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Road to Improvement Swimming vs. Running (Read 1598 times)


HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

    Kick often. Not to fast. Mostly with the hips. Actually when you are swimming for long distance you are not supposed to kick much. The legs are big muscles and use a lot of energy and kicking is not the main source of thrust. Kick just hard enough to keep your feet from dragging. You want to be level with the surface to be streamlined.
    Can some of the other competitive swimmers comment on this? I've heard triathletes talk about saving leg strength by not kicking hard, but I'd like to know what is the perspective of competitive swimmers on kicking over long distance? A few with whom I've talked in the past, say they just always kick b/c it is how they swim. I know that my kick slacks off when I'm just swimming many laps, but I kick like hell when I sprint -- not a conscious decision, that is just what happens. I've been assuming it is just laziness on my part for the longer swims.

    It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

    RunFree7


    Run like a kid again!

      Actually I would like to hear from the Triathletes as this is the only reason I swim. Is it best to just kick enough to keep your back end afloat or should I be worried about my kick? I can see the theory of saving your legs for the run and bike and letting your upper half do the work for the swim. The upper half will have plenty of time to rest while I am doing the bike. Comments.
        2011 Goals:
        Sub 19 5K (19:24 5K July 14th 2010)
        Marathon under 3:05:59 BQ (3:11:10 Indy 2010)
        I've been reading this thread with interest - and when some of you swimming studs get a chance, I'd like to hear your views on how swimming has impacted your running. I just bought a house in a nice neighborhood with a great pool ... but the pool's only open May to September. I figured I might get into swimming next summer ... but mainly to improve my running. I'll never be a real swimmer. Which probably means I wear an iPod when I swim. But I digress. Does it help your running? Any particular kind of swimming that makes your running faster?
        E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
        -----------------------------


        Feeling the growl again

          Before I went into marathons, I thought I would convert from runner (competed in college) to triathlete. The 20th runner on our team (I was 5th) was a proficient swimmer so I had him work with me. He SPANKED me in the pool. Lapped me, over and over no matter how hard I worked. And he wasn't even working hard. Lesson? Swimming, unlike running, is incredibly technique-based. Just like cross-country skiing. Having proper technique is a prerequisite to EVER getting decent at it. Recommendation: Forget pretending your fitness from running means anything! Force yourself to do the technique drills and become a good swimmer technique-wise first. THEN your running fitness will help you. Nothing from running will help you until you learn the correct technique!!!!!!

          "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

           

          Mishka


            Can some of the other competitive swimmers comment on this? I've heard triathletes talk about saving leg strength by not kicking hard, but I'd like to know what is the perspective of competitive swimmers on kicking over long distance? A few with whom I've talked in the past, say they just always kick b/c it is how they swim. I know that my kick slacks off when I'm just swimming many laps, but I kick like hell when I sprint -- not a conscious decision, that is just what happens. I've been assuming it is just laziness on my part for the longer swims.
            My experience is consistent with protoplasm's comments. This especially, is key: "the legs are big muscles and use a lot of enery and kicking is not the main source of thrust." Without getting too far into the physiology of it, kicking hard puts you into oxygen debt fairly quickly...at least it does for me. When I did longer races, I didn't kick hard until I could afford to go into oxygen debt...somewhere around the last 100 yards, regardless of the race distance. Maybe elite swimmers can kick harder sooner. I'd be interested to know that.
            Mishka


              Actually I would like to hear from the Triathletes as this is the only reason I swim. Is it best to just kick enough to keep your back end afloat or should I be worried about my kick? I can see the theory of saving your legs for the run and bike and letting your upper half do the work for the swim. The upper half will have plenty of time to rest while I am doing the bike. Comments.
              General rule: The kick in triathlon swimming should be used to regulate top to bottom (i.e., head to tail) balance in the water...basically to keep the back end up. Now, good swimming form will not require much of a kick to accomplish this, as a properly balanced swimmer will get most of this through body positioning. My kick in triathlon swimming always felt very lazy. Some triathletes recommend a stronger kick in the last 30-60 seconds of the swim to return some blood to the legs in preparation for running through transition and getting going on the bike. This is not a psycho strong kick that gives you tomato face as you exit the water...just an increase to a kick of moderate intensity. I don't know how much truth there is to the rationale behind why it works, but I always felt that my legs did feel better when I upped the kick intensity at the end.
              Mishka


