If you are reading this, chances are you are runner who is looking for a new challenge, cross-train through swimming, or venture into the world of multi-sports. Whatever the reason may be, jumping from being a runner to an aquathlete is never that easy.
Aquathlon is an endurance sport which can be best described as a minified version of a triathlon. In aquathlon, athletes directly move on to the running phase after completing the swimming phase of the race. I joined my first aquathlon a month ago after 2 years of regular running and just like what they say, “You will never forget your first”. There were some things I wish I knew prior to joining the race that I would like to share to aquathlete hopefuls, so here are some tips to guide you if you are planning to joining one too!
1. Running after swimming is NOT THAT EASY as you might think.
Many aquathletes come to the sport as strong runners, which definitely helps you finish strong. But if you have never run after swimming, you are in for a surprise. I’ve finished six half marathons prior to joining an aquathlon so I thought I was confident on my running endurance not until I was in the actual race literally catching my breath as I transitioned from swimming to running. After some time of vigorous swimming, getting your legs to cooperate in their usual manner takes practice. Don’t expect to keep your regular run pace. Scheduling a few swim/run sessions into your training is key.
2. Dry-run your run/swim equipment.
Never wear anything for the first time on your race day! Be it running shoes, tri suit, goggles, swim cap, etc., it pays to do a “break-in” of these equipment. In my case, I got my triathlon suit 2 days before the actual race so I wasn’t really able to do several sessions of running and swimming to try it out. It ended up me not being comfortable during the run leg in the upper half of my tri suit.
3. Don’t get intimidated or feel out of place just because you’re a newbie.
Unlike how most of the people perceive it, aquathlon or triathlon is extremely inclusive and welcoming! I am guilty of getting intimidated by seasoned aquathletes so I tended to isolate myself during the training and race preparations but during the race day, everyone is just so friendly! Multi-sports athletes may just seem intimidating but fans, spectators, and other athletes cheer just the same from the first finisher up to the last one.
4. Keep it fun!
Last but not the least, do not forget to have fun! I must admit I wish I were a little not so hard on myself during the training season and race day itself so I could enjoy each and every moment and sweat – after all, it was just my first aquathlon. Above any PRs or podium places, aquathlon or multi-sports is fun — first and foremost. At the end of the day, it’s just swimming and running – don’t forget why you were drawn to do this in the first place. Finishing is all that matters – no matter how fast or slow you are.
Enjoy and have fun on your race!