Go SwimRun! All About SwimRuns and Wetsuits

The first Ötillö, or island to island, took place in September 2006 with nine teams of two at the starting line. Fast forward to 2017 where there are more than 400 SwimRun events around the world.


What is a SwimRun?

A team of two racing across land, sea and even lakes. There’s no taking off sneakers and wetsuits. You’ve got to carry your essentials for the race on you. It’s a SwimRun!

This novel race format had its roots in a crazy bet between friends who challenged each other to run and swim from one end of the Stockholm archipelago to the other. Later in 2006, they conceived it as a full-fledged endurance race.

Since then, it has been making a splash and is now all over the world.

How do I train for a SwimRun?

A SwimRun poses the peculiar challenge of alternating between open water and land, making this transition several times. This calls for a special training strategy.

  1. Outdoor running

Since you’ll be running on big bad open land, begin by attempting off-road runs, preferably with some company. Try to incorporate different terrain like grass, sand, mud and rocks into your route.

  1. Swimming in open water

Start with open water you are familiar with – it’s important to swim in water you know is safe, staying close to the shore. Always have someone on the shore watching out for you, or someone swimming with you. Make sure you factor in currents, wind and cold before deciding when and where to swim.

How do I deal with transitions?

Building stamina isn’t enough for a successful SwimRun. As you train, get your body used to making multiple water exits and entries. As your body exits the water, you need to be aware that the focus moves from regulated breathing to using your legs to maneuver terrain. Consciously working on this is key.

Get used to moving from a horizontal position to a vertical one – practice regaining leg control as SwimRuns usually have more than eight transitions.

If you can’t get hold of open water as much as you’d like to, throw in some outside-the- pool squats, lunges or try walking in a safe area before getting back into the water.

It’s essential to practice in some open water, however, as it’ll help you get used to swimming with sneakers.

How do I work with a partner?

SwimRun originally started with the idea of running in pairs. It’s a case of four legs are better than two because you’ll have someone to encourage you to keep going, check on you during rough patches, and cheer with you at the finish line. If you can’t find someone who’s at your level of fitness, then be ready to make adjustments in terms of your speed.

What wetsuit is best for a SwimRun?

You can’t do a SwimRun without a wetsuit, so you’ll need a wetsuit that’s designed to be breathable and resilient for the run while being flexible and buoyant enough for the swim.

Orca’s SwimRun Core wetsuit is an ideal combination of the two, and has some bells and whistles that make it SwimRun-friendly.

  • Removable neoprene arms – Separate 2mm high removable arms that can be taken off to dry in the sun before being put on again to give additional warmth in the water.
  • Extended front zip – This zip allows extra ventilation on the run and makes the suit easy to put on and take off.
  • Outer side pockets – Since you need to carry your accessories with you on the race, these side pockets on the upper thighs of the wetsuit have enough space to carry some essentials.
  • Flexy crotch or inner thigh panel – This flexible crotch area makes transitioning from water to land a little bit easier.
  • Duraskin butt panel- Running over rocks, grass and other kinds of terrain can cause slips or slides. This panel protects the suit from damage if you happen to slip or fall on your buttocks.

Another great wetsuit option is the 2017 Zone3 Men’s Evolution SwimRun Wetsuit. It boasts some great features to be a great companion on any SwimRun.

  • Built-in silicone removable band – Placed just above the elbow, this band can easily be removed for the run.
  • 5mm Yamamoto back and side panels – These side panels provide great upper body buoyancy.
  • 2mm front and back legs with high stretch lining – Since the seams are glued and not stitched, they prevent any chaffing from thread to give a free-flowing running experience
  • Front zip with cord – Gives you better breathability and temperature control during the run
  • Two internal back and one external front pocket – Allow you to carry essential SwimRun gear with you.
  • The wetsuit also comes in two bright colors for better visibility, ensuring you SwimRun in style.

Strategic training and a good wetsuit will stand you in good stead this season as you begin your SwimRun.

Explore a range of SwimRun Wetsuits from Just Wetsuits – one of the world’s top sellers of wetsuits.

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