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  1. #1
    Member BigCat's Avatar
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    Sticking with your own swim pace

    I have often struggled to keep my own pace in the swim. Sometimes I get swept up in the wave - for example in a tri this weekend I (age 61) was in the same wave as teens (mostly from swim teams). I kept up with them for the first 100 yards, then I felt like I was going to drown in the lake, I was so exhausted. I had this experience when I first started to do Triathalons, but I have gradually learned to slow down my pace until I feel OK. In my most recent Oly I focused on counting my strokes, which helped keep me focused on myself, but its not so easy. This morning when I was swimming in the pool I tried both counting my strokes and counting my breaths. However, I find it is very difficult to keep track of the numbers. It still helps, but I wish I could figure out a better system. When I'm running or biking, I use my HRM to keep my pace, which works very well.

    I am doing the NYC Tri this coming weekend, so I welcome any suggestions on how to ignore others in favor of just keeping my own pace (which is not very fast, but its better to be slow than completely exhausted).

  2. #2
    Body By Nintendo Psydotek's Avatar
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    I just count *one*two*breathe(three)*one*two*breathe*etc... I'm pretty in tune with how my body feels and if my pace is too fast or not.

    What about starting at the back of the wave? I usually just slowly lumber into the water while everybody else is rushing in. It lets me have plenty of space to do my own thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    A girl once asked me to give her twelve inches and make it hurt. I had to make love to her 3 times and then punch her in the nose.

  3. #3
    i believe in me evanyc's Avatar
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    focus on the rhythm of your stroke and breathing. you can help do this by closing your eyes when you swim. the hudson is nasty so you're not going to be able to see anything anyway, so while your head is in the water just close your eyes and focus on your arms. open your eyes of course to spot. you'll probably get your best swim time ever regardless of how slow you pace yourself since it's with the river current.

  4. #4
    runnin' down a dream edbikebabe's Avatar
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    I agree with Psydotek. Start out at the back (or back half) of the pack. Purposely go slow for the first 100m or so & by that time you will be settled in & it will be easier to stay at your pace rather than trying to keep up to someone else.

    I find if I make a real effort to listen to my body, I can set my pace perfectly. Besides, if you wind up behind those young 'uns, it will be more fun to pass them all on the bike & run.

  5. #5
    Member BigCat's Avatar
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    behind those young 'uns

    Quote Originally Posted by edbikebabe View Post
    I agree with Psydotek. Start out at the back (or back half) of the pack. Purposely go slow for the first 100m or so & by that time you will be settled in & it will be easier to stay at your pace rather than trying to keep up to someone else.

    I find if I make a real effort to listen to my body, I can set my pace perfectly. Besides, if you wind up behind those young 'uns, it will be more fun to pass them all on the bike & run.
    Here's the weird part. My age group (55+ Male) starts at 6 AM, right after the elite athletes, so I'll have no young 'uns to pass. These suggestions are helpful. Keep 'em coming. Thanks.

  6. #6
    Juicy Rowdy's Avatar
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    I don't know how I do it but I just ignore everyone around me. The attitude I have going into the swim is that I can't win the race in the swim but I can lose it. I just get into the flow of my stroke and pay attention to it and the buoys.

  7. #7
    Just riding andygates's Avatar
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    Going out too hard is a mistake I make too. In the one really nice (not fast, but solid) OW race I've had, I deliberately went slow until my rhythm clicked.

    Those of us with this problem: do we warm up in the swim beforehand? I have to confess I don't.

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    My most recent event I concentrated on starting slow, and getting into my pace in the water. I actually finished in the top third of my age group in the swim, because while my stroke is slow, it is also efficient. I really have to work to avoid the adrenaline rush when the *** goes off, and the sprint into the water. Works much better for me to jog in and start a nice easy stroke, and pass the guys who are out of breath and swimming with their heads up (which often describes me).

  9. #9
    Member BigCat's Avatar
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    Experience in NYC Tri

    The advice was helpful. I did the NYC Tri Sunday and had an excellent swim: very smooth, easy, and I felt great when I got out. I was in the fastest third of my age-group and I came out feeling ready to bike. I counted my strokes the whole way - about 1300 - which kept me focused on me. They had signs every 300 meters to let you know how far you'd gone, and that was very helpful. The start was in the water, holding on to a rope, so as to avoid getting swept away by the current before the actual start. The water was salty, but clean, there was no debris, and you could see about five feet in front on you, and there were kayaks about every ten feet, to keep you on course.

