I'm assuming that a ocean swim isn't fun swimming out and can be fun swimming in? I'm doing my first tri in August and it's a lake swim, I've been doing some lake swims in the actual lake I'll be swimming in. But I'm looking at signing up for a half Iron next year and it's an ocean swim. I mean it's over a year out... but is there any difference worth training differently for?
Being a tri-newbie, I'm not the most experienced to answer... But I am currently alternating between sheltered OWS in a bay and OWS in the ocean. Imo, ocean swims are quite different, eg.
There's surf to get through
Once past it, there may be swells
Depending on where you are, there may be fun things like kelp floating around (having just gotten a kelp frond wrapped around my face earlier today.)
But I'm not sure if these are things you can train for until you actually have access to the ocean. But I don't think these take that much training, just a little practice before your 70.3.
haven't done many ocean swims but the surf can be anissue so learn to breathe bilaterally in case waves are hitting on the side you regularlly breathe on. learn to navigate in waves. and learn to not drink the ocean water it will mess up your stomach. if it is a land start you may need to learn how to enter the water and get under the incoming waves (duck dive)
Joe H had great advice! Bilateral breathing (being able to breathe on either side) is a good technique to learn. It can be very awkward at first, but doesn't take long to build comfort. Depending on the race location, open water ocean can have choppy water, swells, wind etc that you don't usually see in lakes. If at all possible, make a couple swims at your race location prior to race day so as to limit the surprises on race day... nothing can throw off your day like un-planned/un-foreseen surprises during a race!