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  1. #1
    APTokyo
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    Swimming practice necessary?

    I've never done a triathlon before, but regularly run marathons and have been commuting by bike for 6+ months now. I'm in good shape and feel I could handle the running and biking portion of a half Ironman. I would really like to try, but swimming practice is a problem for me. My current gym (paid up until Feb 08) does not have a pool, and the chances of finding a pool are low. I live in Japan where they forbid tattoos in the pools. I could possibly cover it with a shirt, but not likely. Considering I'm in good health, have enough endurance, do you think it's possible to make it through 1.2 mile swim with no practice?

  2. #2
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    swimming is more about proper technique and efficiency than just sloshing through it.

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    1.2 miles is a long way to swim with no practice at all. I would say no if you are doing no swimming at all. You might be able to by mixing in some breast strokes and backstrokes.

  4. #4
    multi-sport junkie dothedu's Avatar
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    Maybe you can take some weekend trips to tokyo bay for some open water swimming. You can also wear a rash guard designed for surfing to cover your tattoos they are very easy to swim in. It is very hard to swim 1.2 mi with no training and with people kicking you and hitting you its even harder but possibly do-able if you have some sort of background in swimming.

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    Take Your Lane MaxBender's Avatar
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    Just wear the full wetsuit in the pool, and if anyone asks, tell them to back off because you are training for Ironman.

    (They do not even need to know about the 70.3/140.6 thing)
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    attention disordered What's Avatar
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    You'll waste all your energy surviving the swim and end up paying for it throughout the whole race. Would they really kick you out of the pool? That makes zero sense.
    Thin line between heaven and here.

  7. #7
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    If you have a swimming background im sure you could thrash your way through, but it wont be easy.

    If not, i doubt it. You'll either wreck yourself for the rest of the race, not make the cutoff, or get rescued by lifeguards .7 miles into it.

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    Bike Dork
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    I second the motion for a surfing shirt, and get to a pool.

    Depending on your level of swimming experience, failing to get in practice mileage before this event could be anywhere between a recipe for a really unpleasant triathlon experience and a recipe for disaster.

  9. #9
    Junior Member acd150's Avatar
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    I agree with above -- in order to have the energy to finish the tri after the swim I highly recomend having some swimming experience under your belt.

  10. #10
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    moreover, if you don't have experience with it, open water swimming, in a pack is a challenge unlike swimming in a pool.

    My first triathlon, even with a month of swim training in the pool, I thought I wasn't going to make it through 400 meters.

    Unless you're a really good swimmer by previous training, I think your plan is foolhardy, bordering on suicidal.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dothedu View Post
    Maybe you can take some weekend trips to tokyo bay for some open water swimming. You can also wear a rash guard designed for surfing to cover your tattoos they are very easy to swim in. It is very hard to swim 1.2 mi with no training and with people kicking you and hitting you its even harder but possibly do-able if you have some sort of background in swimming.
    Good advice. I could do it without training for swimming, but I swam competitively for over 15 years, usually putting in a couiple of miles of sprint work a day.

    dothedu is 100% right that 1.2 miles in the open water with a mass of other swimmers is a lot nastier than the same in a pool with lanes and walls at each end.

    At the least swim in a wetsuit. At least that way if you do 'die' if you keep calm and use the boyancy of the suit you will only die in the figurative meaning of the word.

  12. #12
    APTokyo
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    Thanks

    Thanks for all the feed back. I do not have a back ground in swimming, other than doing it as a kid. I thought about the idea of asking if I could swim in a shirt, but it might not be possible.

    Yes, I agree it's ridiculous but since when do culture differences make sense!

    I'm going to ask around to some other gyms and see if any of them would let me wear a shirt because I want to practice.

    Has anybody used this, or something like it?

  13. #13
    APTokyo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    Good advice. I could do it without training for swimming, but I swam competitively for over 15 years, usually putting in a couiple of miles of sprint work a day.

    dothedu is 100% right that 1.2 miles in the open water with a mass of other swimmers is a lot nastier than the same in a pool with lanes and walls at each end.

