My first Tri

I have entered a starter tri, 500m swim 10k bike 5k run, just to get a feel for tri's and also for xtraining for a marathon in october.

my problem is that although I can swim(100-150 lengths of a pool is not a problem), I cant do it front crawl. i was a sprint swimmer a schools and county level so anything over 10 lengths front crawl and i am knackered, and have to revert to 4 leghts breast 1 length crawl.

will I get away with breast stroke or will I have to learn to slow crawl???

advice please folks


  • You'll be fine as you are - everything goes at tris !
  • HA!HA!
    caught ya!lurking as usual!
    i'm sure wildwill/hilly/mermaid and a few others will be on here to give you some good advice leggy.
    good luck :-)
  • breast stroke is fine legless - just go with whatever is quickest for you.
  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    some bastid doing breaststroke sped past me at Windsor - OK I'm no fast front crawler but that was just taking the piss......grrrr

    legless - is the 500m open water?? if so you may find the crawl will work fine - I can't do more than 4 lengths front crawl in the pool, yet can go at least 2k (longest test yet) in open water without stopping - it's all to do with getting into a good steady rhythm I think and no walls to interrupt it. I think having a wettie on also helps as I don't need to use the legs as much to keep forward momentum because of the extra buoyancy.

    maybe you should try it in a lake or sea and see what happens - I have suprised myself. just need to get speed now!
  • WaboWabo ✭✭✭
    What a coincidence! I entered my first triathlon yesterday, 400m swim, 20k bike and 5k run. The swim is what is worrying me, I can swim for ages but am not fast and can only do breast stroke, feel better after reading this thread however.
    possunt quia posse videntur - we can because we know we can 
  • I only swim breast stroke, but I think it's better to swim a relaxed breast stroke, than a knackering crawl. If your crawl technique is bad, (like mine) you're going end up to tired to do a good bike.

    You can gain back most of the time you've lost on the swim if you're strong on the bike.
  • every sprint tri i've entered or watched has ahd people doing breast stroke. you won't be on your own

    fb - i'm completely the other way round - can happily swim for ever in the pool (5k+ without stopping) but in open water i really struggle. mind you it didn't help last sunday that the first 4 breaths i tried to take were all under water!!!!

    i'm still much quicker in open water - i assume because of the wetsuit - just a lot less comfortable.
  • Don't worry too much about the swim, I've done breaststroke and wasn't last out of the water........(Last overall but hey ho!!!)
  • I was suprised...I thought I couldn't do the crawl for 750 swim but in the practice session a few days before I managed it fine. I think the problem is the same that when doing the crawl I find it hard to keep it slow and hence get knackarded out quickly. This generally is remedied by having a shed load of people in your way and doing the pacing for you. Although saying that on the day I was trying to overtake people and that really threw my pacing out and I was breathing every second stroke rather than the 3 or 4 that I'd kind-of practiced.

    Start of in crawl and see how it goes...I think you'll be suprised especially as the people around you will prevent you from shooting off too quickly. If you resort to breast stroke then so what....the guy in front of me did for about 100m.

    Enjoy the day...I did (sort of - certainly enjoyed the finish)

    Good luck
  • chuffed to bits with what I'm reading here....I've entered the Reading concorde tri in August, and swimming is definately the struggle. My first tri also.
    Currently I'm doing 35 seconds per 25 m length, and can't seem to get much quicker. I'm breathing once every time my left arm pops out of the water, found this loads more manageable than 3-4 strokes, which was what I started with.
    I stop at the end of the pool when I notice the technique has gone to pieces - sometimes it usually only takes a few seconds to regain myself, then off again. Don't like to stop for too long for fear of it ruining the endurance of it....but hey, what do I know.....???
    Tri training is addictive, for sure.
  • DAB,

    concorde will be my first one as well. Since then started to swim regular, did one 400 m swim for time so far but since then only swim like I feel, trying to improve the style. I will not be worried about my time and looking at last years result I will not be the slowest.

    I am more worried about the bike ride.
  • Thanks folks feel much more reasured now.

    Travis stop lurking, your doing it with me!!!

    not looking to be competetive, just enjoy it, dont have a wettie and wasnt planning on investing in one either, i have been training in the pool in knee length lycra shorts and a shark skin top, which I was gonna wear for all 3 legs.

    dont have a bike either, but gonna borrow one for the race, not concerned about the bike or run, just the swim
  • go for it LL, breast stroke will be fine. You'll enjoy the cross training and I've heard that swimming even helps the running. Get Mrs LL doing same. Helps eleviate injuries.
  • I'm doing my first tri in September. How do they organise the swaim (its in a pool). It asked me for predicted time for 400m, now realised I put down my predicted time for 1000m. Will I need to contact them to avoid being put last in the swim and being stuck behind loads of peole, or do you get a lane each?
  • Ooh, I'm doing Concorde too, will definintely be doing breaststroke as my crawl looks like I'm practising synchronised drowning.

    I did the try-a-tri there earlier this year and we had 3 to a lane, with a staggered start which worked fine in my lane as we all seemed to have put realistic swim times down so there was no bunching.

    I'm quite nervous about the bike though, the course has very big hill which is fine going up but I'm a wimp on the downhill..

  • WaboWabo ✭✭✭
    I did a swim this morning to see what I a m up to, it took me 13 mins and I did 16 lengths breat stroke. On the day it will be 12 lengths though as the pool is longer, I hope this will bring my time down to the 12.30 that I estimated! Anyway I am happy with that.
    possunt quia posse videntur - we can because we know we can 
  • WaboWabo ✭✭✭
    Twink, I used to be a wimp on down hill. Go out and go down a few and gradually let yourself go, it is actually exhilarating when you overcome the fear! Honest.
    possunt quia posse videntur - we can because we know we can 
  • matt - you need to contact them. you can have up to 6 people in a lane at one time and if they aren't at least roughly the same standard it can get quite messy!
  • When I get my details through I'll get in touch with them. Thanks.
  • I was thinking about having a go at the Concorde Tri too. Swimming's not to much of a fear for me (slow but steady!) it's getting out of the pool i have problem with! Have tendonitis on one wrist and can't hoik myself out of the pool by myself - will I be able to use the steps ? (!)

    Where's the big hill then so I can go and try it out?
  • Fraggle, I'm sure that TVT would be able to organise for you to swim in an outer lane, they certainly seemed very obliging at the tri-a-try.

    The big hill is Harts Hill Road which goes from Upper Bucklebury down to Floral Way in Thatcham (by the Mill House pub). It's steep and very twisty. If they keep the same route as last year, you have to come down it, round the roundabout at the bottom then back up.

    I haven't tried it yet but would be happy to have a go with you (safety in numbers !)
  • Twink,

    hill? I am bad on hills. Really bad. How long? How steep? How many laps? Is there a downhill before so I can get pace and just roll it up or do I have to pedal it?
  • I am sure you will all have a great time I did my first sprint last mounth have my second in a few weeks and looking into 3rd and 4th.
  • Lars don't panic !

    The course (if it stays the same as last year) starts from Bradfield college and follows an 'undulating' road for a while before a long flatish section - although not as flat as it appears in the car - before the downhill, then it's round the roundabout and back along the same route.

    I guess that will mean all speed gained on the down will be lost on the roundabout (novice cyclist so I might well be wrong) so you'll have to pedal. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't steep in parts but it does have flatter bits in between.

    I've just had a look at it in Trailgauge and it's around half a mile long with about a 60 metre climb.
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