The Benefits of Adding Running to Your Training Program

UH dryland running

The Benefits of Adding Running to Your Training Program

Swimmers, you won’t want to hear this.

What if I told you that running could actually benefit your swimming? Yes, you read that correctly. Running, the dreaded activity that most swimmers avoid at all costs, can help you swim faster.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to go and run the Boston Marathon in order to drop a few seconds in your events. Even a small amount of running (around 60 minutes per week) can result in some serious benefits.

There are various positive results of incorporating running into your swim training regimen. The first is quite simply for mental health purposes. As swimmers, we spend hours per day staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool. Add on the fact that the air inside natatoriums is often hot and stuffy, and you may find yourself in need of a change of scenery. Running can provide this new environment, as it can be done practically anywhere! Jogging trails, roads, parks, and beaches are a great place to go for a run. By going out and enjoying nature on your run, you may find that it gives you a much needed break from that line at the bottom of the pool. By doing this, you may be more motivated to go to swim practice, and this opens up the opportunity for better performance.

Aside from the mental benefits of running, it can also provide swimmers with physical advantages as well. Running can help strengthen a swimmer’s cardiovascular system, which is critical to building endurance. Swimming also relies heavily on one’s cardiovascular system. Therefore, by running, you can build your cardiovascular system and rely on it for swimming.

Running can also double as a serious leg workout! It activates many muscle groups, including the hip flexors, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Running can also help a swimmer improve their core strength. With legs and abdominal muscles being so critical to swimming (for pushing off of walls, kicking, and stabilizing a swimmer on the surface of the water), running can be a great way to reinforce the power of these important muscles.

Running during peak swim season can be challenging. If you’re not quite up for adding running into your training regimen, the sport can be used as a great way to stay in shape during the offseason. The special thing about running is that it can be done anywhere. Whether your local pool is closed for construction, your team is taking a break, or you’re on vacation, there’s always a place where you can go for a run. This makes running one of the most accessible forms of cardiovascular training that swimmers can utilize.

When beginning to run, it’s important to remember some basics. First of all, you’re going to want to invest in a quality pair of running shoes. Not all sneakers are designed with running in mind, and running in improper footwear can lead to injuries. Secondly, one of the key phrases associated with running is: “run slow to run fast.” This essentially means that when starting your running journey, you have to make sure you take things slowly. Running too many miles or at too fast of a pace can lead to a quick burnout or injury. Lastly, don’t forget that running (like swimming) burns large amounts of calories. Especially when the two sports are trained at the same time, your body will need a significant amount of food to recover from workouts. Make sure to hydrate and eat well so your body can perform at its best.

While it may be hard to hear, the evidence is clear: swimmers can benefit from running. It may not be for everyone, but all swimmers can at least give running a try. Will you?

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x