Swimming and running compliment each other in so many ways, and when it comes to fitness, recovery, and feeling good, an hour in the pool is worth as much, if not more, as an hour on the roads.
Swimming can be used by runners to develop lung capacity, strengthen core muscles, refresh workout routines and ultimately, improve running fitness. Runner’s World magazine calls pool workouts “hands-down the best cross-training for runners”
The resistance of water offers a cooling workout that taxes the body enough to maintain cardiovascular and muscular fitness, while zero-impact environment aids in recovery and injury prevention.
Below are a list of several ways you can integrate swimming into your regime:
Rather than plunging into longer, endurance-style swimming, initially try interval training using regular freestyle. Sprint 25 meters (one length), rest 30 seconds, then repeat four to six times. Eventually increase your sprinting distance until you can do 50 meters (two lengths) six times. Finish each set with a few slow, easy laps of freestyle or breaststroke.
Swim laps for stamina
Those who are used to running long distances but haven’t swum in a while may have a shock when hitting the water. Swimming uses muscles and fitness in completely different ways to running, so to start, time how long it takes to swim 10 steady laps,using a combination of breaststroke and front frontcrawl to avoid boredom. Try and improve on this time a few times. By swimming for long-periods will help build lung capacity.
Deep-water running provides cardiovascular benefits while strengthening thigh, ankle and calf muscles in a low-impact workout. Standing in chest-high water, run across the pool, using normal running form. The water provides resistance, so you have to work harder to run.
To gauge your pace, compare how you feel while running in the water with how you feel running on the road (your perceived exertion). Or use your land times as a guide. If you typically do an interval workout of 8 x 400, take your time, say, one minute and 40 seconds, and run 8 x 1.40 at a hard effort in the pool.