If you’re like most runners looking for any kind of edge you could find to get better in running so you’re better in competition, you’re better that you were yesterday, whatever you need to do. Whether you need to do jumping jacks or planks or ice baths or eat weird food whatever it is, you can do it you want an edge.
But what sometimes trips us up as kind of land athletes as I like to say with our gangling limbs is getting the pool we don’t wanna do it we don’t know what to do, 00:30 with random water. But you may have heard it can actually help you become a better runner.
Well, I’m Jesse Funk and today’s episode of Runner’s High I’m both gonna give you my personal experience with adding swimming into my running routine as well as what the research says, whether swimming can actually help you become a better runner.
If you’re just looking for the short version, Yes, No, does it help? The answer is yes if that’s all you need to get in the pool then, hit the subscribe button stick around to me for other videos in the future but then you can get out here and you don’t need to rest, yes, it does help. But if you actually want my story then stick around with me.
I actually started contemplating this idea. Trying to count the number of years right now but quite a long time ago, I was a sophomore in high school actually between my sophomore and junior year and I was thinking that I would edge swimming in to try to help become a better runner. And I was also doing this in part because I wanted to prevent injuries as it over eager freshmen who could be sophomore. I put into many miles of the summer ended up with the stress 01:49 fracture and that waylaid my entire cross country season. It was no 01:53 now.
So I thought about it in terms of both can it help me and can also prevent injuries. With my new years, my new plan, I decided 02:03 down into the why and swim twice a week. So that’s what I did over that summer during base building all you’re doing is long miles, long 02:11 so miles, adding in mileage trying to go longer and then also two days a week I added those two swims.
I was swimming for 800m so half a mile at a time and keep in mind, this time, I’m just one of those gangling land animals who doesn’t know what he’s doing in the pool. So, you know, water levels here and 02:33 your chin is out of the water turning to just paddle as best I could. I’m sure it look ridiculous, but I kept that up for the entire summer.
Now, this is anecdotal of course, just my personal experience with case study of 1. But after I came back from that summer, I actually wouldn’t did my fitness for cross country. Our coach taught us to02:56 mile run to kinda engage “Hey! How’s everybody doing this summer?” did they do their miles, did they do nothing just you know, it’s one of those things were a coach needs to see what am I working with and then formulate a plan.
I came back did that mile test03:13 remember I wasn’t doing any speed over the summer and ran a new mile PR. Which was huge, I really shouldn’t have been able to do that and I attribute that largely because of the time I’m spending in the pool. Now, you may be asking, why this has actually happened. Even though my technique was poor as far as swimming is concerned, what’s happening is that I was getting into extra sessions of 30 minutes, basically 30 minutes, of aerobic work each week.
And because I was so young so 03:49 ruly in my running career I had a large room to grow and that aerobic potential. And when you don’t have that, well we often refer to is based on 03:58 building that aerobic potential, building your aerobic capacity, makes for big increases in the speed you can get even though you haven’t done any actual speed work.
I’m not actually alone here. A study of the Scandinavian journal of medicine in science did a study for this effect for the people in the pool. And they showed after 12 sessions in the pool, that running economy increased by 6%. So clearly, there’s a benefit to being in the pool some part of the week on top of the running that you’re also doing. It’s possible you can actually replace or just add days where you’re just swimming you’re not doing that running.
But if you’re paying attention to my story, I hope you were if you made it this far, you may have noticed there’s one other crucial thing that is super important. It’s a benefit of being in the pool, and that’s injury prevention. Remember how I told you that I was looking to prevent injury because of the previous Summer I ended with stress fracture. That’s a deal with adding too much mileage to quickly can lead to injury.
But you also want to maximize your aerobic gains, right? We’re all looking for edges which you hear doing in this video you tryna to figure out does swimming help. So you can use swimming both to increase your aerobic capacity but also to reduce the incidence of injury from overuse in running. Because when you are in the pool you’re not putting the same kind of pounding and strain on your body that running does. So you can get and aerobic working without the stress.
On top of that, it’s also actually nice to use as an active recovery. Which is your way of saying, you’re working not a level where it’s going to tear muscles, blood flows getting through your muscles and it should actually help make your performances on your harder days better after you’ve done that swim.
This is definitely 05:56 not the case during the COVID situation where we had stayed at home. I’ve been in touch with coach about this and we were both really missing out on our pool sessions so all pools are closed. We simply couldn’t do that, we were both do 06:10 nowadays and this is nice kind of active recovery thing that happens even when you’re doing those hard days in the pool, at least for us because we’re pretty well-trained, and we noticed that our days when we’re biking or running just work quite is nice as legs felt heavier, they hurt more. I didn’t see my career recovering quite as fast.
Of course where a case study of two sample sizes always important when I talked about that a lot. But the biggest thing here is that, yes, swimming can help you. And if I said anything else more often than any other phrase in this channel is that consistency is key. So preventing that injury from overuse in running is going to be a big step in making sure you maximized your potential.
If you want to see other videos from me, check out other Runner’s High videos as well as interviews with experts in running and other sports. Be sure to hit that subscribe button and stick around with me. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.