Modifying and optimizing your swimrun gear – Get race ready

If you’re a swimrun-beginner you might want to train and do some races before starting to modify your swimrun gear. Unless you’re aiming for that top 3 placement. Here World of Swimruns Nic gives you some advises that could be good for swimrunning. Comments are always intresting. So let it roll, and let us know.

Modifying gear is all about chasing minutes and seconds during a race, and if there’s no need to, you can do well without and just focus on enjoying it. If you still feel that your gear is not operating at 100 %, that something needs to change, there are a few things that can be fixed quite easily. Below we’ll give you a few pointers on what you can do.

There are 2 basic rules when racing:

  1. If it helps your overall performance then use it, otherwise use as little gear as possible.
  2. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t use it!

All changes need to be cross-referenced with your race performance because some changes might cut time in one segment but add time in another. Bringing that extra buoy might give you an advantage in the water, but it can slow you down during the many transitions or in that thick narrow trail where it might get stuck. It’s a constant balance trying to figure out what to change or not.

Race cap

Starting from the top. You won’t have to do anything with the (obligatory) race cap. But remember to put it on with your fingers on the inside stretching it out, otherwise it might break and in some races this can lead to disqualification.


Neoprene cap

It’s only needed for really cold races or people who get really cold. You can cut off the band under your chin. It’s not necessary since you will need to have a race cap on top anyway.

racecap hold

The race cap (and goggles) will hold it down for you.

race cap

Neoprene head band

It probably helps out in some way but we find it unnecessary to use given the other head or heating options available.



For short races, go without. If this is not possible, then chose those with a steady lace that doesn’t flip-flop around while running. Always use transparant ones since they provide good vision, are easier to navigate in, and will allow you to run shorter stretches with them on.


Ear buds

Ear buds are good for those who get dizzy, especially in cold water. Buy cheap at the local pharmacy. You will lose them over and over again. If you use a neoprene cap or a head band you can skip the buds.


Can be used in very rough water and races with a high swim-ratio. The weaker swimmer in a team can save a lot of time not having to orient nor breath above water, both which will slow you down. The downside is that you’ll have to run with it the whole race.



They are good for many things like writing up the length of the different race stages. Remember to add an extra strap at the bottom.


This strap will stabilize the paddle when swimming in rough seas and allow you to run with it regularly or reversed on-top of your hand, or to be connected to your pull-belt.

Utö Mens Race Winner Bröderna Bäver

Race bib

They usually come in one size fits all leaving that those who ate more than others for Christmas will suffer from immobility. If you get to keep it, we suggest you cut it open under the armpits and around the waist on both sides. This will allow for more flexibility when swimming, but also when taking it on and off to cab-down the wetsuit.

If it’s too big, then tighten it up by tying a knot or sewing it up to get it out of your way when running.

The loose race bib


If you’re a good swimmer, go for the shorty or cut the arms and/or legs on a full suit, especially if you’re racing in hot conditions. A shorty will be easier to run in. If you’re a person who can stay cool during a full race, or are a strong runner, then go for the full suit since it’ll make you much faster in the water. It’s a constant balance trying to figure out what to go for, the easy run or the easy swim. Here, the type of terrain of the race or the swim-ratio will become important. Check out the race conditions before buying the suit.

We usually opt for the 2/3rd, with cut legs.

Winner Womens Class with 2/3rd wetsutis – Team PärEric

If the suit doesn’t have a front zipper, then have one sewn in. If it doesn’t have pockets, also get this fixed. If it lacks connection points for the pull-cord, add it yourself using a scissor and neoprene cement glue. Don’t buy a separate pull-belt. Keep the gear to a minimum.

20160608_220251 pullcordattachment

If you use any type of race watch, cut away ca 3-4 cm of the wetsuit, depending on the size of the watch. This will make it easier to take the suit on and off during a race.


Neoprene calves

For those opting for the shorty. Only use the calves in cold conditions. Skip if you are a good swimmer and especially if you already use a buoy. The calves will have a negative impact on your running technique.


See wetsuit


Buy a flexible rope at your local dealer. Usually you can find this type of rope where you buy stuff for your boat. Also buy 2 alloy carabiner clips. This will be a lot cheaper than buying it at the store and you can adjust it according to your own preferences. (9 kr = 1 Euro / meter).

Cheap pull-cord


Skip the band or rope around the thigh many use to keep it steady. Use neoprene cement and glue on a Velcro patch. Glue the opposite patch on the wetsuit. It will stay on while running.

Use a buoy that is hydrodynamic (pointy), that doesn’t add resistance to the movement in the water. If you are a good swimmer, skip the buoy, especially if you race with a full suit. We prefer the buoy over neoprene calves.



Drill holes in the sole. This will make the shoe release water much quicker. If you drill big holes, make sure to cover them up with a net that will stop small stones or sand from entering.

Drilling holes is good for releasing water but can allow for small stones or sand to enter.

Use flexible laces with quick locks. This is especially good for those who take the shoes on and off during longer swims.


For shoes that come with a plastic rim around the base, use a sharp decent-size needle to punch some holes. This will allow water to be released while running, but keep small stones and sand out.

Punch some holes with a thick needle

Safety buoy

Mostly used for ultra-races or multi-day races where you will swim without a support vessel.

Back pack / Bum bag

Never ever use these since they will have a negative impact on both swimming and running. The same goes for neoprene gloves or swimming gloves.


Do you have your own swimrun-hack you want to share with the world?

Send it to us and we’ll put it out.

Good luck with the racing.

/The WoS Team

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