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RunBrettRun

Benefits of knowing your swim time

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Something I have been thinking about over the last week.  What do you believe the benefit is of knowing your swim time on raceday?

I know a lot of triathletes have to know, but does it ultimately help, hinder or not affect your overall performance?

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Pointless. 

If the swim is long and hence you swim slower, it will pay on your head all day. 

If it’s a short swim but you do t know and your time is fast, you might go too hard on the bike. 

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Only time you need it is when you're self seeding yourself at the start of an ironman race.

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53 minutes ago, RunBrettRun said:

Something I have been thinking about over the last week.  What do you believe the benefit is of knowing your swim time on raceday?

I know a lot of triathletes have to know, but does it ultimately help, hinder or not affect your overall performance?

I can count on one hand the amount of swims I've done that have been accurately measured. Plenty of times, I've ran up the beach looking at my watch getting WTF!? Then spent half the bike leg stressing why my swim was slow, finding out later swim was long. 

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I like to know my swim time. I use it to look st what percentile I am in my AG and overall. To me, a better  outcome. 

FM

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23 minutes ago, Flanman said:

I like to know my swim time. I use it to look st what percentile I am in my AG and overall. To me, a better  outcome. 

FM

Presumably not while you are on the bike leg on in transition? I think RBR is referring to in the race. I agree it may be best not to know - but who is not going to look down at their watch?

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Utterly pointless. What can you do about it? 

 

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31 minutes ago, AA7 said:

Utterly pointless. What can you do about it? 

 

Surely this goes for the bike and run as well? Knowing your swim and bike time might impact the following legs so is it better to go full retro and just get the official time..

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2 hours ago, Greyman said:

Only time you need it is when you're self seeding yourself at the start of an ironman race.

And how do you do it? Do you seed yourself accurately, or to get the best result on the day? Surely the latter. 

eg: the guy that was 1st AGer outright was actually 2nd across the line. Did he start a little later so that he could be certain that if he was chasing someone down the finish straight he'd beat him anyway?

I think if you were the fastest swimmer out there you'd be silly to start at the front unless you intended to drop all the others at the start & swim solo for the whole way.

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If you're talking about WA the guy who finished 2nd (by 1 second) but had the fastest time swam about an hour.  He would never start at the front with that swim time.

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1 minute ago, RunBrettRun said:

If you're talking about WA the guy who finished 2nd (by 1 second) but had the fastest time swam about an hour.  He would never start at the front with that swim time.

Was he the guy in your AG?

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If you're talking pointy end types who likely know about what time they might need to do, then knowing if you are on schedule or not could help.

If you're the blunt end like me, then knowing you've gone 15 minutes slower than you'd hoped lets you know that you're in for a long day :D

 

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18 minutes ago, Tyno said:

If you're talking pointy end types who likely know about what time they might need to do, then knowing if you are on schedule or not could help.

Rather than knowing your time, those guys are more interested in the gaps between them & other competitors. 

I was never interested in any of my times until the end. The only time of mine (not gap to someone else) that I was even remotely interested in was km splits on the run.

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I always look at it, but mainly out of curiosity. I know if I've swum okay or not, so it doesn't matter. I always have a quick look when I'm hitting the lap button on the way to T1. The time is what it is and knowing it doesn't affect the rest of my race either way.

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2 hours ago, Ex-Hasbeen said:

Rather than knowing your time, those guys are more interested in the gaps between them & other competitors. 

Yeah, but if it's you vs  Benny Good Biker and you know he usually does a 58 minute swim, but rides 5 minutes faster than you, wouldn't you be a bit interested to know if your plan to be out of the water in say 55 minutes was on track?

Then you can estimate the gap you have over Benny or tell yourself you're going to have to risk a bit more on the bike and run if you're behind time.

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5 minutes ago, Tyno said:

Yeah, but if it's you vs  Benny Good Biker and you know he usually does a 58 minute swim, but rides 5 minutes faster than you, wouldn't you be a bit interested to know if your plan to be out of the water in say 55 minutes was on track?

Then you can estimate the gap you have over Benny or tell yourself you're going to have to risk a bit more on the bike and run if you're behind time.

Nope cause you have no idea how long the swim was.

 

For example one mate from the weekend.  Swims 1:04, normally ~1:00 swimmer.  Rides lap one of bike in 2:18 thinking he bombed the swim.  He didn't, the swim was slower than normal.

Rides lap 2 in 2:33.  Your swim time as I see it will be what it is.  You can't control the pace like a bike or run and the distance can be out for one of many reasons.  

