Swim with your shoes on, run in your wetsuit – it’s a funny business doing a SwimRun event and I’ve had a lot of questions about the kit we used for OtillO on the Isles of Scilly, so here is a breakdown…
- SwimRun Wetsuit: There is quite a difference in features to my usual triathlon wetsuit. Short legs, zip up the front for easy breathing when running, extra flexible in the shoulders and back of the legs for running, extra buoyancy on the front and sides, zip pocket on the back and small pockets inside for nutrition and safety equipment and the option to cut the sleeves down. I didn’t do so in the hot weather on Scilly found it a bit cumbersome to strip down to the waist for longer runs and re-suit for the swims. May partner Jenny had a different suit that came short sleeve as standard, with separate full sleeves (like bike arm warmers) which seemed to work well. I used the Zone3 Evolution SwimRun https://racezone3.com/product/mens-evolution/
- Running Shoes: You could absolutely wear your favourite shoe for a SwimRun but there are a few things I wanted from mine – lightweight when wet as well as dry, good traction to tackle rocky shorefronts as well as tough trails that were really fell running in places, low drop, non-absorbing soles for weight and also buoyancy in the water. After a lot of research, I went for the Acceleritas5 M RB9X by Swedish brand Icebug: https://int-shop.icebug.com/swimrun/acceleritas5-m-rb9x-1
- Paddles: Paddles are not mandatory and there were plenty people who didn’t use them. 8km is a lot of swimming to do with paddles so I did most of my swimming in the months prior to the race in them and it was definitely tough on the arms and shoulders but overall definitely worth it. The big boys used bigger paddles but these Speedo are size small which was perfect for me.
- Belt/Carabiner: Jenny and I experimented in training with a tether which we decided not to use in the race (too easy to get tangled up) but I kept the belt, added a carabiner and used that to clip my paddles onto for the longer runs – it worked well and I’d do that again.
- Goggles: Nothing fancy or special about these – my usual Aquasphere model.
- Safety Equipment: These are mandatory items – a whistle, compass and compression bandage. I ditched the bulky bandage I bought at Boots and got this little vacuum sealed pack at the race. It is very flat and easy to fit in my wetsuit. It should also be noted I have no clue how to use a compass. You will have to show these items when registering in order to collect your vest and chip etc.
- Swim Cap: I used the race issue silicon cap but even in the once in a lifetime weather, the water got cold. Jenny wore a neoprene headband and that’s an item I’ll add to the kit bag.
- Pull Buoy: Another optional aid but used by almost everyone. I poked a couple of holes in it with a kitten knife then threaded a swim ankle band through to attach it to my leg. Insert between legs for swims, move to the side for runs.
- Neoprene calf sleeve: These came with the wetsuit and are a must have item. Helps with buoyancy and provided some leg cover when running through bushes etc.