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Race warm-up
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Newbee needing some advice on how to get ready for the swim. have done 3 races now; open water still makes me quite anxious (regardless of rolling start or waves by swim time) but also realised i don't have any proper warm-up routine. seems few races allow swimming beforehand so what do you experienced guys do in the time from when you have checked-in your stuff and the gun goes off? I realised am just hanging around in my wetsuit being nervous so entering the water with a high HB but no proper warm-up so in all 3 races was really struggling for 10m or so till found a rythm. been looking around but apart from a handful of people doing light jogging in their wetsuit everybody was just standing there (races were very local so can imagine at other venues it's different). Any tips on or links to how to prepare are really appreciated
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Re: Race warm-up [GDK] [ In reply to ]
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My 2 cents is do as much warm up as you can, however you can. My body does not react well to sudden increases in demand, possibly due to aging (45), general physiology or a cardiac procedure a few years ago. Since I'm now in the later start waves, I have plenty of time at races and here's my typical routine: Arrive early and get kick ass parking close to transition - setup transition - back to car to chill/eat/chat with friends - 10-15 minutes on my trainer bike, low effort with a few surges - ~10 mins light jogging - stretch - get swim stuff on, then get in the water. Specific to the swim, my races suck unless I can warm up. My last race was my best: 8-10 mins cruising around and getting used to water temp, with a few surges, then head in, adjust wetsuit, head back out for a few sprints, timing it such that I've got a minute or 2 before the gun. This gets my heart rate down, body warmed up, muscles stretched and wetsuit primed. Was 12th out of the water at that race, which is shockingly good for me.

Non-swim warm up races suck and I believe should be banned, there's no justification for it at most venues. If this is the case, I at least stand in the water, splash it all over my face, maybe have a friend squirt a water bottle down my suit - anything to negate the shock of jumping in and hammering. Oh and yes, do arm warms up, jump around, jog in place - anything to get your HR up toward race pace. That helps me anyway.

Also, start slow. I find that I'm going faster/harder than I think I am from the gun, and once I get 'behind' it's hard to catch my breath. Consciously shooting for 80% allows me to cruise those first 1-200 yards getting some draft before finding some space and starting to push.

Lastly, practice this in the pool. Do the first 25% of some intervals at near all out speed, then cruise the rest. That way you get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
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Re: Race warm-up [mattyboy] [ In reply to ]
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You get used to it after a while - the more you do it - the more there isn't that "shock".

I learned in diving (I grew up in the ocean) that there is a natural panic that occurs when water hits people face since we do not have gills. Saw it happen - if someone had to take their mask off underwater - they panicked. So at least dunk your face in the water to get rid of that impulse to panic which will certainly get your heart rate up.
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Re: Race warm-up [GDK] [ In reply to ]
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I try to get about 15-20 mins in the water for an A/B race as a warm up. Start out by wading in slowly to waist-ish deep water(if possible) for a few minutes, mostly just to adjust to the water and separate mentally from the craziness of transition. Then I'll swim at a pretty relaxed pace for about 10 minutes, trying to go in all the directions the course would take you, to get an idea for where the sun would be. Then I'll spend the next 5 minutes doing 2 longer reps of race speed (30-60 seconds, totally by feel, little to no rest), and 2-3 very fast reps (<15 secs, ~60 secs rest). Once I'm done with that I'll cruise back to shore, very relaxed pace. Then I'll just hang out in the water until pre-race announcements or my wave is up. I use that time to relax and get in a good head space, because I tend to psych myself out leading up to a race. Being in the water and getting comfortable helps me get grounded, and having a routine I can check off is really nice.

This is for a sprint or oly, for a half I'll cut our most of the fast stuff, and maybe do a few quick reps. If it's a C race I'll do whatever I have time for!
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Re: Race warm-up [GDK] [ In reply to ]
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If they don't let you in the water, they suck, but it is what it is. For a race under 70.3, I will do a jogging warmup with some pickups to race pace, similar to what I'd do for a running race. That primes all the energy systems.

To avoid the "shock" when I hit the water, I pour a bottle of cold water onto my head and face and onto my chest and armpits, as late as I can before swim start. Doing that, I don't get the cold-wet shock when I jump in the water. The shock is a physiological response -- increased HR and breathing rate -- and I'm not sure you can train your way around it. The shock might be what's getting to you, or maybe you're just starting too hard in the water.

In a 70.3 or longer, I still do the water on the face and torso, but warmup is just arm swings and maybe a few air squats, then start the swim slowly -- as if I was warming up at the pool. Might cost me a minute on the swim, which is all but meaningless in a long race.


<The Dew Abides>
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Re: Race warm-up [GDK] [ In reply to ]
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I just want to quickly emphasize the obvious point that your wetsuit doesn't become effective until you have a plane of water between it and your skin. Definitely dump a couple bottles down your front and back before the gun, if you can't do a proper swim warmup. I'm sure you already knew this but just wanted to mention.
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Re: Race warm-up [domingjm] [ In reply to ]
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I didn't know that! Thanks to you all for the tips
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