How Can Swimming Benefit Runners?
Swimming has many benefits for runners. It helps maintain cardio and helps build muscle while protecting the body from impacts, so you can swim well during the preparation phase as well as during competition. We offer you examples of sessions that will improve your heart capacity and tone your muscle mass.
Swimming and recovery
Swimming is a great way to regenerate muscles between two days of intense running training. Swimming uses muscles that are little used by the runner, such as the flexor muscles of the hip, which also makes it possible to correct any muscular imbalances caused by the intense practice of running and to strengthen the upper body without adding a grip. unnecessary mass, swimming burns a significant number of calories. One hour of moderate-pace swimming will burn between 500 and 600 calories per hour if you swim at a sustained pace you will be able to burn up to 800 calories (data based on kg) on a person’s weight, which’s 20% more than in cycling.
Finally, water has a relaxing effect on the muscles, so it is beneficial to swim during the days of rest, even add a swim session on the same day as an intensive workout.
As a complement to running, we will favor the crawl, it is a relatively easy swimming style to master which allows both cardio and muscle building to be worked on.
The crawl swimming
It helps target muscles crucial for running, on the upper body: biceps, triceps, and shoulder muscles. This work makes it possible in particular to strengthen muscle power, these muscles are particularly called upon when the running pace intensifies. The front crawl also targets the obliques, the abdominals most used in running.
The front crawl also tones the back muscles used during the race such as the trapezius muscles, to accentuate the work on this part of the body, the back crawl is an excellent swim. Doctors recommend it in particular for people with low back pain because of the positive effect it has on the cladding. The backstroke is also the easiest swim to maintain for a long time, so you can use it during recovery.
As for the lower body, the kicking of the legs will target the calves and the soleus, this muscle is in charge of endurance in long-distance events.
Swimming to be avoided
The breaststroke should be avoided, as it can have a harmful impact on the knees, especially if the movement is poorly executed, which is often the case among runners who rarely use the pools. The butterfly is not recommended either, this swim requires a lot of technique and is energy-intensive, moreover, it calls very intensely on the back muscles, if the movement is badly done this can cause a deformation of the spine.
Resuming swimming can be complicated, here we offer 3 sessions that do not require great technique, relatively short in length (between 30 and 45 minutes depending on your ease), and fitting perfectly into cross-training.
Strengthening the upper body with swimming
The Pull Buoy
The Pull buoy is an excellent way to focus on the upper part and optimize recovery, the legs are left at rest during the session, the swimmer gets much less fatigue than if he had to use the lower body, so it is an excellent exercise to include during the competitive season when you want to recover between two workouts while maintaining your cardio. It is also an interesting session on the muscular level, the use of the Pull Buoy will allow a more intense work on the upper body.
Warm-up: 400 m moderate pace
The body of the session: 6×200 m by gradually increasing the speed with each length
Calm down: 400 m moderate pace Note that the Pull Buoy is an excellent acquisition for those who lack swimming technique, in fact, the legs being completely inactive and worn during the exercise, the swimmer gets much less fatigue than if he had to use the lower body. If you want to use your upper body, even more, you can buy platelets. This accessory will also refine your swimming technique, the pads improve support in the water. Be careful, however, too much use can cause tendonitis. If you want to completely get rid of the breathing constraints on this session in order to focus on your technique and muscle building, buying a snorkel will help you in this objective.
Work the legs with swimming. Swimming also effectively targets all the muscles in the lower legs without the shock of running.If you want to target the muscles and joints of the lower body more intensely, it may be a good idea to purchase a pair of short fins, they will improve the flexibility of your ankles and work more extensively on the calves and the soleus (a muscle difficult to solicit with conventional weight training)
For this exercise, you will leave your upper body at rest, so you will need to use a plank.
Warm-up: 200 to 400 m at a moderate pace
Body of session: 5 blocks of 50 m slow, 100 m fast, 50 m slow, 100 m fast. Take between 15 and 20 seconds of recovery between each set.
Return to calm: between 200 and 400 m.
Once you get used to the technique of swimming with the fins, you can swim the front crawl with the fins on. This is particularly interesting for cardio, the webbed training makes the heart rise faster.
It is an excellent session to do out of season and during the period of land, the beats allow to strengthen the legs however during the period of competition, it will be necessary to be careful not to abuse these sessions, the beats remain tiring for the muscles.
Boost your cardio with swimming
This session will specifically develop your breathing capacities, here it is preferable to swim without the aid of a Pull buoy in order to force the body to its limits.
Warm-up: between 200 and 400 m moderate pace
Body of session: 12×100 m over the first 25 m take a breath every 3 strokes, from 25 to 50 m breathe every 5 strokes, from 50 to 75 switch to one breath every the 7 arm strokes, finally finish the last 25 meters at your maximum pace.
Calm down: between 100 and 200 m moderate pace
These workouts will be used to refine your body movements in the water, technique is a particularly determining element in swimming, it is good to take lessons in order to speed up the adaptation period.
Split and muscle power with swimming
Once broken in, you can gradually increase the duration of the sessions up to an hour, incorporate more interval training. In order to make the sessions more fun and to increase the effect on the sheathing, you can also combine the use of the different accessories that we saw in the first part.
Warm-up: 200 m with Pull buoy + 200 m in full swimming at moderate pace
Body of session: 200 m sustained pace with 10 seconds recovery pads remove the pads put on the fins and perform 150 m slightly faster than the first set recover 20 seconds, put on the pads while keeping the fins and swim 100 m at a pace close to your speed maximum. Cool down for 30 seconds and complete a final length with the 50m equipment at your maximum pace.
Then, get rid of the accessories, and sprint 6 sets of 25m.
Cooldown: 200 m backstroke
This session is very complete, it will work both your cardio and your muscle building, finally, the series of sprints performed at the end of the session allows you to raise the heart very high for a short period of time like the interval 30 / 30 on the track.
Depending on your level, during the land phase, you can swim about 3 times a week and gradually increase your mileage during the race. In high season, it will be necessary to avoid carrying out sessions too close to the competitions, even if swimming is a sport carried, it remains a physical activity which tests the sheathing and requires a lot of energy.