    At the least swim in a wetsuit. At least that way if you do 'die' if you keep calm and use the boyancy of the suit you will only die in the figurative meaning of the word.
    Ah, yeah, forgot to reply to this part. This actually may be the best thing I can do to a) avoid paying for a gym membership b) the hassle. Tokyo Bay is pretty skanky but if I go further out every other week or so maybe I could practice swimming in a wet suit.

  14. #14
    I keep falling off BiggerBoat's Avatar
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    Newbie

    Hi all! I'm new to this forum so bare with me. I did the swim portion of a triathlon (1st time and as a team). It was 1 mile and I had little practice (I though it would be easy). I was totally out of my depth as we all piled into the water at the same time, quite scary and it can suck all of your adrenaline out of you very very quickly. Don't even think about it without some serious practice as it can be dangerous as well. Good luck!

  15. #15
    multi-sport junkie dothedu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by APTokyo View Post
    I thought about the idea of asking if I could swim in a shirt, but it might not be possible.
    If you wear a shirt that is designed for swimming i could not see them having a problem with it. If they do just tell them that you were badly burned or you have a very large and embarrassing birthmark and you dont want to draw attention to yourself.
    Have you considered a shorter race? If there is a Half IM in your area they are sure to have shorter races. As to the stationary swim trainer- it is probably good if you have to try to keep your fitness if you miss a workout not to substitute for actual swims. I trained for a long time for my first tri (sprint). I failed to get some open water experience before the race and about half way through started to panic when I was kicked in the face and it threw off my breathing. I actually thought i might need help but quickly worked back into my stride thanks to my training. I definatly dont want to shy you away from this race but you must understand that this distance is quite an undertaking that requires lots of training- if not everyone would be doing it.

  16. #16
    APTokyo
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    Quote Originally Posted by dothedu View Post
    If you wear a shirt that is designed for swimming i could not see them having a problem with it. If they do just tell them that you were badly burned or you have a very large and embarrassing birthmark and you dont want to draw attention to yourself.
    Have you considered a shorter race? If there is a Half IM in your area they are sure to have shorter races. As to the stationary swim trainer- it is probably good if you have to try to keep your fitness if you miss a workout not to substitute for actual swims. I trained for a long time for my first tri (sprint). I failed to get some open water experience before the race and about half way through started to panic when I was kicked in the face and it threw off my breathing. I actually thought i might need help but quickly worked back into my stride thanks to my training. I definatly dont want to shy you away from this race but you must understand that this distance is quite an undertaking that requires lots of training- if not everyone would be doing it.
    We'll see. Japanese gyms/pools are strict. My friend is checking one where she thinks it's o.k. to wear a wet suit. I'm sure I can find something.

  17. #17
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    The open water training is important not just for the fitness but to get used to the "fear". It's very panic inducing if you're not used to being able to see more than 2 feet in the water, it's dark, there's people splashing all around you, there's waves, etc... Some people cope with it better than others but most people will be in for a shock if they're not used to open water swimming.

    I have a friend who is (was?) a much better swimmer than me last year being faster and able to do 1 mile easily in the pool where i'd only able to do 600-700 yards at the time at a slower pace. However when we finally got to our first triathlon which had the swim in a fairly murky lake (1-2 feet of visibility) he freaked out and bearly survived the swim (he ended up getting pulled out of the water by one of the boats). I too freaked a bit but got used to it pretty quickly. We both had wetsuits too.

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  18. #18
    Member BigCat's Avatar
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    Very necessary

    It took me three Tris to get my swimming down, and even then I had trouble when I went out too fast in a team tri when I didn't have to bike or run. The first time I thought for sure I'd drown in the middle of the lake, and I got out feeling totally drained. The next time I went out too slow, so I felt OK, but I was way behind. Get it just right has taken a lot of time, open water swim practice, and doing many tris. I also found it was hard to attend only to my own pace - so I had to learn to pretty much ignore the other swimmers and just pay attention to my own pacing. All of this, plus the other points made, lead me to think it would be dangerous to try anything other than a sprint without practice.

  19. #19
    Just shy of 400W ranger5oh's Avatar
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    No way.. you NEED to train for that swim. You wouldnt complete it. It isnt like running or biking at all. Why dont you try a sprint distance first, and then work up to HIM?

    Do you live close enough to some open water to swim in? That would be the best training anyway.
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