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A Guide to Swimrun

A Guide to Swimrun

If you're seeking an exhilarating new challenge that combines the endurance of running with the thrill of open water swimming, ‘swimrun’ might be your next adventure.  

Born in Sweden in 2006, swimrun is a multi-discipline sport that is rapidly gaining popularity around the globe.  



What is Swimrun? 

Swimrun is a multi-sport that involves a series of alternating swimming and running segments. Participants switch between swimming in open water and running on trails, often through rugged terrain, without stopping to change gear.  

The unique aspect of swimrun is that it’s usually done in pairs, with teammates tethered together for safety and support throughout the race. 



Swimrun vs. Aquathlon: What's the Difference? 

While swimrun and aquathlon both involve swimming and running, the key difference lies in the format and transitions. An aquathlon consists of a single continuous swim followed by a run, or vice versa. Swimrun, on the other hand, features multiple segments of swimming and running interspersed throughout the race. Unlike aquathlons or triathlons, where athletes change their gear during transitions, swimrun participants wear the same equipment for both disciplines, adding a layer of strategy and endurance to the sport. 



The Unconventional Transitions of Swimrun 

In traditional triathlons and aquathlons, transitions involve changing equipment and attire between disciplines. Swimrun breaks this norm by eliminating these transitions altogether. Competitors wear their wetsuits, running shoes, and other necessary gear throughout the entire race, seamlessly switching between swimming and running segments. This means adapting to the challenges of wet shoes and wearing a wetsuit while running . 



Getting Started in Swimrun 

Embarking on your swimrun journey is easier than you might think. Start by finding a local swimrun event or training group to join. Ensure you have basic swimming and trail running skills, and gradually build your endurance for both disciplines. Practicing swimming in your running shoes and running in your wetsuit can help you acclimate to the unique demands of the sport. Many races offer beginner-friendly courses, making it accessible for newcomers to jump in and experience the thrill. 



The Growing Popularity of Swimrun 

Swimrun is experiencing a surge in popularity, attracting adventure enthusiasts from all walks of life. The sport's blend of camaraderie, connection with nature, and physical challenge appeals to a wide audience. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a fitness newbie, swimrun offers a fresh and exciting way to push your limits and explore the great outdoors. 



The Power of Partnership in Swimrun 

One of the most distinctive features of swimrun is that it is often done in pairs, with teammates tethered together. This tethering ensures safety, as partners can assist each other in case of fatigue or difficulty. It also fosters a strong sense of teamwork and mutual support, as success in swimrun relies heavily on communication and cooperation. 



Gear Up: What to Wear for a Swimrun 

Choosing the right gear is crucial for a successful swimrun experience. Participants typically wear a specially designed swimrun wetsuit, which provides buoyancy and flexibility. Running shoes that drain water quickly and offer good grip on slippery surfaces are essential. Additional gear might include a tether to connect you to your partner, a pull buoy for added buoyancy while swimming, and hand paddles to increase swimming efficiency. Remember, all gear must be carried or worn throughout the race, so opt for lightweight and functional equipment. 


Swimrun Wetsuits

There are now a few collections of Swimrun specific suits on the market, and Zone3 have worked hard to ensure that they provide one of the finest collections, and have suits that provide breathability, comfort, and functionality.

The Zone3 SwimRun Evolution Wetsuit The latest version of the Evolution wetsuit from Zone3 takes performance to new levels and is the lightest full neoprene Swimrun wetsuit on the market which features six pockets. Each suit also features removable arm sleeves and calf sleeves are available for purchase separately.

Swimrun Evolution Wetsuit - ZONE3 UK

If on a budget, or not sure if SwimRun is for you, it’s recommended that you simply take an old or second-hand wetsuit and customise it for your SwimRun by cutting the legs to just above the knee. The only downside of this is that most wetsuits have zippers at the back of the suit rather than the front. So, it would then be recommended that you practice undoing your suit from the back with a race partner so as to make sure you can properly ventilate on race day.

We’d also recommend a Zone3 Neoprene Swim Cap under your compulsory swim cap (this will often be provided by race organisers on the day) in those extra cold waters to help prevent any heat being lost through your head.



If you are quicker with paddles on then you can use them, as long as you can manage to carry them around throughout the race and not mind them possibly slowing you down. Paddles are a personal preference, but the Zone3 Power Stroke Swimming Hand Paddles are an excellent choice. When running, you can clip them to your waistband or keep them on the back of your hands. 

Ergo Swim Training Hand Paddles - ZONE3 UK



Sighting is crucial in Swimrun as unlike triathlon there are often no buoys to sight from – just a flag or similar on the other side of the swim. Photochromatic lenses are excellent as they give you better visibility in changeable weather conditions. The Zone3 Vapour Goggles are great for SwimRun as their large, curved lenses give an excellent field of vision, allowing you to carefully navigate which direction to swim in and spot any other swimmers. The Vapours have ultra-soft silicone gaskets, meaning not only are they comfortable on the face, but they provide cushioning for any knocks or bumps in the water from other participants. Pressure around the eyes is minimised with these goggles, meaning you’re kept comfortable throughout those longer swims.

Vapour Swim Goggles - ZONE3 UK

Ready to take the plunge? Swimrun offers a unique blend of endurance, adventure, and camaraderie, making it a perfect challenge for those looking to break into multisports


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