A blog by runners. For runners.

Swimming for runners

swimming-for-runnersSwimming is a great low-impact cross-training activity for runners, one that works a plethora of muscle groups — including arms, abs, and glutes — and builds endurance.

However, many runners are intimidated by the water and unsure of their swimming abilities (or inabilities). It’s understandable. You’re used to being awesome and confident on the road. The pool is a whole new unfamiliar world.

Lucky for you, summer is the perfect time to dive in and perfect your swimming skills. Here are some tips to grow your confidence and get the most out of the activity. Who knows, by summer’s end you might be ready for a triathlon!

  1. Take a swim class. It can be frustrating trying a sport unfamiliar to you and you probably won’t get the most out of it if you don’t know what you’re doing. Even if you know how to swim, taking a class from a qualified instructor can help you be more sure of yourself in the water and give you a better workout.
  2. Compete. There is no better way to encourage progress than to challenge yourself. Sign up for a swim meet, aquathon, or triathlon to encourage you to the hit the water and train.
  3. Buy equipment. Like running, swimming doesn’t require much. But there are a few things that can make the experience more enjoyable, and the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to succeed. For starters, you’ll need goggles, a swim cap, and an athletic swimsuit. If you’re training for a tri, you might also want to consider a wetsuit.
  4. Be informed. Swimming is not running. Different muscles are involved in making the practice fluid, focused, and fun. Therefore, in addition to taking a class, it’s helpful to purchase or subscribe to magazines about swimming. Some suggestions: Swimming World Magazine and h2Open Magazine.
  5. Practice. Practice truly does make perfect when it comes to swimming. Even in just two weeks of once per week, you will notice improvements. Set small goals in meters, then progress to time over distance goals.

Swimming is great way to stay in shape and keep cool during the summer. How do you feel about swimming?

Written by Danielle Bressoud  / Photo by Stuart Grout

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