Classement Norseman triathlon Samuel Lacroix

Samuel: Norseman Xtreme Triathlon "an unforgettable experience"

The Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is an international competition that takes place every year in Eidfjord in Norway. It is considered as one of the world’s toughest triathlons, it includes 3.8 km of swimming in icy cold water, 180 km of mountain cycling and 42 km of running which practically ends with mountain climbing.

Samuel Lacroix, a NABAIJI brand team member who is familiar with extreme triathlons, shares his swimming experience with us:

 

HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU SPEND TRAINING FOR THIS WORLD-FAMOUS EVENT?

"I started training regularly for the Norseman in a pool as soon as I received confirmation of my registration. From memory, that was in November 2014. So I had nine months of hard graft ahead of me up until the competition. Starting from the end of March, I began training in the sea so that I could get used to the low temperatures (12°/13°) and to open my chakras."

 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR TRAINING. WHAT DID YOU FOCUS ON SPECIFICALLY?

"I trained up to four times a week. Two sessions of pool training with the whole NABAIJI team and two training sessions in the sea either alone or accompanied by a few fellow outdoor swimmers. My pool training sessions were around 2.5 km and 3 km. They were 'qualitative', I focused mainly on rhythm, technique and intensity. Sea training sessions were more 'quantitative'. They involved working on the fundamentals, swimming for long periods and learning to stay on course without markers."

 

HOW DID YOU PREPARE PSYCHOLOGICALLY?

"I did most of my psychological preparation in the sea. Swimming across a body of water is the most intimidating event because there is zero visibility, no markers, the water is cold (even more so at 5 o’clock in the morning)...
In Norway, despite good weather and my preparation, I was super stressed. My first dip in Eidfjord was terrifying! I was freaking out about hypothermia setting in during the event and I wondered if I was going to manage to keep going after the 3.8 km. The snowfall had actually been particularly heavy the previous winter, and the snow continued to melt until the summer, which meant the water in the Fjord stayed very cold.
So it was essential to be prepared to fight the fear of diving into the wolf’s den, into the unknown!
The day before the Norseman, the organisers held a briefing and a Social Swim with the competitors which gave us a chance to "break the ice", not only figuratively but literally. The atmosphere was then more relaxed and friendly." 

 

DURING THE SWIM, DID YOU STICK TO A SPECIFIC PACE? 

"I actually had to adapt my stroke to the constraints of the sport. In open water, and with a wetsuit, buoyancy is better (like with a pull buoy), so I tried to save my legs as much as possible. They are what use the most energy so I did hardly any kicking. For my arms, I swam less powerfully than in a pool and with a lower frequency. The real challenge was trying to maintain a maximum range of movement whilst fighting the cold that causes muscles to seize up. I felt like I had planks of wood instead of limbs... (hahaha)."

 

 


IN THE MINUTES LEADING UP TO THE RACE, HOW DID YOU PREPARE YOURSELF PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY?

"Right before the competition, I decided that I wasn't going to warm up in the water in order to not needlessly waste energy in the cold.
On the boat, during the last twenty minutes before jumping into the water I was extremely calmrelaxedin the zone. I kept telling myself: "Here you are, do what you’re good at."
It was a sheer magical moment of fulfilment before diving into the arena."

 

DID YOU COME ACROSS ANY DIFFICULTIES DURING THE CROSSING DESPITE ALL OF YOUR PREPARATION?

"Hmm... Not really. Oh yes! I remember that the cold (again!) made the task really difficult. I felt like I was being given electric shocks on my face towards the end of the race. My head was telling me to focus on my movements, glide, and stay on track, while my body was begging me to get out of the water as quickly as possible."  

 

HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH THE LONG-DISTANCE EXERTION IMPOSED BY OPEN-WATER EVENTS?

"Once I was in the water, to manage my race, I started with a very low stroke frequency. I knew that I was going to warm up as the race went on and that my intensity would gradually increase. I also forced myself to stick with the other competitors, because swimming alone in icy cold water is also psychologically tough.
At the end of the race it’s all in the head and I was relying on everything I had left in me."

 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RECOVERY AFTER THE RACE. DO YOU BOUNCE BACK QUICKLY AFTER THIS KIND OF COMPETITION?

“At the finish line, after 13 hours and 45 minutes of exertion (wow!), everywhere was aching and it was really cold. During the race, you’re only partially refuelled and hydrated, my digestive system was completely messed up. So the recovery really wasn’t really optimal.
But I was lucky to come to Norway with my wife and my brother. They really gave me a psychological boost, before, during, and after the race."

 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO DO OPEN-WATER SWIMMING OR TRIATHLONS?

"Don’t stress about open-water swimming. It’s really different to swimming in a pool. A really good pool swimmer won’t necessarily make a good open-water swimmer. You need to keep a positive attitude to this sport.
The key in this sport is knowing how to find your way and stay on course. You also need to find the right wetsuit (for training and triathlons) and don’t forget to try it on beforehand!"

 

ONE LAST THING: WHAT’S YOUR NEXT CHALLENGE?

"I would really like to do the Norseman again. It was genuinely an unforgettable and truly unique experience that will be forever etched in my mind. The organisation and atmosphere there are great, with high spirits and a sense of sharing. Beyond all that, putting your body and soul into achieving your dream is simply awesome!"

"We don’t make full use of our bodies in everyday life. And what’s extraordinary is that once you overcome this type of challenge the right way, you no longer know where the limits are."

Régis
National Swimmer & Dialogue Leader
Advice
natation en eau libre

Fed up of counting tiles? NABAIJI is going to introduce you to the wonderful world of the open water!

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