By Coach Kristen Jeno
Coupling of swimming and running can be one of the most effective cross-training exercises for athletes. Both routines are cardiovascular exercises that improve endurance, recovery and core strength. For runners, swimming actually takes pressure off overworked joints, especially those in the knees, while strengthening total muscle mass. For swimmers on the other hand, running adds muscles to the legs while balancing the act of running with a strong upper body workout. Done cyclically, these two exercises completely work almost all of the major muscles in your body
Swimming is a great way to improve your heart health. Calling upon every major muscle group in the body, swimming requires the heart to deliver oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. Swimming also forces your body into an oxygen-deprived state, enhancing your cardiorespiratory system. Swimming builds strength in key muscle groups a common running injury is ‘lazy’ glutes, commonly caused by a failure to use this muscle group properly for a long period of time. Performing a correct flutter kick utilizes the glutes. Be warned, though, many runners will try to kick from the knees when they first swim – so learn to kick properly, with almost straight legs moving from the hips. Perfecting this motion is a great way to activate and strengthen this neglected muscle which, in turn, leads to increased running power and decreased risk of injury. Running is a high-impact sport, running places strain on the joints, often leading to injury when running too frequently. Offering a zero-impact workout, swimming is a great way to exercise, while allowing your joints to recover on your running rest days.
Running will help improve your endurance in the water, helps with your stamina, and gets your heart rate up. Running makes your heart more efficient and effective at what it does best, pumping blood throughout your body to keep the oxygen supply at a good level. This ultimately improves oxygen delivery during swimming. Running improves muscle adaptation in the legs with increased capillarization and increased size of the mitochondria. All of these improvements generally lead to better circulation, greater, more efficient breathing and have a dramatic impact on the overall experience of swimming.
Swimming and Breath Control Sets – Coaching Tip
Breath control sets help economize movement and help the swimmer become more aware of possible stroke inefficiencies. Sometimes breath control can be called or considered Hypoxic training. Hypoxic training for so long based on an assumption that you could simulate the effects of training at high altitude by breathing less often while swimming at low altitude. Hypoxic training was supposed to accomplish much the same thing at sea level. But what really happens when you do hypoxic training is that you’re breathing less often, not less oxygen, and this simply increases the level of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Some research does show that restricted breathing patterns actually increased respiratory muscle fatigue. Whenever your face is in the water you should exhale in a long continuous stream of bubbles, getting rid of the CO2 you produce. By holding your breath underwater the levels of carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood stream start to increase which triggers the urge to breathe in, a condition called hypercania. By exhaling into the water your CO2 levels immediately drop. Take away message is breath control paired with building your endurance and speed will most certainly help increase lung capacity by stimulating physical challenges that arise in performance.