Original post with pictures HERE
As you will notice when you open your package, there will be a guide describing how to use the buoy e.g. when doing some open water training. What you won’t find is a guide telling you how to use it while running i.e., if you want to do some swimrun training.
Below you will find a quick guide on how to convert the buoy before starting to run, but first a few words on the 2 buoys we use. We have trained with 2 types, i.e. the Saferswimmer and the HEAD safety buoy (both bought at www.swimshop.se). We use the large versions (L), which allows for storing some back-up equipment and clothes when swimrunning off-trail.
The only apparent difference between the 2, apart from the material used for the straps, is that the Saferswimmer version has the option to completely disengage the back/waist strap form the pull strap, see pic below.
This allows for more freedom when mounting and dismounting the buoy while swimrunning. On the other hand, the pull strap on the HEAD version is longer which gives more freedom for adjustments when swimming. But it comes with a slightly tighter back/waist strap section, not allowing for much room if you are strongly build. Also the air valves differ greatly. The HEADs buoy is fitted with a simple and cheap air mattress type compared to Saferswimmers version which is strongly built, with a screw type valve, and much easier and faster to use when inflating or deflating the buoy. Given that the HEAD version is of obvious lesser quality and if you are strongly built, we recommend you use the Saferswimmer for swimrun training.
Now how do you quickly convert from swim to run-training? Here is how:
1. Attach the (thicker) strap around your shoulder and back, let the buoy hang freely and straight down.
2. Grab the buoy with your right hand and move it towards your back (you can switch if you want to use the other side, just mirror the procedure).
4. Now the buoy, with its weight, will rest on the thicker back-strap while running, and not the weaker back-side plastic attachments on the buoy itself (not seen in pic).
5. Mounting it this way, you will also get much needed stability and support from the thinner pull strap.
6. Finally, adjust the air to your comfort and you are ready to hit the trail!
Now, if you have time and energy, as with all general “swim” and “run”-gear at the moment, you can easily modify the buoy to better facilitate your swimrun training. This can be done by e.g. sewing on additional quick release attachments and stretch-type straps. The stretch material will provide even more support, and flexibility, especially when running in swimrun-type rugged terrain.
But as we have discussed in our previous blogpost,s on the slow development of new swimrun gear, we urge the industry to also develop a proper swimrun safety bouy. And while doing it, make sure to already now, make space and fittings for a much needed detachable hydration bladder. If you have found a better way to swimrun train with your buoy, or have a better alternative or ideas on development, as always, comment here or drop us a line.
We wish you all good luck with your training and hope you have fun. But do remember that a boat, especially if going fast, or coming at you in rough seas, can have a really hard time spotting you, even with your safety buoy. So, treat all boats in your vicinity as potential safety hazards.
Stay safe out there!
/The Ultra Swimrun team