Why do we need a safety buoy in training?

The sea is calm and warm. No jelly fish floating around, the pair of swimrunners is competent and confident, the route stays close to the shore, no wild off-shore crossing, no strong current, the two friends jump into the water with serenity. However, they haven’t done everything they could to stay safe : they are not carrying a safety buoy. You may ask why would they need to bother with this additional piece of equipment ?

To see and to be seen

We are not on our own in the water, and unfortunately it is often difficult to see a swimmer moving in the water. That is notwithstanding the boat enthusiasts and jet ski fanatics who don’t pay attention to the other seafarers. A buoy captures the attention, it signals the presence of an obstacle in the water. For the competent swimmer, being hit by a boat is the main danger in open water. An impact on the head can easily lead to loss on consciousness, and potentially drowning. Cuts caused by propellers and hulls can be fatal, or at least very severe. The danger is real, therefore we should try to prevent it. Of course the swimrunner should choose carefully the route. They should know the navigation channels, in particular in proximity of ports and beaches. We should also regularly check around us to visually assess the potential dangers and monitor the trajectories of the boats around us. But overall we have to make ourselves visible, and a buoy is by far the best way to be noticed. A bright swimming hat, red, fluorescent green of orange, helps. Note that in some races the swimrunners have to carry a buoy during the longest and most exposed swimming sections, proof if needed that even with a safety setup in place it is difficult to spot and track a swimmer in the water.

Floating to rest and recover

When a problem occurs, even small, a safe session can rapidly turn into an emergency. A cramp, a problem with equipment, swallowing water from a cheeky wave, and we have an alert to deal with. Obviously, with a neoprene wetsuit, often a pull buoy, swim calf and floating shoes, sinking is not a risk. However the head is not maintained out of the water et risks of swallowing water exist. A buoy provide a mean to hang on to something floating and to deal with the problem in a safer and more comfortable manner. Paradoxically, warm water tends to increase the risks as we would potentially swim without a neoprene wetsuit and consequently the swimmers buoyancy is reduced. Therefore, even in fine warm weather a buoy is useful.

A versatile buoy

Depending on distance and duration of training we have to carry a first aid kit, food and drink. We also often take our car keys, mobile phone, etc. Some buoys feature a very handy « waterproof » compartment to carry and keep dry our beloved electronic gadgets.

What length to pull the buoy ?

All the buoy manufacturers provide a belt and a relatively short leash. Normally one can adjust the length so that when swimming the buoy sits between the bum and the knees. You don’t feel them at this position, and the visual display is ideal for incoming boats. Another solution is to use a longer leash to get the buoy just behind the feet; however it may come to touch your feet with the movements of the waves. Then one can decide to extend the leash to put the buoy further back, for example one meter behind the feet. But this means the buoy is now much behind the swimmer and a boat or jet ski may want to pass too close to the buoy, potentially hurting the swimmer. This can also prove to be a hindrance when getting out of the water. Another decision to make is who is going to take the buoy in case of a pair of swimrunners training together. I would tend to say that each should have a buoy. But, if only one buoy is used, then visually it’s better to have it between the two swimmers, therefore pulled by the front swimmer, with a short leash otherwise the back swimmer would be annoyed. If the back swimmers pull the buoy, then the front swimmer is quite a long way away from the buoy and loses some of its safety advantage. Note that if you don’t use a tether between the two swimmers, then if the front swimmer pull the buoy it may prevent them to see the back swimmer. That would be the only real disadvantage of the buoy.

Carrying the buoy on land

If one decides to have a buoy in swimming , how to carry it in running?
Several options are available. Few buoys have two shoulder straps to carry them like rucksacks. All buoys have leashes to pull them, and we can pass them over the should to carry the buoys in the back. For very short distances the easiest is to hold them. Another solution is to deflate it and stuck it either in the belt or in the elastic of a pull buoy. For long distance swimrun training sessions with little access to food and drink, another solution is to bring a classic trail rucksack in which you fit the buoy, and reverse the process for swimming. It’s slower for transitions but it makes for a more comfortable running. The few seconds lost in transition are nothing compared to the gain in security.

