Swimming is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercises and sports to get fit, strong, and toned without impact and to stay healthy, recover, heal injuries, both physically and mentally. It gives us a full-body workout, where almost every muscle in the body is used, it burns calories, and helps with weight loss and maintenance, and de-stresses and relaxes our body.
To add some swimming session once/week can provide many health benefits for runners to avoid injuries and muscle pain, soreness and help with healing and recovery. Often we only focus that we should be getting plenty of cardio, but swimming is a good no-impact cardio training session for all our muscles. On the other hand, we should remind ourself that it’s super important to take care of our joint and muscle health. So if we feel some joint or muscle pain we should figure out how to run without gravity impacting us.
Swimming is a no-impact and non-weight-bearing sport and supports the body when in the water, as well as has a very low risk of injury. It increases our metabolism, which results in increased energy levels and feeling great overall.
There are different levels of swimming, ranging from swimming for recreation to competitive swimming, all of which require different workouts in the pool to achieve different goals. Depending on our goal, workouts will differ in a range of factors from distance or meters and time spent in the water, to types of drills and sets in the pool and the speed at which they are done.
We should appreciate that swimming is another way to get cardiovascular exercise that’s a whole lot easier on our joints than pounding on the pavement or trail. Swimming is huge waves for our health,, with huge amount of benefits and minimal risks.
WHAT SWIMMING DOES FOR OUR BODY
Every time we swim long enough to get our heart rate up, we strengthen our heart and lungs. Not only that, but we also strengthen a ton of the muscles on our body. Keeping ourself afloat and propelling ourself through the water is a high-level and good training session.
Most runners probably already know about some good benefits of swimming, especially triathletes. But what we may not have already known is that swimming is linked to a good mood boost during the day and much better sleep at night.
WHAT SWIMMING DOESN’T DO
Running, biking, and other forms of cardio offer pretty similar benefits. The difference with swimming is that while it offers us a serious health boost, it doesn’t take much from us in exchange. When we choose swimming as our primary form of cardio, our risk of injury is virtually zero.
In fact, swimming is so safe that it’s recommended for everyone, injured runners or athletes, pregnant women, elderly people, kids or anyone with multiple sclerosis, asthma or arthritis.
Swimming is flat-out fabulous for us with basically no risks. We should find and choose our favourite local pool and get that breaststroke on. We can do some speed swimming session, or comfortable swimming pace.
Swimming can also provide some good recovery after a long run. If we do some slow easy swimming and short-distance, our muscles and entire body will recover, also by absorbing the water. I always feel so much better if I go in the pool after long-distance runs or races.
SWIMMING WORKOUTS FOR RUNNERS
Workout 1: The Puller
A good way to let your legs to recover is to use a pull buoy on your main swim sets. It will allow your legs to recover and make your upper body do most of the work. This is a great workout to try after a morning session at the track.
Warm-up: Swim 400 meters at an easy pace.
Main set: Complete 6 x 200 pull builds. Increase your speed every 25 meters. Start slow and finish with a sprint.
Cooldown: Swim 400 meters without the buoy at a recovery pace
Workout 2: Lung Builder
This exercise will strengthen your lung capacity by limiting the number of breaths you take during the set.
Please note: Do not hold your breath during this exercise. Instead, practice controlling your breath so that you exhale slowly when your face is in the water. Take a controlled breath as indicated below
Warm-up: Swim 200 to 400 meters at an easy pace.
Main set: Complete 12 x 100 meters. For the first 25 meters, take a breath every three strokes. From 25 to 50 meters, take a breath every five strokes, and from 50 to 75 meters, take a breath only every seven strokes. Sprint for the last 25 meters of the set.
Cooldown: Swim 100 to 200 meters easy.
Workout 3: The Kicker
The kick in swimming works to strengthen the hip flexors, IT band and hamstrings without adding the pounding you would get on the road. If you want to increase your ankle flexibility during this workout, use a pair of short-nosed flippers.
Warm-up: Swim 200 to 400 meters easy.
Main set: Complete five sets of the following interval: 50 meters easy, 100 meters fast kick, 50 meters easy, 100 meters fast swim, followed by 15 to 20 seconds of rest. Repeat.
Cooldown: Swim 200 to 400 meters at a recovery pace.
You'll notice that these workouts are only 1600 meters in length. For a swimmer, 1600 meters isn't much, but for a runner it should be more than enough. It will stretch our legs and get in a great cardiovascular and muscular workout.
Perform And Enjoy Some Nice Swimming Sessions, Feel Better, And Enjoy Better, Nicer Runs!