Each day is a new challenge. Each stride is a new impact. And each run is a new race. With daily running, your zeal to do your best soars higher. How much can I run? How fast can I run? If these are some of the questions that you, as a runner, find yourself asking then it’s time to ditch the conventional methods and adopt new techniques for performance enhancement. In the light of improving your fitness, how about checking out some swim workouts for runners?
Running is a universal exercise. Due to its simplicity and self-sufficiency, it has successfully garnered a huge fan following outside tracks and stadiums. We see running happening in gyms and parks, on treadmills and pavements now. It is a great cardiovascular workout that takes care of your heart, improves your cholesterol levels, regulates proper blood flow, burns fat, and keeps your mind and spirit buoyant.
But running is a brutal too. Every time your foot strikes against the ground, your body absorbs a heavy impact which in turn places tremendous stress on bones, muscles, tendons and other tissues. Hence, you need to take a break from running itself to heal running injuries and trim your fitness level without torturing your legs excessively.
And the answer to that is swim workouts! Keep reading to for the know-how details on swim workouts for runners.
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Why Swim Workouts for Runners
In this era, fitness is the rage of the times. To keep up to the accepted fitness level has become a prior life goal for many of us. And why? Surely nobody wants to reduce their life span with unhealthy lifestyle or bog down with diseases. Thus, running has now become the lifestyle of the general populace. The passion for the aerobic exercise has taken some serious turns where everyday runners are digging up technical guidance for self-help. They are looking for alternative ways to upgrade physical fitness and boost their mileage. And this is where cross-training like swimming has found its purpose in the running world.
In reference to running, cross-training is when runners train themselves through different kinds of fitness workouts, such as cycling, swimming, a fitness class or strength training sessions, to supplement their running. It builds strength and flexibility in muscles to release muscle tension.
Swimming is an excellent way to increase lung capacity and strengthen core muscles. It is refreshing workout routine that allows runners to take a break from running yet keep up the training as well as rehabilitate those hard-working legs. Additionally, swimming is a full-body activity, meaning that it uses different movement patterns that grants all the muscles groups to undergo training- muscles which are otherwise not used in running.
Swim Workouts for Runners
Take a break from foot pounding and let swimming help you with injury recovery and endurance improvement. Here are some of the best swim workouts for runners, take a look!
Drills and Strokes Workout
Runners are more or less new to swimming. And so, a great way to start off swim workouts is by learning the fundamentals. Knowing the swimming basics will help you avoid ingraining the wrong swimming habits. You can begin by learning how to breathe, float, flutter kick, breaststroke kick, and tread water. Of them, the breaststroke is the easiest to pick up.
First learn to get comfortable in the water, keep your head above water (the entire time) while learning. As you gain confidence and skills, advance this stroke and learn to get your head under the water. Gradually, move on to doing the backstroke and finally the freestyle.
You can sign up for a swimming class or watch a video resource to visualize these drills and strokes. Considerable practice should provide the base for progress in the water.
You can use an aquajogger to help you keep the head above water level.
Active Recovery Swim Workout
Swimming is a relaxing activity that runners can take up in between intensive running workouts. It is a full body sport that works a large number of muscles in less time, also the effort relatively minimum, briefly rescuing your body from the intensity and impact of running. A cool swim after a hard run promotes recovery and sets you up for the next hard day.
Begin with 10 minutes of swimming drills (like flutter kick with a kickboard or breaststroke kick holding onto the edge of the pool). That should be followed by 20 to 30 minutes of easy swimming. With an increase in swimming fitness, you can increase the time and include various strokes while keeping the effort easy.
Try to record an initial swimming assessment by timing yourself. Swim one lap at an easy, keep a record and then keep tracking your improvement as you continue. It’s motivating to know that you have sped up and without working any harder!
“Just Keep Swimming” Workout
Runners require a good lung capacity for maximum endurance. And swimming clearly helps to improve it. Just keep treading in the water without putting much effort. This will fresh you up, strengthen your muscles, and develop your stamina.
Increase your swimming distance and swim at a moderate effort. Begin your warm up with 10 minutes of drills followed by easy-effort swimming. Swim 100 meters at a stretch and then rest for two minutes. In the initial stage, repeat two to three times and gradually upgrade the distance to 200 meters. Include different strokes for each length for an extra challenge to build stamina and lung capacity.
