How to Pace Your Triathlon Swim

Balancing your energy levels throughout the triathlon swim is difficult. Regardless of the training you have had prior the race, there are always a number of factors that are out of your control, such as the wave and wind conditions, bumping into other competitors, or an unexpected mishap with a buoy!


Pace Triathlon Swim


These factors can affect the outcome of any triathlon’s swim, but as long as you are able to focus on the controllable factors during the race, you can increase your chances of finishing the swim while still maintaining a strong form.

Being able to read and pace your personal energy is vital when it comes to controlling your race. While training, you need to focus on how you feel during workouts. Always pay close attention to the moments when you feel like the most energetic and, also, when you lose energy.

To make your training more effective, you need to include several full race simulations both in the open water and pool. This is so you can determine how your body will react under circumstances on a normal race because those feelings will be amplified on the race day itself. While the extra adrenaline will work on your advantage, it still must be used correctly.

Oftentimes, you run out of steam too early, which will cause you to finish your swim with no energy left for the rest of the race.

Shift Your Gears

Use your long swim in practicing shifting gears. You need to take note and count your strokes to get your average count. After every 200 yards, try picking up your pace but still maintain your average stroke count.

Break your race into four quarters so that you can maintain your energy throughout the swim.

First Quarter: During the start of the swim, try to gain a strong position while working to stay out of the way during the initial fight for the pole position. Other triathletes will be fighting to stay inside of the pack and the best thing that you can do is by going against the grain.

Start towards the outside of the pack and the moment you see you are getting closer to the first buoy, move your way towards the middle. In doing so, you will gain more by having enough open space.

Second Quarter: Once you get past the chaos on the opening part of the swim, make sure that you still conserve and pace your energy for the later part in the race. Get into a rhythm that works for you and, as much as possible, maintain a steady pace.

Third Quarter: This is the part where you kick into gear and this will be to your advantage because a lot of swimmers wait until the last part before they push their pace. You can gain a stronger position of you kick into gear as early as the third quarter. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to lay it all on the line because swimming faster is only a small part of the race, but blowing off all of your steam will hurt the final two legs of the race.

Fourth Quarter: Maintain rhythm and technique during the last part of the race. Use this time to grab plenty of air and conserve energy, because you will need it on your bike.

By employing the above techniques, you should be on your way to a strong and stress-free swim.

Happy swimming!


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