View Full Version : Endurance Workouts for a Runner

February 11th, 2003, 08:27 PM
Hello... I am a very serious runner and I am considering using swimming as cross training. I am a distance runner and I would like to know what kind of workouts to do that would help my endurance and my lung capacity. I'll be swimming 2 times a week on top of running twice a day every day in case you need to know. Thanks for the help.


Courteous Swimmer
February 12th, 2003, 03:41 AM
Swimming takes up alot of time.

You have to make sure lap swim is available at a time that's convenient for you. Then you have to go all the way to the gym, get changed, take a shower, get your gear on, find a lane, take post-workout shower, get dressed again, and go home.

Running is so much easier to fit into your schedule. Lace up your running shoes, and run!

February 12th, 2003, 07:04 AM
I have all the time in the world! This is for my summer training when I have all day available to run and swim. The swim club in my town is about a 5 minute bike ride from my house so its very convenient and the pool is open till sunset everyday of the summer. There's also a special pool with lanes for this kind of swimming too so that's not a problem either.

Lee Anne Dunham
February 13th, 2003, 02:55 PM
I too was a runner for years and used swimming as a cross training exercise. I found that doing middle distance intervals with little rest or longer distance intervals with short rest a great way to increase my lung capacity. Doing something like 200, 300, 400, 500, 400, 300, 200 and then repeat 2-3X with only a ten to 15 second rest between. I do not know how good of a swimmer you are or what kind of swimming shape you are in but definitely work up to this kind of a work out. Another good workout could be repeat 500 with only a short rest. There are lots of great ways to use swimming to help your running and to keep things interesting. Best of luck to you. I sure miss being able to run myself. Keep on swimming!

Lee Anne :)

Courteous Swimmer
February 18th, 2003, 11:45 PM
Why can't you run anymore Lee Anne?

Lee Anne Dunham
February 24th, 2003, 03:02 PM
I can no longer run do to a car accident I had about two years ago. In the accident I severed both of my feet at the ankles and crushed most of the bones in my legs. I have been very lucky and had a great surgeon who put me back together. While I do have pretty good use of both of legs and feet they no longer bend at the ankle the way they should. The pins, rods, and plates they used to put me back together have produced limitations. I am very lucky, they originally thought I would lose both legs above the ankle and then they were not sure whether or how well I would walk. Most people do not notice the slight limp I have most of the time. When they really bother me people will notice a limp. Thanks for asking. It has been a long slow road to recovery. I was even in a wheel chair for a while. Good luck and keep on swimming!!

Lee Anne:) :cool:

jim thornton
March 30th, 2003, 10:44 PM
Swimming is great exercise, but it probably won't help your running much at all. Training is extremely specific; they've done trials where they had volunteers train one leg on a stationary bike and not the other. When they subsequently tested the volunteers' VO2 Max, they showed great cardiovascular endurance when using the trained leg; mediocre results with the untrained leg. There was virtually no crossover effect.

Ditto from swimming to running, or vice versa. Your heart will benefit perhaps just from doing more aerobic work, but your performance in running will not improve. (There's even debate as to whether wt lifting helps swimming, but that's another story.)

As far as increasing lung capacity, this too is something of a myth. What training does is not increase the size or the ability of lungs to take in more oxygen; it increases the ability of trained muscles to extract and use more oxygen from the blood. (There have been Olympians who performed well with only one lung, which shows that oxygen intake per se is not the limiting factor--it's the body's ability to use the oxygen.) Once again, getting your swimming muscles in shape will allow them to extract and process more oxygen, which will allow you to swim faster longer. But this won't help your running because you are using entirely different muscles for running. Even the kick you use when swimming taps into different muscles than running. (Biking may have more cross over effect, but it's still not as good at improving running as running itself.)

By all means, swim to break up the monotony; swim because it's a great sport in its own right; but don't count on swimming to make you faster on land or give you more endurance out of the water.