Here are my 9 Reasons Why I prefer swimming as the perfect cross training compliment to running:
1. Swimming seems to be an excellent way to strengthen the upper body (often neglected by distance runners) AND get an aerobic workout at the same time. (You can't do that so easily with weights).
2. Swimming is a non-impact activity -- oyu get a quality workout without the pounding. I actually come out of the water with less joint discomfort than when I enter. This is especially true of the lower back and hips where I seem to feel the effects of years of running the most.
3: Swimming is relatively quick and efficient. 40 minutes in the pool gets me a 1 mile workout (ok, so I'm real slow!), which feels like a 4 to 5 mile run.
4: Because I can replace those lazy off-day easy runs which are usually filled with junk miles, it helps me stay fresher for the quality run days.
5: Swimming gives me a great endorphin rush! I keep telling myself there must be some biological thing going on that has to do with the water and the womb or something.
6: Swimming doesn't require lots of money, equipment or time. It's not quite as flexible as running, but it sure beats golf or tennis!
7: While the potential boredom factor can be greater than running because there is little in the way of sensory stimulation, this can actually build discipline for those tedious moments during long runs.
8: I believe the forced rhythmic and slow breathing swimming requires can actually help my tempo runs. It seems I can use the long slow breathing to control my running pace better.
9: Just like running, swimming is a solo activity. For those of us who like the solitude of running and like to compete against ourselves, swimmimg is the perfect running compliment.
So what's not to like about swimming? Well, the first plunge into the pool has few equals when it comes to discomfort, but it doesn't last long. The chlorine smells yucky and makes your skin dry.
That's my .02 on H20, but I am a runner, first, last and usually in the middle of the pack! Any comments pro or con?
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