Crowbar this into intermediate-level drill your swimming routine in the next month and every 2-3 weeks thereafter. Ask before you don your suit – some pools are a bit ‘neoprenist’.
For this session you’ll need: your race wetsuit, usual swimsuit/trunks, goggles, a swim hat (optional), and a water bottle.
15mins, wetsuit on. 4 x 25m, 4 x 50m, 4 x 100m relaxed front crawl.
Approx 35mins as: 3 x 100m/200m/ 100m/200m with 20-30secs rest inbetween. First set, cruise in smooth mode; second set, normal perceived effort; last set, 100m max, 200m cruise.
5-8mins, remove suit. 200-400m, at your own speed, in normal cossie/trunks.
Getting into your wetsuit in the off-season reminds you of the floatation, sensory deprivation and yet efficiency/speed that neoprene provides.
This session can also be done as a useful drafting drill with 2-5 swimmers trying to stay on each others’ feet.
Being used to the feelings of chest constriction, a high neck collar and heat build-up means race-day feelings can be managed and actually embraced.
This suit test-out may tell you you’re in the wrong suit or that you just need to relax your breathing and learn to use the neoprene to your advantage.
You’ll have to work to lift the recovering arm against the shoulder area of neoprene, to keep joint angles in the arm constant and to breathe against additional restriction.
Wetsuit swimming should always be faster than your normal sessions, so you get the physiological sensation of moving through water at a new speed.
How to adapt for Ironman
For winter try 4 x 100m/200m/300m, building to 6 x 100m/200m/300m in the early season or just before your race.
For lots more sub-1hr sessions head to our Training section