Advice Needed!

Hi guys, i'm doing my first sprint triathlon on Sunday and i've been looking forward to it all summer, as luck would have it i've woken up today with a bad head cold and i'm really bunged up. I'm determined to still do it and i know i'll be fine on the bike and run, but i'm really concerned about the swim (my weakest discipline by far at the best of times!)

Does anyone know if there are any rules against doing backstroke? I just don't see how i am going to be able to do freestyle with all the breathing problems i'm having!) Its in a swimming pool.

Advice would be most welcome image


  • Firstly is your race pool based or open water??

    Have you hit the cold remedies to try & shift it?

    Are you sure it is a cold? There are some people (myself included) who have a sensitivity to the chemicals they put in pools, I frequently end up having sneezing fits and a blocked nose (feels like a head cold) if I don't take antihistamines before I swim! So if you've swum recently this might be the problem!

    In theory I don't believe there are rules against doing the backstroke, unless the race referee has specifically stated in the race information that it is not allowed. Check your race information pack! But bear in mind that to attract attention if you need assitance during the swim you should float on your back with an arm in the air!! If in doubt ask at the race breifing!

    If your swim is in a pool, you could always do the breaststroke in the style of a little old lady, i.e. by keeping your head out of the water. It will slow you down but it might help!

    Good luck and enjoy yourself!! image

  • If you feel the symptoms below the neck I wouldn't even try it. If it's just in your head then you might be okay...what a shame, I hope you feel better and it goes well for you, I've had to pull out of a number of races through illness and I get really annoyed.

  • If its an open water swim it might actually help your symptoms....I am lucky enough to live near the sea and a good blast of icy cold salt water always helps when I am suffering with a headcold. It also works on a hangover and it can really lift the spirits too. (Possibly that warm cosy feeling you get from getting dried and dressed after being so cold!)


  • Might be hayfever? I woke up feeling terrible, but ok now after a blast of remedies so think it might be a super-high pollen count today.

    It probably depends whether you have own lanes or they're setting you off in intervals. Unless you have own lanes I wouldn't recommend it!

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