Beat dizziness after the swim

Are you suffering from T1 head spins? Read our advice and we'll have you blasting through transition in no time

Triathlete leaving the water at Castle Howard Triathlon

Are you suffering dizzy spells heading into transition after the swim? It’s a common problem, says swim coach John Wood – here’s what you need to do.


>>> Eight ways to beat open-water nerves

First thing to consider is – can you practise open-water swimming before the race? It may sound odd, but a combination of the cold water and the extra pressure of a wetsuit on your chest can make you forget to think about breathing.

The cold will cause your diaphragm and intercostal muscles to spasm, so you must calm down and focus on deep breathing, before you get moving.

Rushing to warm up can really count against you because, in your haste, you can’t remain calm and composed. You need to control your adrenaline levels because its release will encourage you to take short, shallow and quick breaths, which will lead to issues later on in your swim.

You also need to think about your kicking. Your leg muscles are the largest in the body – the more you kick, the more oxygen you burn.

Kicking faster doesn’t necessarily mean moving faster, so look to keep your body as flat and high in the water as possible, and focus on kicking slowly and from your hip.

The dizziness is likely to be caused by suddenly switching to running in a vertical position after spending a long period of time being horizontal in the water.

To lessen the effect, in the last 50m of the swim increase your kick action to get more blood flowing to your legs and feet. This will reduce the quick drain of blood from your head and also prepare your legs for the walk/run into transition as well.

(Image: Colin Baldwin Photography)


For lots more swim tips head to our Triathlon training section