Our Swimrun FAQ answers your most important questions - the ones we are asked time and again. Get your answers quickly, right here!
Q. What is "Swimrun"?
A. SWimrun is a sport that involves running and swimming in alternate sections without changing any gear or clothing - you run in your wetsuit and keep your shoes on during the swims! Read more at our page What Is Swimrun!
Q. How can I find out about swimrun events?
Q. What should I wear for a swimrun?
A. Most people will wear a wetsuit with a swimmming costume underneath. Some people wear a tri-suit.
Q. What is a swimrun-specific wetsuit?
A. A swimrun-specific wetsuit has several features that make it more comfortable and efficient for swimming AND running; The legs are usually trimmed just above the knee, so that the neoprene does not interfere with your knee while running.
Many swimrun wetsuits will have both front and rear zips, a sturdy loop for attaching a tether or tow rope, and thicker neoprene over the thighs for extra buoyancy, with thinner more flexible neoprene around the shoulders. Some will have internal or external pockets.
Q. What equipment do I need?
A. This depends on the exact event, but the minimum would include trail shoes that drain well, socks, a wetsuit, swimming goggles, swim paddles, and a pull buoy.
Q. What equipment is mandatory?
A. For most events, you will need to carry a whistle and a waterproof bandage kit. Some events used to list a compass, too.
Q. Do you wear socks?
A. Yes. Running in wet shoes can cause blisters quite quickly, so good-quality socks (like Gococo) are essential unless you are wearing shoes like the Vivo Barefoot.
Q. Do I have to be a good swimmer?
A. The short answer is "Yes". Ideally, you should be able to swim 2000 metres in one go, in under an hour, for a long distance race. For an Experience or Sprint race, you should be able to swim 500 metres in 15 minutes.
Q. How do I train for a swimrun event?
A. You need to train in 3 modes; pool swimming, road and trail running, and then open-water swimming in your wetsuit with trail-running in your wetsuit practicing entries and exits over sand, shingle, stones and rocks.
Q. Do you swim wearing running shoes?
A. Yes! You keep your shoes on for the entire race. Sometimes you can drill a few small holes through the soles, to allow water to drain more quickly, but they must be small to keep grit out.
Q. Do you run in a wetsuit?
A. Yes! You keep your wetsuit on the the entire race, although you can unzip the top to allow a bit more movement, or even pull the top down for longer running sections (also called 'cab down').
In some warmer-water events (like Italy and Tahiti) you wear a triathlon suit, not a wetsuit.
Q. How hard is a swimrun event?
A. Harder than you might think. The swim sections are usually in cold water, and sometimes through choppy water. And then you have to run with a wetsuit full of water. The combined effects of resistance from the neoprene and extra weight make running a challenge, and fatigue builds quite quickly.
Q. How far is a swimrun event?
A. This depends on the event; the shortest races are usually under 10km in total. Middle-distance events cover 12 to 20km total, and the full-distance events are typically 30 to 40km, although some are much longer. The swimming legs usually take up 10% to 20% of the total distance.
Q. How long does a swimrun race last?
A. The 'Intro' events usually take under an hour to complete. The 'Sprint' distance events typically take 2 to 3 hours. Full-distance races usually take 4 to 6 hours, although many are longer.
Q. How do you carry a pull buoy on the running sections?
A. Some people attach the pull buoy to the back of their race belt; you can also pull it round to the outside of your thigh with a loop of elastic cord to hold it in place.
Q. What do I wear under the wetsuit?
A. Most people will wear a swimming costume or a tri-suit under their wetsuit. It depends on personal preference and water temperature.
Q. Do I really need hand paddles?
A. It's not essential, but most people will use hand paddles. For first-timers it's not so important - I wore webbed neoprene gloves for my first event. But hand paddles definitely have an advantage, but you MUST train with them!
Q. What do I do with my swim hat and goggles on the running section?
A. You can just carry them in your hand, or you can unvip the front of your wetsuit a little and stuff your hat and goggles inside. Your swim paddles can be clipped into a carabiner on the back of your belt.
Q. What do I do with prescription glasses on the swim legs?
A. You can cut the pouch from a running belt and sew it into the back of your swimrun belt, and put your glasses in there.
Q. What's the hardest thing about swimrun?
A. Running in a wetsuit, scrambling over rocks at swim entries and exits, and dealing with 'Nature' - cold water, muddy conditions etc.
Q. Do you get a medal at a swimrun race?
A. For most events, yes, but not Ötillö, unless you actually win!
Q. What is the best event for a first-timer?
A. An 'Experience' or 'Intro' event, of under 10km.
Q. Do I have to compete as a team, or can I go solo?
A. The original idea behind swimrun was to compete as a team of 2, but many events now allow solo competitors for the short and sprint distances. All full-distance events are still 'teams only', as far as I know.
Q. Is it mandatory to use a tow-rope or tether between team members?
A. No, it is not, but many teams will use one during the swim legs if one member is a stronger swimmer.
Q. Can I use flippers?
A. Some events allow this, with a limit on the length of 15cm from toe to flipper tip. But they are big to carry when running, and not many people use them. Some events may ban them, so check the event regulations.
Q. Are there any age restrictions or medical requirements?
A. There is a minimum age restriction of 14 to 15 (Australia), and usually 18 for most other events. There is no maximum age limit. Some countries like France and Italy require a medical certificate.
SwimRun-Advice.com is supported by the following Swimrun companies;