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Thread: Swimming during running off-season? page

  1. #1
    MissJecka's Avatar
    MissJecka is offline Senior Member
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    Swimming during running off-season?

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    I prefer not to run in the winter - I've done it before, I just don't enjoy it at all - and being in Boston during one of the worst/snowiest winters in history makes it even less desirable. The treadmills at my YMCA are either busted or have a long wait, so my former-varsity-swimmer boyfriend and I took up swimming in October and have been swimming three times per week ever since.

    My question is for the runners: What benefits have you runners seen from incorporating swimming into your routine, whether it was a temporary replacement (like it is for me) or if you did so as cross-training cardio? I don't see any physical changes in myself, but I do know that swimming is helping my lung capacity and helps me pace my breathing better (something I've always been awful at). Are there any other benefits to incorporating swimming into a runner's fitness regimen?

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    nburgraff's Avatar
    nburgraff is offline Member
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    I've noticed that whenever I start swimming more myself or when I incorporate more swimming in place of running for the athletes that I coach that they tend to breath a little more relaxed when running. Also the tend to get a little more strength in their core which helps to stabalize their hips when they are running.

    The only negatives that I have noticed with myself and the athletes have been that they tend to get tighter lats, shoulders, traps, etc... this translates to pushing your butt back, rounding your lower back and causing tight hip flexors which is not something you want when running. After figuring this out I just made sure everyone was good about rolling out their lats and keeping up with shoulder mobility work; this solved the issue right away!

    Swimming is great for cross-training and I hope you enjoy the change of pace from the running! I know for me it is nice to get a break from the pounding of running every once in a while and get in pool. Now if only I could master that flip turn...

  3. #3
    MissJecka's Avatar
    MissJecka is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks for your comment!

    I have naturally tight hip flexors and hamstrings, both of which trigger my sciatica... which I noticed when I was training for my first (and only) half marathon. I've noticed that my hamstrings have been really tight since swimming, so I do more yoga to keep myself loose. I wonder if it will help with running?

    My boyfriend was a varsity swimmer in high school and although he's out of shape compared to how he was back then, he swims double what I can in the same amount of time! He's trying to teach me flip-turns but I feel like I'm going to drown every time I try. Hah!
    >> Current Stats: 90% Primal / 143 lbs / ~25% BF
    >> Goal (by 1 Jan 2014): 90% Primal / 135-ish pounds / 20-22% BF

    >> Upcoming Fitness Feats: Tough Mudder, June 2013
    >> Check out my super-exciting journal by clicking these words.

    Weight does NOT equal health -- ditch the scale, don't be a slave to it!

  4. #4
    relaygirl's Avatar
    relaygirl is offline Senior Member
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    I had a stress fracture in my heel in 2011-I was in a walking boot (but still could not put weight on it so I had to use crutches or a weird knee buggy device). I had it from Jan to the end of May. It was nuts. I swam 4 to 5 days a week during this time because there was really nothing else for me to do. I came out of it with much less muscular legs but I started running June 1 and by Sept I ran a 50K. I usually swam for 1 hour each session with a few sprints during that time. I'm sure my form was terrible-I just kind of went with what felt natural in free style.

    I think it was good for my running and recovery--very bad for my extra long hair

  5. #5
    GaryWatson's Avatar
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    Yeah, I would recommend it, it's absolutely awesome, but don't take my word for it, do it yourself

  6. #6
    meloroaster's Avatar
    meloroaster is offline Senior Member
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    Absolutely! I find swimming really helps my running. I can tackle hills better and generally feel like my cardio levels improve a lot. If you approach it like you do runs, with sprints, longer/slower swims, tempos etc it will do your body good! Actually i think as long as you do more than float or doggy paddle i think you'll do good!
    I live up north and started a swim club (we wear 5mm wetsuits, hoods and snorkels!). We're up to about 3km which takes about an hour. I do that once a week.
    Personally, i do better when cross-training (incl weights, swim, SUP, bike). Mainly due to injury prevention. Anything that builds up your core is automatically going to help your running.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    bemental's Avatar
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    I couldn't really tell you how it helps running, but I'm currently attempting to incorporate sprints into my life twice a week, one of the sessions being in the pool.

    And again, I typically reach muscular failure long before I get "winded", most likely due to the cooling effects of the water and the easier time your heart has pumping blood when your body is horizontal (which makes the sprints even that more... enduring).

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