Tuning up for aquathlons is logistically easier than a full-blown swim–bike–run practice, as long as you’re able to find the open space or a treadmill located next to your swimming facility (pool or open water).
Your main aim is to practise getting your legs and body moving in a vertical position, having been horizontal for the swim, and to develop the technical skills of quick wetsuit removal (if a wetsuit swim) and putting on your shoes. It’s often easier to train for the full distance of each discipline and put the two together in training to get an idea of the same duration and intensity.
From a skills point of view, ways to improve wetsuit removal can include practising in your shower through to finishing an open water swim session with a hard 100m, climbing out of the water and going for a short, hard run while removing the top half of your suit, and then stopping at your ‘transition’ point to stamp your legs out of the suit.
If you have the space, it’s also worth practising putting your trainers on and running for a short distance to get your legs moving. You’ll hear other athletes talking about feeling dizzy when first standing up after the swim, especially early in the season. This practice will help you improve and remove this.
From a more physiological point of view, simply try mini-aquathlons (pool-based or open water). Using your local tri club or friendly local pool, after a good progressive warm-up and before a cool-down, try a 200m swim at race pace, a quick exit, then off for a 400m run at race pace. Repeat this several times, either hitting race pace as quickly as possible or building across a few reps from just below to just above race pace.
If you’ve got the aquathlon bug then check out our gallery of the stunning Engadin Swimrun race held in Switzerland earlier this month here