Ask Coach Sara: Why Do I Feel Lightheaded After The Swim?

  • By Sara McLarty
  • Published Aug 22, 2013
Sara McLarty exits teh water at an ITU race. Photo:

Your Twitter questions about swimming as a triathlete, answered by coach Sara McLarty.

Q: Why do I always feel lightheaded after the swim as I exit the water into T1?

Gravity will have a slight effect on your body from being horizontal in the water. Standing up quickly can cause the blood to rush away from your head. Decrease this dizziness by kicking extra hard the last 200 meters to increase your heart rate before standing.

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: Simulating Open Water And More

Q: I want to start swimming. Should I build stamina on my own or join a program first?

I recommend that any novice swimmer start with 2–3 personal swim sessions with a knowledgeable swim coach. This will allow you to develop good form and an efficient stroke as you train on your own and get comfortable in the water. When you feel ready and confident, join a local training group!

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: Building Swim Stamina And More

Q: Is there an optimal work-to-rest ratio based on number of intervals and distance?

There is no optimal ratio. The work-to-rest ratio is determined by the goal of each set. A VO2max set (sprinting) will have a short work time and long recovery time. An aerobic set (endurance) will have a long work time and short recovery. Go to and search for “quick sets” for some workout options.

Got a swimming question? Coach Sara wants to help. Just tweet your queries to @SaraLMcLarty.

FILED UNDER: Getting Started / Swim / Training TAGS:

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