I can't see any benefit to knowing what you swim on the day and the comments here seem to back it up.

 

Fwiw I don't wear a watch on the swim.  I have bike computer on my bike and a run watch in t2.  I find out my swim time in recovery.  

I just feel knowing a swim time can only hinder performance if anything.

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3 minutes ago, RunBrettRun said:

For example one mate from the weekend.  Swims 1:04, normally ~1:00 swimmer.  Rides lap one of bike in 2:18 thinking he bombed the swim.  He didn't, the swim was slower than normal.

Well, when you use FACTS, you can make anything seem reasonable. :D

I accept my error and acknowledge my complete ignorance of the pointy end things .

It won't happen again.*

 

*until next time.

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my watch tells me how far I've swum and what time.  I always glance out of curiosity more than anything.  Doesn't change anything.

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I usually don't even wear a watch - I find that if you go as hard as you can from the swim start to the run finish, things sort themselves out

Now that most races are rolling starts it makes this strategy even more important, it is basically a time trial - I have lost a first place in a 70.3 by not going as hard as I could of in the last 10km because I didn't see anyone I knew coming - someone who started the swim way at the back of the field took 14 sec off me in overall time - lesson learned - now it's a time trial all the way 

It doesn't matter what the watch would say at the end of the swim, it's still a race to get to the run finish as soon as I can 😏  

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17 minutes ago, Cat Lady said:

my watch tells me how far I've swum and what time.  I always glance out of curiosity more than anything.  Doesn't change anything.

This is me too

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I have always monitored swim time and distance during the swim and all it ever did was stress me out.

Sunday I intentionally did not once look at the watch during the swim and felt much more relaxed and enjoyed the whole experience. If I was paying attention, I would have got increasingly wound up, which would have affected my breathing, would likely have resulted in a panic attack, forcing me to swim breaststroke until I calmed, which would have affected my pace, ultimately leading to a much slower swim time. 

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12 hours ago, RunBrettRun said:

Nope cause you have no idea how long the swim was.

 

For example one mate from the weekend.  Swims 1:04, normally ~1:00 swimmer.  Rides lap one of bike in 2:18 thinking he bombed the swim.  He didn't, the swim was slower than normal.

Rides lap 2 in 2:33.  Your swim time as I see it will be what it is.  You can't control the pace like a bike or run and the distance can be out for one of many reasons.  

I can't see any benefit to knowing what you swim on the day and the comments here seem to back it up.

 

Fwiw I don't wear a watch on the swim.  I have bike computer on my bike and a run watch in t2.  I find out my swim time in recovery.  

I just feel knowing a swim time can only hinder performance if anything.

I like this, it makes sense - might give it a go at next race.

I tend to agree with the majority of comments here - if I look at my watch after the swim and its not what I expect or hope for it messes with my head a bit.

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I'm similar to most on here in that a slow time in the swim freaks me out and I spend half the bike getting grumpy and cracking the shits (yet a good swim rarely delivers a commensurate mental uplift)...

 

The only thing I do like having swim times (or effectively, total race time) on the watch for is knowing where I'm at vs a potential PB or specific time, I.e. trying to sneak under 40 for a 10k or 4.30 for a 70.3 or similar at any distance/pace whatever your goals are...

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I wear a watch during the swim leg and record my swim time but generally don't look at it before I hit the lap button. I don't like leaving it in transition, Worried it will get taken cause its very easy to find my bike by the time i get out of the swim.

I also get an indication of how my swim went by the number of bikes left in transition

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I take the split and look at my watch but I don't know why I do that.  Swim courses are rarely spot on and it doesn't really matter.  Its a bloody long way to go.  It's just habit I guess.

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Ill add I dont think its bad or wrong to record your swim, just wondering if anyone does see an advantage to knowing the time when you come out of the water.

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I've got OD swim times from 12 minutes through to 28 minutes. How can you plan the rest of your race around a swim time when they could be short, long with the current or against?

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38 minutes ago, RunBrettRun said:

Ill add I dont think its bad or wrong to record your swim, just wondering if anyone does see an advantage to knowing the time when you come out of the water.

I don't really see an advantage, but looks like there might be a disadvantage for some, judging by the number of people saying they get stressed by it. That surprises me as I thought everyone would have their head around the uncontrollable aspects of the swim. I always look at it but don't really care what it says. Most of my races are wave starts so I can gauge my swim on the number of same caps in front of me. That said, it doesn't mean much either as I never know anyone in my wave except for mates, so I have no idea whether a bunch of uber swimmers happen to be racing or not.

