We are about to SPLASH into the Carolinas summer season. Yep, yet another spring has come and gone; we blinked and low and behold, summer happened. With it turning into that sidewalk melting heat that we have all come to grow and love in the Carolinas, runners can sometimes turn to their indoor cross training options. But, what if we told you there’s an outdoor option as well? Yes, that’s right, we’re talking about swimming.
You may ask, “I’m a land animal, not a water beast.”, but you can conquer both workouts with some straight information on how swimming can truly benefit your runs.
Swimming ISN’T just used for active recovery; though beneficial because it does have less weight bearing on the lower extremities of the body. However the full body movements, properly executed will help to strengthen muscles that are normally neglected while running. This will help to alleviate any muscular imbalances that some runners suffer from and ultimately will lead to injury prevention.
It will boost lung capacity. Water is a more resistive medium, as such, you will need to adjust your breathing to fit the situation. Unlike, with running though, your oxygen intake will have to be trained to adjust. The only difference is, that you will be forced to do so while your head is in and out of the water. It’s not a matter of holding your breath, but rather when is the correct moment to breath carbon dioxide out and when to take oxygen back in. With proper help, this action will increase lung capacity, and make breathing during running much easier with better breath control.
It’s wonderful for recovery. While we stated earlier that swimming isn’t just beneficial for runners recovery, it really does help loosen the muscle groups up following long run weeks. This is using swimming as active recovery, as the movement and cold water facilitates blood flow and recovery. Therefore allowing the small tears created in muscle groups relief.
Be sure that you don’t just dive in without any help though. While swimming is a wonderful form of cross training for running, proper technique is everything. And be sure to decide your preferred outdoor method of swimming. Open water is certainly exciting, but you will need to take measure to be sure you are seen and safe. Pool swims are much more common, but make sure you are doing proper turns and know proper lane etiquette in case you are asked to share. Take a chance and try some new cross training this summer!