Deep-Water Running Workout
This a low-impact workout that offers cardiovascular benefits while strengthening your thighs, ankles and calf muscles. Stand in chest-high water and start running at the spot or across the pool ends, using normal running form. You shall experience a resistance from the water and so, you have put extra effort to run.
Deep-water running, also known as pool running, helps athletes with foot and knee injuries to stay fit while they are recuperating.
Interval Training Workout
Instead of diving into longer, endurance-style swimming, you can do interval training using regular freestyle swimming. Sprint 25 meters in the water. Then rest for about 30-45 seconds and repeat four to six times. Gradually raise your water-sprinting distance until you can do 50 meters for six times. At the end of each set, do a few slow, easy laps of freestyle, breaststroke, or backstroke.
Stamina Training Workout
All runners must remember that longer distances swimming builds lung capacity. Swim a brisk 100 meters. Take a break for two minutes and swim again. As you gain skills and speed, crank up the distance to 200 meters but with the same two-minute rest in between sets. Mix up each new set with a change in the strokes. This will keep the workout exciting.
Kicking while swimming works to strengthen your hip flexors, IT bands, and hamstring muscles. You can also increase ankle flexibility during this water-kicking workout by simply using a pair of short-nosed flippers.
Warm up by an easy 200 to 400 meters of swimming. Rest for 30 seconds before doing a 50 metres of easy swimming. Immediately follow that with 100 metres of fast kick. Do this twice. Take a 15-20 second of break to repeat. Complete at least five sets of the given interval.
It is important that you cool down after a swim. The cool down phase maintains an increased blood flow for an extended period of time after the race.
Cool down Period: Swim 200 to 400 meters at a recovery pace after every swim workout.
Best Swim Workout for Runners: Pool Running
If you already know the swimming basics and want to use it to strengthen you running skills then pool running (aka deep-water running) is the best swim workout. Use an aqua jogger, a pool running belt, for better support to keep yourself afloat. Pool running is almost as identical as jogging on the pavement. It allows for both aerobic and anaerobic work in the same way as concrete running does.
For example, if you had a 4×200-meter workout planned and you usually run 200 meters in about 45 seconds, simply surge in the pool for the same time. Likewise, if you only need a short easy jog, then pace in the pool at a relaxed tempo for 30 minutes or so.
And what’s more, pool running provides the rare opportunity to focus on your form in slow motion. Due to the water’s resistance, you can gauge the space position of your arms and legs than you can on land.
Plus, swimming also strengthens the various muscles that leads to a good form, and train your body to internalize the feeling of efficient running.
For a low impact and an effective pool running workout, avoid touching the pool floor with feet.
Benefits of Swim Workouts for Runners
So long, we have been stressing the points that swimming helps in lung capacity increase and speeding up recovery. Let’s understand how swimming contributes to these two aspects of training.
Increased Stamina (Lung Capacity)
Swimming increase your lung capacity as it requires holding of breath and this is a desired feature that most athletes want. The breath control exercise compels your lungs to expand and over the course of time will enable them to increase in size.
Increased lung capacity in an athlete can be highly beneficial for their overall performance. The increased capacity in the lungs will mean an increased efficiency at delivering oxygen to your body. And we know that oxygen helps carry out nearly every function in the body. In runners, lung capacity determines how long they can run.
Thus, to be able to endure long-distance running, you should increase your lung capacity so that sufficient oxygen is supplied to the muscles and tissue and thereby, improving your ability to function at a higher level than other runners.
As we know, swimming is a low-impact exercise, it is great for pushing forward quick recovery in athletes who exercise intensely. If you often sense body pains and muscle soreness then try swimming for instant relief. Compared to most exercises, swimming has the better ability to stretch all the muscles at the same time
Swimming causes an increase in heart rate that allows blood to travel faster through your body. As a result, the increased blood flow disperses the waste collected in your muscles from workouts to the rest of your body. The cleaning out muscle waste is further augmented by horizontal positioning.
With tissue fatigue and muscle tension being wiped out during swimming, you feel rejuvenated and stronger.
A change in the training pattern is good for runners and other athletes. Shift from your regular workout and introduce cross-training techniques for optimum athletic benefits. Cross-training like swimming adds new ranges of motion and strengthens muscle groups that have been neglected in the course of running. It assists a runner to avoid classic overcompensation running injuries. Therefore, keep swimming for better running.