ÖTILLÖ – Beginners 8 Week Training Plan

As a sponsor of what is known as the toughest and most rewarding race in the world, ÖtillÖ. We’re always looking to drive the sport to new levels and help to get you involved. With this in mind, we teamed up pro Swimrun racer and trainer Nicolas Remires to bring you an 8-part series running you through everything you’ll need to know before you run your first ÖtillÖ race. Nicolas has over 10 years experience as a Swimrun racer and hosts the official training camps for ÖtillÖ, so you could say he is the best man for the job.

 With that in mind we’ll let Nicolas take over from here as he takes you through picking your first race and the ultimate training plan that you’ll use to prepare for your first race.
Picking Your First Swimrun Event

There are always some good excuses for not finishing a race. I hear them after every competition: the conditions were hard, there were big waves, the wind was blowing hard, it was freezing cold in and out of the water, the cut-offs were too tight, …

It is easy to find some excuses with the weather conditions or some organisation issue or even blaming your partner. But you have a choice before you sign up for the event. You have the chance to observe the map, to read about the previous editions, if there were any, ask the organiser about the conditions. Most importantly once you have signed up for your competition, you need to always get yourself as ready as possible with some specific training.

From ÖtillÖ records, there are always more DNF (Did Not Finish) on a first edition of an Ötillö qualifiers. By the second edition, it is already more teams finishing. And lots of teams come back for a second edition, because they want to improve or finish the race they didn’t finish the year before.

It’s important to select your first swimrun race according to your team level if you want to get a good experience.
The same with your expectations. Having high goals is a great standard but it has to be realistic if you want to avoid too much disappointment.

If your plans are to race an ÖtillÖ qualifier, I would highly recommend that you start your swimrun experience with a local race, not too long, around half or 2/3 of your goal race. That will be a good way to test your team in race conditions. From there you will be able to understand more how your team function with the stress of the competition.

During the first two ÖtillÖ events of the year, it was interesting to see how people were dealing with the conditions. For example at ÖtillÖ Utö last weekend, the water was cold (≈10-12°C) and the air temperature was rather hot (≈15-20°C). It has been like that the last few years. This is some important facts to take in consideration when you are training. Even the morning of the race, I had some customers asking me if they should race with long sleeves or short sleeves. Experience will help to get better prepared, but you can reduce the luck factor by doing your homework and testing yourself in race conditions.

Every race is different. They all have their characteristics.

Some race have more swimming sections, some are better for runners, some are extremely technical while some are easy running. You should also consider what time of the year and where the race is held. Having in mind that the water might be cold in the early (or late!) season and the running will be hot in a race in mid summer in southern or central Europe.

What is your ability? what is your teammates strengths and weakness What can you deal with? Start with something that you think you’ll be comfortable with. But then I do recommend that you start to push yourselves out of that comfort zone. It will be more fun like that and you will see progress much quicker!
When you have selected your event, it is time to train for it. Give yourself 4 months to be ready for it. During the first 2 months, try to get in shape and get strong. After that base period, it will be time to do more specific training and learn more about swimrun.
You will find below the last 8 weeks training program to be ready for a first short distance swimrun event.

8 Weeks Training Plan For Your First Short Distance Swimrun – ÖtillÖ

(Sprint ≈18-22km inc 20% of swimming)

SWIM

Inc. including

Pb/padd: pullbuoy and paddles

RUN

Inc. including

Wu: warm up

Wd: warm down

SWIMRUN Extras
Week1: To do: 1- Register for the race 2- Set individual goals and expectations 3- Learn about swimrun
Pool:

Technique: 60min inc. drills and test 3x200mt with 1min rest.

 

Open water:

60min inc. 6x4min pb/padd with 20” rest

Long: 20km inc. some change of paces.

 

Speed: 60min inc. Intervals (6x1km solid with 60” rest)

 

Endurance: 70min inc. 3x10min increasing the pace every 10min

 

90-120min with race partner including 2 hard swims and 2 hard runs. Core and strength: 5-10min every day or second day.

 

 

Week2: To do: 1- Set some training routines 2- Establish a training calendar
Pool:

60min inc. drills and series of short intervals (20min of 25-50-75-100mt easy/hard…)

 

Open water:

70min inc. 4x 8min solid pb/padd increasing the pace with 30” rest

Long: 2h with some change of paces in specific race landscape

 

Speed: 60min inc. Intervals (5×1.5km + 400mt fast)

 

Endurance: 80min inc. 3x12min increasing the pace every 12min

 

90-120min with race partner including 3 hard swims and 3 hard runs. Core and strength: 5-10min every day or second day.