    This Tri was the most incredible athletic experience of my life. The support and organization of the event was great, my family was involved volunteering and cheering me on, and my performance made me very happy, especially the swim and the run. All my training paid off. Now I'm thinking of doing a Half Iron Man next year.

    Posted my concerns here helped me think things through and be better prepared.

  10. #10
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    Congrats on a good NYC Tri.

    I have the same problem. BUT, the swim is actually my best leg vs. my age group competitors. I am a good "swimming pool swimmer" and am reasonably efficient (and my 210 pounds is not such a handicap LOL!).

    However, when I go with the faster swimmers at the beginning of an open water swim, the pace is too fast and I end up almost drowning, losing all smoothness and flounder around. (At times I have simply done the backcrawl for a whole OLY distance.) On the other hand, if I start at the back at a more reasonable pace, one that will gradually increase as the leg goes on, I end up battling through all the squids that went too fast at the start and who should have started back with or behind me! That's almost as miserable.

    Suggestions?

    Tyson
    Cushing, Oklahoma

  11. #11
    Member BigCat's Avatar
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    Keeping your own pace

    This thing about going out too fast is a big deal. I have two thoughts on that: One, is that keeping focused on your own pace is essential, and that's why I find the counting strokes help. It also gives me a sense of how far I've gone and how far I have to go. The second it that I think my panic in the water when I've gone out too fast seems to be about my fears taking over. When I do intervals in the pool I find increasingly I can just slow down if I'm winded, whereas in open water the fear gets to me. I think I need to remind myself that I can simply slow down and keep going, that I don't have to feel overwhelmed and switch to the side stroke or whatever. So the issue is IN MY MIND, not a matter of the water. This is still hard to say, because a part of me can get so scared, but still I believe that the fear of drowning in the middle of the lake is about me and my mind, not about the water and my conditioning and ability. So my suggestion is to do more intense pool training and get comfortable with the intensity and be able to control it and not be controlled by it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Tress94's Avatar
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    Do you do you pool/training swims with people around? I've been jumping in the 'fast' lane and even though I might bug the crap out of some folks I find it is helping me control my own pace and un-learning the natural desire to "race" everyone around me...so I just go out steady and controlled and let them swim around me, I figure this will help long term...

    Good luck.

  13. #13
    Member long_legs's Avatar
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    Just an observation from pool training today; I really did controlled / slow pace 3200 meters non-stop averaging 1:05 min / 100 meters, I totally ignored people in the pool who were literally racing with me. None of them lasted in the pool for the whole duration and I kept reminding myself "stick to your slow pace" I think trying to stick to my pace with the end-goal of covering the distance as a vision helps me a lot.

  14. #14
    Member long_legs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by long_legs View Post
    Just an observation from pool training today; I really did controlled / slow pace 3200 meters non-stop averaging 1:05 min / 100 meters, I totally ignored people in the pool who were literally racing with me. None of them lasted in the pool for the whole duration and I kept reminding myself "stick to your slow pace" I think trying to stick to my pace with the end-goal of covering the distance as a vision helps me a lot.
    Typo: 2:10 min/ 100 meters.

  15. #15
    Fix Turns My Crank fixedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tress94 View Post
    Do you do you pool/training swims with people around? I've been jumping in the 'fast' lane and even though I might bug the crap out of some folks I find it is helping me control my own pace and un-learning the natural desire to "race" everyone around me...so I just go out steady and controlled and let them swim around me, I figure this will help long term...
    swim in the proper lane! swimming in the wrong lanes is inconsiderate, selfish and not good pool etiquette.

    poor advice.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Tress94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixedude View Post
    swim in the proper lane! swimming in the wrong lanes is inconsiderate, selfish and not good pool etiquette.

    poor advice.
    Let me re-phase, I'm not slow...its only the occasional swimmer or two who jump in and start busting out race-pace sprints attempting to prove something...what i meant was, don't get caught up in it...let them go past -- that is what they WANT to do anyway! -- and keep your own pace...I have very good pool etiquette actually, much more that most people.

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