In conclusion, we can really compare the buoy to cycling helmets : we lose a little bit of time, but the gain in safety is worth this few seconds. In a forthcoming article we we review the type of buoys available to help you chose the right one for you.

/ Fix  WoS team, swimrun coach & sport scientist

2018 World of Swimrun Race Map

Are you planning your 2018 swimrun season?

We are currently updating our race database since some races unfortunately had to be cancelled in 2017. There’s approximately some +/- 300 races available and more will be started in 2018 for sure.

Check it out on our map:

World of Swimrun Race Map

Click on the icon in the upper left corner to see the races with dates for 2018 (we have left the 2017 map as a layer for comparison reasons).

Find a race of interest and click on the icon, or scroll in the list. Under each race you will find more info including links.

/The WoS Team

Swimrun “Federations” Map in the World of Swimrun

Welcome to the ever-growing map over Swimrun Federations / Associations / National Society’s and other Swimrun Entities in the world.

Just zoom in and click on any country.

Do remember that swimrun is a young sport, why many entities still are under development and run by swimrun enthusiasts.

If something is missing or wrong, please let us now.


/The WoS Team


How to improve your swimrun in only 5 weeks time

Train less and smart and still improve your swimrun performance!

High-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) is an interval training exercise where you perform short periods of high-intensity training, which is followed by a much shorter and significantly low-intensity period. You basically repeat this until you are too tired to continue.

Normally, this way of training will take no more than 30 minutes, excluding warm-up and cool-off, which is excellent if you have little time to spare. HIIT works for everyone, beginner as well as pro. Just listen to you body and avoid pushing yourself over the top and risk pulling an injury.

Remember that motivation is key! 

So, if you run to work every now and then, instead of just going straight in your regular tempo, try doing it the HIIT-way by breaking up the stretch into segments where you run fast, preferably on threshold-level, and walk in-between. The same goes for swimming. If you frequent the 25 meter lane, try to go fast the 1st 15-20 meters and then just glide towards the end catching your breath, and repeat.

According to the study, you’ll get distinct results in only 5-weeks time, all while training less! A win-win under many circumstances or as is concluded;

The major finding of the present study was that the inclusion of a HIIT-based running plan with a reduction in training volume /…/ increased athletic performance during a sprint-distance triathlon [both in swimming and running time]. Conversely, the triathletes from the CG [Control Group], who continued their usual high-volume and low-/moderate-intensity training program, did not experience significant changes in muscular performance parameters or racing times.


Remember that you can also use the HIIT training technique during the season as well, and here is why.

/The WoS Team

Read the full study here.



This study aimed to examine the effect of a 5-week high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT)-based running plan on athletic performance and to compare the physiological and neuromuscular responses during a sprint-distance triathlon before and after the HIIT period. 2 groups: the experimental group (EG) and the control group (CG). The CG was asked to maintain their normal training routines, whereas the EG maintained only their swimming and cycling routines and modified their running routine.

No significant differences between groups were found before HIIT intervention. Significant group-by-training interactions were found in vertical jumping ability and athletic performance: the EG improved jumping performance, swimming performance and running time during the competition, whereas the CG remained unchanged

Low-volume, HIIT-based running plan combined with the high training volumes of these triathletes in swimming and cycling improved athletic performance during a sprint-distance triathlon.

ULTRA SWIMRUN Off-friendship, sharing and preservation of Nature

We organise a Swimrun promotion event in France, without any bib or time-chip, in the sole purpose of sharing long hours together with swimrunners from several European countries.

110km running/trailrunning

20km Swimming


20 swimrunners

In line with the purest Swimrun tradition, we have built a course based on the four original pillars:


The effort will be a long one, because this is the first ultra-swimrun on such a scale.