 

 

Week3: To do: 1- Discuss the goals and expectations with your partner 2- Start looking for equipment
Pool:

60min inc. drills and series of short intervals (20min of 25-50-75-100mt easy/hard…)

 

Open water:

75min inc. 2x (5-4-3-2-1min solid) pb/padd increasing the pace with 30” rest

Endurance:

90min: Wu 20min – Main 3x 18min as (10min solid + 8min really uncomfortable) with 4min easy jog in between – Wd to 90min

 

Test Run at the athletic track. 3km TEST. Wu 3km and you finish with 4x50mt progressive / 50mt walk – 3km test on the track – wd:2km easy jog.

 

Tempo Run

wu: 15min – Main: 35min as 3x 10min non stop @mara, @½ marathon pace, @10km, + 5min @5km non stop- Wd: 5min

 

90-120min with race partner including 4 hard swims and 4 hard runs. Core and strength: 5-10min every day or second day.

 

 

Week4 To do: 1- Do 2 runs with your partner 2- Be sure of the race equipments
Open water:

80min inc. 2x (5-4-3-2-2-1-1 min solid) pb/padd increasing the pace with 30” rest

 

Continuous: inc. wu: 10min + 5x (1min hard/1min) easy + 2x20min non stop pb/padd

Long: 20km inc. some change of paces.

 

Endurance:

90min: Wu 15min + 2x 2min uncomfortable with 1min jog in between – Main 2x 30min as (15min @marathon pace + 15min @½ marathon pace) with 5min easy jog in between – Wd to 90min

 

Distance:

60min in the forest (technical single tracks + rocks) with 20min of change of pace

 

–   2h+ with race partner including a few hard segments

 

–   90-120min easy pace

Core and strength: 5-10min every day or second day.

 

 

Week5 To do: 1- Do 1 swimrun with your partner 2- Look at the course
Pool:

Technique: 75min inc. drills and test 3x200mt with 1min rest.

 

Open water:

60min inc. 8x3min pb/padd with 20” rest

Tempo Run: wu: 15min – Main: 4x 2.5km non stop @marathon pace, @½ marathon pace, @½ marathon pace -5”, @10km pace – Wd: 5min

 

Long Intervals: 70min: Wu 15min + 3x 90″ uncomfortable with 45″ jog in between – Main 6x 1.2km on track or gravel road quite flat @3km pace with 90″ walk rest in between – Wd to 70min

 

Endurance: 70min inc. 5x6min increasing the pace in the 6min

2h+ with race partner including a few hard segments

 

Core and strength: 5-10min every day or second day.
Week6 To do: 1- Do 1 swimrun with your partner 2- Spend some time on same terrain of your race
Open water:

75min inc. 2x (8-5-2min solid) pb/padd increasing the pace with 30” rest

 

Continuous: inc. wu: 10min + 5x (1min hard/1min) easy + 3x15min non stop pb/padd

Tempo Run:

Wu: 15min – Main: 3x 3km non stop @1/2mara, @10km, @5km – Wd: 5min

 

Long Intervals:

70min: Wu 15min + 3x 90″ uncomfortable with 45″ jog in between – Main 8x 1km on track or gravel road quite flat @3km pace with 75″ walk rest in between – Wd to 70min

 

Distance:

60min in the forest (technical single tracks + rocks) with 25min of change of pace

–   90min with race partner including a few hard segments

 

–   75min easy pace focusing on transitions

Stretch 5-10min every day or second day.
Week7 To do: 1- Do 1 swimrun with your partner 2- Know the course
OW: inc. wu: 10min easy + 30min non stop pb/padd

 

Continuous: inc. wu: 10min + 5x (1min hard/1min) easy + 3x15min non stop pb/padd

Short Intervals:

60min: Wu 15min + 4x 30″ uncomfortable with 30″ jog in between – Main gravel road quite flat: 8x 2min @3km pace with 60″ – 6x1min (a bit faster) with 45″ rest – 4×30″ (a bit faster) with 30″ rest. – Wd to 70min

 

Endurance:

60min inc. 3x10min increasing the pace every 10min.

90min with race partner including a few hard segments

 

75min easy pace focusing on transitions

Stretch 5-10min every day or second day.
Week8: Race Week To do: 1- Have all set by Tuesday 2- Feel confident and take care of yourselves
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OW:

Strength: 35min inc. 4x 2min solid pb/padd increasing the pace with 30” rest

Distance: 60min Easy with a few surges 45min easy pace to test all the gear a last time.

 

 

Stretch 5-10min every day or second day.
  SPEED at the pool:

45min inc. drills and series of short intervals (25-50-75-100mt easy/hard…)

Distance: 45min on the race course RACE

 

Get out there and train for your first Swimrun event and stay tuned for the next episode in the series where we chat with 3 very different swimrun racers to provide an insight into their love for the sport.

 

Photo By: Nadja Odenhage

 

Alan Lund

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