Here’s my own personal take on whether or not swimming will help your efforts to a faster 5k. Or for that matter how much your swim training will better your other tri-related sports if instead you are training for more than just 5k. Or you might be injured and worried about getting worse at 5k when out of run-training due to injury.
I train for 3-4 hours a week in the pool. So. Less than some but maybe a bit more than many.
Swimming will help, for sure. It can’t ‘hurt’, surely?! It will help your CV system and also to some degree with specifically preparing your legs for running and cycling. However running and cycling are what you need to do to get good at running and cycling. They are FAR more focussed at what you want to get good at……running and cycling.
Swimming is a more upper bodily focussed activity. Because your weight is supported by the water it is also easier for your heart to do its job. So a 1 hour swim workout is MUCH easier than a one hour run workout.
Also the results of TSB or other measures of training load might be skewed because of the cross training effect of swimming. Eg your figures that include swimming might suggest you are more fatigued than you really are.
Then again the benefit of a swim might be that you won’t have much to recover from whereas running hard is quite hard on your body and requires recovery time/down time.
So don’t bother swimming to help your 5k or duathlon training
…but it WILL help….a bit.
The exceptions to ‘avoiding’ swimming might be
- You enjoy swimming
- You have lots of spare time (hmmm!)
- You are considering triathlon, one day
- You are injured – there are water based rehabilitative/maintenance exercises for running
- As an alternative for a recovery session – actually swimming is very good for getting the gunk out of your legs after a hard session, even the next day it helps. It can have a sports-massage type effect I guess.
- Core stabilisation – if you have a weak core then freestyle, done properly, will strengthen it.
- You have your own pool, etc. etc. If I’ve missed an important one please let me know.
Then again it depends on how much you can push yourself in the pool.
I swim for 3-4 hours a week…but I do triathlon. My run times have plateaud since taking swimming seriously as I can’t devote the time that I once did to running.
Personally, if you want more variety in your running and/or cycling, I would go for weights to build strength or spend more time on your technique.
I’d be particularly interested if anyone thinks they have got faster at running because they also swam. So, for example, you run 3 times a week and instead of doing 4 runs a week you did that 4th session in the pool. So in that example you would argue somehow that your pool session was better for your running than another run session would be. As I say the swimming WOULD help but you could spend the time better…running!
- Out With The Old… (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)
- Improving my cycling speed (bobbyofbrunei.wordpress.com)
- My first blog in the run up to my first triathlon! (tanyaallen2014.wordpress.com)
- The First Steps (fromrunnertotriathlete.wordpress.com)
- 2013 Triathlon Season In Review: The Swim (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)
- The first and only time I ever truly thought I was going to die. (farewelltooldky.wordpress.com)
- On Training: Simulate Race Conditions (metrorunwalkspringfield.wordpress.com)
- Fatter, Faster, Fitter, Broken: 2013 a retrospective (blindcider.wordpress.com)