                I've been reading this thread with interest - and when some of you swimming studs get a chance, I'd like to hear your views on how swimming has impacted your running. I just bought a house in a nice neighborhood with a great pool ... but the pool's only open May to September. I figured I might get into swimming next summer ... but mainly to improve my running. I'll never be a real swimmer. Which probably means I wear an iPod when I swim. But I digress. Does it help your running? Any particular kind of swimming that makes your running faster?
                I'd say swimming's impact on running is very specific to the individual. In general, running performance gets the most benefit from running training. However, an individual's running can benefit from swimming. Take this hypothetical situation as an example: a runner is training at a level that is right on the line between health and injury. That runner would not benefit from running more as he/she will cross the line into injury. But adding a swim will provide additional aerobic and or anaerobic stimulus and will likely not injure that person. So in general, run more until you risk injury, then add swimming. Simple right? Too bad it's so hard to tell how close we are to that line. One other thing swimming improves, and I'm not sure of the science behind it, is oxygen economy. When I do a lot of swimming, I feel like I can breathe bigger while running...if that makes any sense. I feel like I can consume more oxygen and my body is able to use it better. This is all based on feel and may be complete BS. One thing swimming forces you to do is breathe at very specific intervals. You can't just take a breath whenever you want (well you can, but make sure you get the lifeguard's attention first, and make sure they're filming if possible). Swimmers will do sets of breathing on fixed numbers of strokes (every 3rd/5th/7th/9th, etc.) Usually odd intervals as you breathe to both sides this way. Try swimming 100 yds breathing every 9th stroke. Hurts like a bitch. But then you get into a longer race and breathe every 5th or 3rd stroke, then do an underwater flip turn at every wall...your body doesn't freak out. Teach your body to do this...then go run. Breathing definitely feels different...more controlled (now re-read my last paragraph...probably makes a lot more sense). Ok...here's the only hard evidence I have to offer...but it's a specific performance, so it counts for something. My 5k PR came in the year I was starting to experiment with triathlons. It's a soft PR, but I would have said my fitness level, prior to that race, was 45-60 seconds slower. The performance was a complete surprise. I can't entirely credit swimming since I was doing a good amount of cycling at the time as well. But the combined effect of swimming and cycling on my running was much more than I imagined it would be. MTA: That race was 45 seconds faster than I ever ran in HS and I was running comparable mileage to my HS mileage...somewhere around 40-45 mpw. The miles I spent running were relatively quick, but I only did one speed (faster than tempo) workout prior to the 5k PR. In HS, I did 2 speed workouts per week. So adding the swimming and cycling on top of the base miles effectively replaced the speed workouts I'd done in running.
                Mishka


                  Nothing from running will help you until you learn the correct technique!!!!!!
                  Yes, if you care about swim performance. There is no other way. You can't use running fitness to muscle through a triathlon swim. On the flip side, you might not care about swim performance. if you are a runner looking to supplement your running with cross training, you can get quite a large benefit from swimming without spending a ton of time getting the form down. You'll get smoked in the pool by "real swimmers" but you'll still get a good workout.
                    Great posts Mishka. I'll add one more thing. Swimming has made me more flexible, particularly in my ankles. Yes, it's hard to learn how to do well. I'm a sucky swimmer and probably always will be, but i made my biggest breakthrough when I realized that swimming was about keeping your body as long as possible and about gliding through the water. I agree that it is the best form of cross training. I think the runner's basic mentality is to think that propulsion comes from pulling as much water as possible, but the swimming motion is much more complicated, and my experience is that your body knows how to do it better than your brain. I also agree with Mishka that the discipline required when breathing is really weird and hard to get used to, but teaches you also that it is possible to relax when in oxygen debt: an important skill in running, too.
                    Mishka


