Swimming for runners #1

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Since an unfortunate ending to a marathon that wound up in a stress fracture to my femur in March I have been on a quest to learn to swim something other than what I’d describe as ‘chatty breast stroke’. So I hopped and hobbled to the pool and began a self-taught journey to front crawl and it wasn’t pretty. The early days involved a lot of gasping and spluttering as I tried to learn how to breathe. Each length ended in a one minute rest as I recovered my breath and wondered how I could run a marathon (well nearly) but not swim 20 metres without a break. This was going to be a challenge but I was up for it as I desperately needed something to channel my frustration, sadness and energy into to fill the very large running shaped void I had in my life.

So as the weeks went by and I came off my crutches, I increased my swimming until it became daily practice. The early days were punctuated with strangers in the pool offering me tips, despite mild initial horror at the thought I was bad enough for people to chip in with pointers, I actually learnt a lot from this. Such as, keeping my head down and only rolling it slightly to breath (less of that desperate gasping for air) and widening my arms a little so I swam in slightly more of a straight line. Plus I had all sorts of fun with floats. 

The thing that struck me the most though, is that I genuinely fell in love with swimming. It’s part of my day now and I need it like I used to need running. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t the same in any way, but it’s something and I have seen drastic improvement. I am now swimming a mile daily front crawl, not that fast mind, and probably not with correct technique, but still. So this leads me to the purpose of this blog. I have enlisted help from Immerse, the specialist swim coaches for overall wellness. I am going back to those swimming lessons I skipped at school and I am serious this time around.

We all know swimming is great for you but I want to see if it can keep me fit and strong so my return to running (whenever it may be) is a smooth one. And along the way I want to challenge myself so I have something to aim for. This blog will illustrate my training program, share lessons I’ve learnt including how to strength train for swimming and what kit you really need. If you cant run due to injury or just want a cross training challenge to keep you fit and strong, join me.