Swimrunner Helen Wikmar gives us the lowdown on how she trains

We find out how she prepares for Ironman and Otillo swimrun endurance events
Quickfire questions with a swimrunner

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Helen and I’m a 35-year-old mother of three boys who still finds the time to train every day. A former handball player, I was forced to retire due to a knee injury and thought my time as an elite sportswoman was over. But it got to the point where I weighed 90kg and I decided to start working out – it just wasn’t me! I started working out 3 times a week in 2014, and in 2015 I ran the Gothenburg half marathon for the first time. After that it's just escalated. I started to compete in Ironman and Otillo events in 2018.

What was the last thing you trained for?

I’m always training for something. The most motivating thing for me is that I just love to train, whether that's run, swim or bike.

What kind of schedule/program did you follow?

I don’t follow any schedule. I follow my passion. I only train what I want to train and what makes me happy at that moment.

The Kit List: Swimrunner Helen Wikmar gives us the details of her essential gear
Credit: Pierre Mangez

How do you evaluate your performance of a training session?

A successful one is a workout that makes me smile afterwards, either because I’ve pushed my limits, or am just enjoying the runners high (or swimrunners high) and the fact that I have the time and the body to be able to perform at that level.

What’s next? What events/challenges are you looking forward to/training for now?

I’m competing almost every weekend, but my main goals for the season are Ironman in August and Ötillö in September.

Do you have a kit sponsorship?

Yes, I’m sponsored by a wetsuit brand called ARKswimrun. They’re a Swedish brand and develop their own products. At the moment they have three different swimrun suits and a really good “Kangaroo” top you can use underneath the wetsuit so you can store your gear or energy with you the race. I’m also sponsored by a shoe brand called VJ shoes. They have the best grip on the planet.

The Kit List: Swimrunner Helen Wikmar gives us the details of her essential gear
Credit: Pierre Mangez

What apparel do you use?

Keel – Swimrun Pull Buoy - €40, ARK Swimrun

Orno 02 Swimrun Suit - €460, ARK Swimrun

Kangaroo Top - €90, ARK Swimrun

XTRM shoes - $160, VJ Shoes (US) | northernrunner.com (UK)

Irock 2 shoes - $160, VJ Shoes (US) | castlebergoutdoors.co.uk (UK) | Amazon (UK)

What one item of your gear would you implore someone else to use?

My wetsuit.

Where’s the best place you ever trained or competed?

There is so much to choose from where I live - the salty ocean and the trails. But I would say any place on the west coast of Sweden is magical

What’s the exercise you hate doing the most?

I don’t hate any of the exercises I do. I love training, I love them all.

Quickfire questions

What’s your ultimate workout song?

Baby by Justin Bieber

How many push-ups can you do in one go?


If you could compete/train anywhere in the world where would it be?


Who’s your fitness/sporting hero?

The everyday standard dad or mom who’s struggling with the everyday puzzle of life but still finds the time to workout and be healthy. Heroes.

Is there any sport you’re really bad at?

Cross country skiing. Last time I tried I went to Mordor and back - I had a terrible time.

What’s your favorite post-competition/challenge meal?

Homemade hamburgers.

Supplement or all-natural?

I eat everything that passes my way.

To read more about Helen’s experiences competiting in the Ötillö Swimrun, click here.

Tags:    Running
Tagged    Running