                      I think the runner's basic mentality is to think that propulsion comes from pulling as much water as possible
                      This is very true...and 1 of 3 pieces of the puzzle in my experience. The quick summary on moving through water efficiently is as follows: -Pull your body through the water using your arms to pull as much water as possible -Push your body through the water using your legs to kick (less empahsis on this in longer swims) -Teach your body to take up as little space as possible as it moves through the water The 3rd bullet point is the key. The other 2 are greatly undermined without having good body position.
                        I've been reading this thread with interest - and when some of you swimming studs get a chance, I'd like to hear your views on how swimming has impacted your running. I just bought a house in a nice neighborhood with a great pool ... but the pool's only open May to September. I figured I might get into swimming next summer ... but mainly to improve my running. I'll never be a real swimmer. Which probably means I wear an iPod when I swim. But I digress. Does it help your running? Any particular kind of swimming that makes your running faster?
                        Caution: Side effects include developing a more horse like appearance. You don't want to become the next Micheal Phelps. As far as improving your running I would think just the toning of your upper body and possibly dropping some fat is going to help. I don't have any personal evidence of this as I was stud before I started swimming Roll eyes If you are talking about replacing running miles with swimming I wouldn't do it. If you just want to add swimming to the running you are already doing then yeah it's going to help some.
                        Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose; it's how drunk you get. -- Homer Simpson
                          http://www.swimmersden.com/TechnicalTips/AnyRunnerCanSwim.htm This article is dated somewhat, but still relevant. It really supports what Spaniel wrote a few posts back. The parallels between training for running and swimming would seem to be obvious. The swimmers use LT workouts and farleks,, the whoe bit. But the 'road to improvement' is much different. I'll bet even more so for us runners who never were serious swimmers in our youth. From my experience swimming helps my running more than the other way around. Swimming lots of volume gives me a better sense of oxygen usage. I usually swim 1600-1800 meters. But when I'm running a lot, my swimming efficiency seems to fall off.


                          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                            I also agree with Mishka that the discipline required when breathing is really weird and hard to get used to, but teaches you also that it is possible to relax when in oxygen debt: an important skill in running, too.
                            When I'm feeling the groove, I enjoy the oxygen debt and cycle in swimming in a way that is not like anything in running (for me). Also, years ago I picked up one exercise from another water polo player that I really enjoy -- sprint down underwater, then sprint back free -- I don't know why, but the adrenalin rush during the sprint back is really fun.

                            It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                            Mishka


                              When I did my competitive year of swimming, we would often go as far as we we could underwater. I'd get down, flipturn and somewhere around halfway back. There was a guy on the team that started triathlon training a couple years before, but without a history in any of the sports. He usually finished in the last 3rd of the field in any race he did the first year. But he ate pain for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After about 5 or 6 years, he was knocking on the door of qualifying for the Ironman Triathlon World Championships. When he spoke about training, he smiled the biggest when he talked about how painful his last training ride/run/swim was. Anyway...he was the undisputed champ in the underwater swim. He got 75 yards...down, back and down again...about 1:20-1:30 of underwater swimming. He came up purple. He didn't really smile when he talked about that one.
                                I've been reading this thread with interest - and when some of you swimming studs get a chance, I'd like to hear your views on how swimming has impacted your running. I just bought a house in a nice neighborhood with a great pool ... but the pool's only open May to September. I figured I might get into swimming next summer ... but mainly to improve my running. I'll never be a real swimmer. Which probably means I wear an iPod when I swim. But I digress. Does it help your running? Any particular kind of swimming that makes your running faster?
                                I've been swimming regularly since the beginning of the year (2-3 hours/week) and it has definitely helped my running. It's easy to explain. It used to be that when I was only running I would get injury prone when my mileage would reach 45 miles per week. That's about 6 hours of cardio a week. With swimming and some cycling added, I was able to reach about 10 hours of cardio total and top my running to about 40 miles a week with only three runs a week. I only concentrate on quality workouts, tempos and long runs usually and on the off days I swim which gets my legs off from the pounding while still getting a great cardio workout. I'm also sometimes doing two workouts a day. Practically, I've beaten my HM PB by 5 minutes just 3 months after I started swimming and I feel I could probably trim some more today.
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