130km and 5000m+/- non-stop, semi-autonomously, with 110km trail-running and 20km open-water swimming.

The course will be set between the lakes of Annecy, le Bourget and Aiguebelette, through the mountains of Bauges and l’Epine.

A magnificent course, both fast in some places and technical trail in others, in a breath-taking scenery.


Sheer happiness to be shared with friends and partners in a situation where cohesion will be key.

Indeed, given the distance and the essential spirit of Swimrun, we will all move together, with a maximum distance of 100m between the first and the last member of the team. There are two goals in that respect:

  • Enjoy this adventure together

  • Be safe with each other

Preservation of Nature

As always when we venture into the great outdoors, we commit to preserving nature. This is obviously the essence of outdoor activities, but tends to be forgotten. On each part of the course, we’ll avoid the protected areas as pointed out on local government documents in order to reduce our footprint. In the same spirit, we have chosen to organise assistance by minivan, but the vehicle’s trip will be optimised in order make the event’s carbon footprint as small as possible.

Respect for fellow human beings

This is the trickiest point since each one of us decides upon his/hers own behaviour. We’re aiming for clean swimrun, and there’s no need for the participants to use any product that would harm the ethics of the sport or our own health.

We are currently discussing a communication campaign on anti-doping with the Finnish swimrun team Say no to the doping

Course specifics

110km running/trailrunning

20km Swimming


20 swimrunners

6 nationalities or more

the following have already expressed their interest:

United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Morroco, France

We won’t wear bibs or time chips, but we’ll have a GPS tracking device for the benefit of our followers or people wishing to join us.

Moving security will be provided by a partner company on the whole course, especially in the lakes and in some determined places during the trail sections. (see Assistance and tracking)

Restube safety buoy

The assisting team will provide headlights to be used night-time and if we swim while it’s dark, we’ll have a boat following us as well as Cyalume light sticks in the back

The event should take place on:

27th-28th April, 2018

Non-stop, semi autonomously

Mandatory equipment:

All participants are swimrunners with previous experience of endurance or ultra-endurance efforts, the mandatory equipment is as usual

Assistance and tracking

The goal of the event is to move through the course and one single group, which will make tracking and assistance easier.

We’ll have GPS tracking so that our position is known and so that people can join us along some open sections (to be specified).

An assistance vehicle with food, drinks and our personal belongings will meet up with us at some specific location and will follow us on the road sections.

The vehicle, a minivan (6 people) will provide us the opportunity to:

  • quit if necessary,

  • eat and drink,

  • change clothes, although we would all start with our Swimrun outfit

  • get first help

apart from this vehicle, we want to minimise risks by working with a medical company.

The first help team would be following us on the course, present on the water and on technical trails, and if that is not possible, they would be pre-positionned with the assistance vehicle.

The event isn’t a race, and though it limits the risks, it doesn’t cancel them out. Each participant has to watch out for the others

We’ll have two mobile phones with us and a GPS tracker.


In order to make the most of our adventure in terms of communication, to disseminate the original philosophy of swimrun, we’ll work with a communication company before the start. During the event, there will be live broadcast and interviews in English.

On a more international note, this long shared adventure will give all participants the chance to communicate about swimrun spirit in their respective countries.

Double communication: official communication about the event in France and personal (team) and ethical communication.

How to get there?

You can get to Annecy by train or road.

For our foreign friends, the easiest is to get a place to Lyon, France (1hour away) or to Geneva, Switzerland (45 min away). There are many regular and Easyjet flights. Depending on the time of your arrival, we’ll fetch you at the airport and take you to our partner hotel so that you can relax and prepare for the adventure.


With the purpose of communication, we hope to find partners and sponsors to limit the costs and ask you for the smallest possible contribution. So far, we assess the contribution will be of 80€ -100€, covering security, logistics and accommodation the night before and after the event

all informations, in the event FB group: 


@JC Bastiani Swimrun coach and nurse