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1 hour ago, AJS said:

The only thing I do like having swim times (or effectively, total race time) on the watch for is knowing where I'm at vs a potential PB or specific time, I.e. trying to sneak under 40 for a 10k

If you're swimming for a 10km PB, I think ur doing it wrong 😁

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18 hours ago, Ex-Hasbeen said:

 

I think if you were the fastest swimmer out there you'd be silly to start at the front unless you intended to drop all the others at the start & swim solo for the whole way.

Ive tested almost all options for placement.

Ive come to the conclusion starting in the front 20-50 is the place to be. Too far back and you lose time and energy dodging/climbing over people. The first person in would be nice but it's not necessary. Clear water, means calm swim, it also means calm start to the bike ride when your HR is high from transitioning.

Edited by prizna

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17 minutes ago, prizna said:

Ive tested almost all options for placement.

Ive come to the conclusion starting in the front 20-50 is the place to be. Too far back and you lose time and energy dodging/climbing over people. The first person in would be nice but it's not necessary. Clear water, means calm swim, it also means calm start to the bike ride when your HR is high from transitioning.

Thanks Prizna. I've never done a rolling start, always hated the idea (because I like the idea of racing the person next to you), but always wondered what the best tactic would be. 

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I wear a watch for the whole tri but the only time I look at the leg times is when it has been uploaded to Garmin. 

During the tri, I look at the watch to make sure I've correctly hit the lap button and also at the start of my run to make sure I'm not going out too fast.  I do check it occasionally during the run, but that is probably pointless

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I do check my swim time during the swim, just to see how I'm progressing. Usually every 500m or so. I do it as I make the pull underwater, the disruption is minimal. No different than checking the km splits during the run leg. After the swim, using the multisport function, it's only natural to look at the watch once I've hit the lap button. Having the watch tell you the distance of the swim also helps explain any deviation from an expected/target swim time. It doesn't change my race strategy for the bike and run. And I'd rather know if the swim was over/under distanced than to have it play it my head wondering throughout the remainder of the race.

 

 

Edited by k3vski

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I had no idea people look at their watch during the swim. I think it quite a bit different to looking at it during the bike or run which you can do without slowing your progress.

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7 minutes ago, AA7 said:

I had no idea people look at their watch during the swim. I think it quite a bit different to looking at it during the bike or run which you can do without slowing your progress.

I look at mine when I'm swimming in the dam. It's set to vibrate every 500m, so once I feel that I have a quick look. I simply stop my stroke underwater for about 1 second and can read the time. Minimal delay, and if you really want to know how you're going, the time is there for you, and the distance should be fairly accurate.

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I have a look.  Do many people know what is a fast or slow time for them    or is it purely survival ?

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I can't see mine as don't have prescription in my googles.

I generally look at the clock above the swim finish to see time then work it out from there. Doesn't impact race 

one bike and run don't have time only things i can impact or provide useful information to control output eg power, HR, grade, cadence, pace, temp

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I don't look at my watch at all during the swim (only as I exit the water). I check it a bit during the ride, mostly for nutrition timing, but mostly ride by feel. I check it a fair bit during the run to monitor/adjust effort to maintain either HR or pace (depending on course/distance/goals/etc).

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I had ave pace and time at Busso. I did a test swim the day before, race day conditions were very similar but with more drafting. I snuck a few peeks along the way, I liked what I saw but didn't change pace. Now would I have pushed harder if my pace seemed slow? Only if I felt I had a little more to give, I should probably have actually slowed up as I cramped up big time at the end. I think you're right though, probably best just to focus on form and sighting, always staying in the moment. I tend to think too far ahead too early, it's a work in progress.

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Used to swim without a watch until I got a Garmin 920xt (previous Garmins were too big).  No watch meant I could just focus on the starting gun and not worry about pressing any buttons. But was always frustrated not having swim data for my races. Especially when the official swim times usually include the run from the water's edge to the start of transition, a distance that is different for every race. A recorded time means I can compare different races based on average speed (ignoring actual distance).

Never look at my watch during the swim, but always take note as I push the button once my feet hit dry land. Gives me an idea of where my competitors will most likely be.  If the swim is short (or fast due to perfect conditions), the faster swimmers will have a smaller gap over me and I'll have a smaller gap over the slower swimmers. And obviously the opposite case for a long or difficult swim. But I only race Sprint to 70.3. For an Ironman you don't want to be trying to race anyone else that early in the event.

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I noticed Beth said she never checks her swim split either.

Is it a team rule? :D

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