Swimming for Runners - Keep your endurance and save your legs.

Get wet! Why is swimming for runners? Working out in the water will obviously help you aerobically, and it’s incredibly beneficial for runners in more ways than you would think. It is one of the best cross training exercises for a runner.

Being in the water takes pressure off your muscles and joints. This helps your body recover quicker from the pounding of running. With my lousy knees, I really should jump in the pool or the pond more often. The pond would be good for me (Caddyshack reference).

Think of swimming as active recovery for running. You are still working out, but the water helps soothe sore muscles.

You also use different muscle groups during a swim like your upper body and core. Strengthening these muscle groups will help you to keep your form together during a tough running workout or a race.

Here are my quick tips about swimming for runners. Let's make this cross training exercise a successful way to supplement your running. If you want the longer explanations, just keep reading past the list below.

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1. Get a nice pair of swim goggles.
2. Work on good form (otherwise swimming is really hard).
3. Swim for at least 20 minutes to get an aerobic benefit.
4. See if there are adult swimming lessons offered at a pool near you.
5. Try working out in a lake or the ocean instead of a pool.

Want all the details about swimming for runners? Fabulous. Knowledge is power.

1. A nice pair of swim goggles can make all the difference. I made the mistake of buying the cheapest ones at the store my first time. They leaked water all the time which made being in the pool not so fun. Invest in a nice pair right away so you don’t end up back at the store like me.

2. Keep your body straight and parallel to the water’s surface for good swimming form. Now, with good goggles, it will be easier to swim this way. When you do the traditional front crawl, your head should be down. The only time you should really lift your head up is for air. Without goggles, you have to lift your head out of the water to see what you are doing. This makes the back end of your body sink. You’ll get really tired real fast swimming this way.

3. Swim for 20 minutes or more to help get in better shape aerobically. You want to feel like you are getting tired, but not exhausted. If you aren’t a swimmer, it will be very physically taxing. Don’t worry. The true payoff is how great your legs will feel when you run. Swimming takes all that pressure away for a day, but you won’t lose any fitness. Now you’ll feel fresh and fast on more of your runs.

4. Join a swim class. This is the easiest way to get the benefits of swimming. You will learn how to swim with better form, plus it might be fun. You’ll get to swim once a week and the instructor can help improve your swimming efficiency.

5. If you can swim in the open water, jump in. The waves and wind add extra resistance to your workout. It is also a lot more interesting to see all the marine life around you on a swim, so long as what you see isn’t a shark or jellyfish. I swim in fresh water so all I have to worry about is feisty sunfish.

There you have it. Five tips about swimming for runners. Variety is the spice of life. When you mix up your workouts, you’ll keep from getting burnt out on running, and help yourself avoid injury. Now grab your suit and get wet!

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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