speed swimmers separate.

2. Prepare. Learn the course before the gun goes off. There’s nothing worse than having to wonder which way to turn around the upcoming buoy.

3. Don't panic. Keep your breathing from getting short. Stay as relaxed as you can while everyone else tries to get pole position. Don't let others being frantic affect your state of mind, and realize that 99% of the other swimmers are just trying to find some open water and are not out to hurt you!

4. Stay to the outside. Many will try to stay to the inside, as close to in line with the first buoy as they can get. Don't follow the pack. Start outside and work your way in as you approach buoy #1. You many not get perfectly clean water, but you will save yourself from much of the madness.

5. Run until the water level is at your knees. This will maximize your time on land without being slowed by running through water.

6. Use shorter strokes to get through the chop. If you are swimming in the ocean and it is a choppy day, this technique helps tremendously. Once you get to some smoother water, go back to long strokes to maximize efficiency and conserve energy.

7. Practice. Swim in the open water often when you are preparing for a race that has an open water start. The more experience you can develop getting used to the conditions and variables in open water vs. pool swimming, the better off you will be mentally on race day.

These 7 tips should help you to at least tolerate, if not enjoy, the beginning of a triathlon!

As you can see, Kevin has some good, practical swimming information.

Like I mentioned, he just released the second free video is his “Tri Swim Secrets” series. Click here to check it out. These are actually really good free videos from Kevin for anybody interested in learning to swim or wanting to swim faster. Leave a comment here if you watched the videos, and let me know what you think.

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4 thoughts on “Seven Tips For Surviving the Start of a Triathlon.

  1. Pool says:

    Great Article, Your mentioned tips are very helpful for me. I will definitely follow them while doing this.

  2. Mike says:

    Hey Ben,
    There's some great tips for the swim start. One thing i hope you can answer.Apparantley it is quite common to feel dizzy, disoriented with a feel of motion sickness when coming out of an open water swim (it never happens in the pool), something that happens to me every time and can often take days to recover from. Do you know what the reason is for this? Even better, do you know anyway of preventing it?
    Thanks for your time
    MIke

    1. This is a time when I have observed ginger, homeopathic motion sickness remedies, sparkling water, and when necessary motion sickness pharmaceuticals all to have worked well…

  3. Hey – that picture is from the Spring Meadow Triathlon in Helena, MT. Come join us this year Sunday, July 11, 2010 @ 8:00 AM local time. Sprint and Oly distance. ~RRMT

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