Race stats: 37.8km running and 5.2km sea swimming.
Position: 1st mixed team in 5 hours 54 minutes, 8th overall.
Race report: This was an excellent race for us, as we:
Nailed our kit selection
Had the perfect nutrition plan
Were well hydrated pre and during the race
Had the fitness to push when need
We were injury free.
Our aim was to win the mixed team and place ourselves high up amongst the overall finishers.
It was going to be a super-hot day (28 - 30 degrees) and the race route was very technical, with long run stretches. As the Breca organisers promised, it had a bit of everything. Hard, sharp hilly runs, tricky and technical descents; rocks and slate, a very dangerous causeway to navigate, as well as beach and sand dune running. Yet the swimming was easier this year – with pond like, smooth water, in 18 degree conditions.
The race started at 7am, so it didn’t feel too hot – but about an hour in, the sun was blazing down.
We pushed relatively hard early on, opening up a sizeable gap on the 2nd placed mixed team and then went very fast on the swims (We liked one comment we got asked: “Are you guys Olympic swimmers? As you went past us like we were standing still” asked a male team we overtook!)
We have been working with Jude & Run Surrey Hills on the technical aspects of our trail running – assessing how we can travel faster over boulders and rocks - but ensuring we minimise the risk of turning an ankle (or a worse injury.) This paid off for us and it was great to put this into practice. Still more work to do here though.
In the second half of the race, our hydration and nutrition plan paid off, as despite the intense heat, we felt in good condition – and were catching and passing male teams. We finished the race strongly and were very happy with our first swimrun win. The Breca Gower is an amazing race, well organised, in a truly beautiful location, presenting very hard swimrun conditions.
Here are some examples of how we work with our team sponsors to get the best out of ourselves in training and racing, whatever the conditions.
Hydration: Whatever the temperature, when running in a wetsuit, you’ve got to keep hydrating
We are lucky enough to race for Team Precision Hydration – The Sweat Experts. Perfect for a sport like ours, where maintaining adequate hydration is crucial to getting to the end of swimrun races.
Given the high race day temperatures, we hydrated pre-race using Precision Hydration tablets and we also took SweatSalt capsules before and during the race.
We used collapsible flasks and cups to stay hydrated throughout the race.
Continued physio for our bodies
We are lucky enough to be Ambassadors for the Drummond Clinic. Swimrun is a very demanding sport on the body, both in high mileage of training and then tough, tough races. No matter what your ability, it’s likely you pick up niggles and injuries, so it is very important to get these ironed out ASAP.
Kit: Use swimrun specific items
Given the high water temperature we elected to race in our Zone3 Evolution wetsuits (they sell both male and female swimrun suits). During the runs we would “Cab down” [stripping down the top part of the wetsuit, using the front facing zip] to cool off. The suit’s internal/external pockets were perfect for holding our gels/safety equipment.
Also, we’re often asked “what socks do you wear?” The answer; swimrun specific, quick drying socks from gococo. Amazing technology and we highly recommend. You will pick up a lot of sand in your shoes, so you need these socks.
We’ve learnt that most swimrun events are pretty extreme – so the selection of the correct kit for the prevailing race conditions is important. Just make sure that you’ve tried everything in training beforehand!
Nutrition: fuelling our training and racing
We train and race using Clif UK nutrition products and we’re proud to be part of Team Clif Bar. As with hydration, the correct fuel is vital for all our training needs, the 24 hours before the race and then during the race – we use their gels, bars and Builders protein recovery bars. We passed a number of male teams in the last hour – and we put this down to excellent nutrition and hydration and pacing tactics.
Got any questions?
Direct message us with queries, or if you want to learn more about personalised swimrun training sessions via firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow our progress as the UK’s best mixed team via Instagram (BenRhian_Swimrun) Twitter @BenRhianSwimRun. We’re also currently ranked number one in the ÖtillÖ Swimrun World series ranking.
Ben & Rhian