Some people are very forward-thinking. I’m one of them. I’m always thinking ahead to what events I might like to compete in next summer, so I can use the winter more effectively to steer my training in the right direction. As you might be aware from my previous blog posts, I am a keen road runner. I’m currently participating in the YMCA 10k Summer Series, which I am really enjoying. I also swim seasonally, in summer when the 50m local outdoor swimming pool opens. For most of my childhood I was a competitive swimmer and part of the Whangarei Swimming Club. For many years, I’ve been aware of Stroke N’ Stride, a series of events held annually in Auckland, comprising an ocean swim followed by a short run. I didn’t plan to get into multi-sport; my interest evolved organically and I can sort of see how this happened. However, this wasn’t something I was in a place to do in recent years. For most of my 30s, I battled obesity and ill health due to taking the anti-psychotic drugs I was prescribed when I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. It’s only in the past six months that I have had a breakthrough in both my mental and physical health. As mentioned in a previous post, I came up with the idea of running a course of meds for a fortnight at six monthly intervals, to see if I could pre-empt the onset of psychosis rather than taking meds all the time, which I fortunately don’t have to do as I only suffer from mild schizophrenia. I did this last year in June and again in mid-December. It might be too soon to say whether this works in the long run but it seems promising. I haven’t had a psychotic episode since February last year, which was before I thought of this strategy. Normally they’re spaced together more closely than that. Thanks to my trainer Alice Jackson at Les Mills in Howick, I managed to lose 25 kg. This has opened up a lot of opportunities for me, including participating in an event like swim and run as I wouldn’t have previously been fit enough to complete the course.
I want a little taster to see if it’s for me or not, so I know whether it’s something I might like to commit to in the future. So, to test the waters (swimming pun intended), I’ve decided to head over to Takapuna Beach next Wednesday 16th January and participate in the North Harbour Triathlon Club’s Swim and Run series event, comprising a 500m ocean swim followed by a 4k beach run. It’s not very far away at all (the date of the event, that is, not Takapuna, which is on the other side of Auckland) so I’ve been flat out over the past week bringing myself up to speed with what the event will entail and organising appropriate gear. To help others who are also considering competing in swim and run events, I thought I’d write a blog post about things to consider before competing in such an event and follow it up with a further post afterwards to report back on my experience.
What is it?
A swim and run is, like the name suggests, a swim immediately followed by a run. Note that “Swim and Run” should not be confused with “Swimrun”, which is quite different. The latter refers to an intrepid event with a mixture of swimming and running intermittently. You run wearing shoes (even during the swimming parts!) and usually compete with a partner as it’s largely an exercise in teamwork. Breca is an example of Swimrun.
Why am I doing this?
What you’ll need
In multi-sport, you need to allow time for the transition. In this case, when you finish the ocean swim you’ll need to remove your wetsuit (if you’re wearing one) and put on your running shoes for the beach run (if you choose to wear them).
Some useful links
Swim T3 (Auckland’s leading swimming retailer, to cover all your gear needs for both pool and ocean swimming): https://www.swimt3.co.nz/
Rick Wells Swimming squad (trains at the Newmarket Olympic Pool): https://www.rickwells.co.nz/
Takapuna beach series (beach run and ocean swim events held at Takapuna Beach): https://beachseries.co.nz/home/
Summer Swim (weekly ocean swims in Kohimarama on Thursdays from November until March): https://www.summerswim.co.nz/
Stroke N’ Stride (a series of swim and run events which take normally place in Mission bay during summer but are not being held this season): http://swimrun.org/
Splash and Dash (Swim and Run events that take place in Wellington): https://splashanddash.co.nz/
Ocean swim squad weekly clinics on Saturdays: https://www.oceanclinics.co.nz/
Ocean swimming guide: https://beachseries.co.nz/ocean-swim-guide/