View Full Version : Swimming VS Running

August 30th, 2003, 11:23 AM
Anyone have any opinions/anything to say on this topic... what are your views?

August 30th, 2003, 03:41 PM

Is this a poll?

August 30th, 2003, 04:18 PM
Well, swimming is horizontal and in water and running is vertical and on land (and it hurts my feet) :).

Did you have something specific in mind?

August 30th, 2003, 04:43 PM
What are your views on swimming, as appossed to running, training wise. I just wanted to know everyone's thoughts of how people feel about training both... if you have.

August 30th, 2003, 06:00 PM
I'm sorry if my last post seemed sarcastic -- this is still kind of a broad subject but I'll take a stab at it.

To me, the major difference between swimming and running as a training method (aside from the obvious ones and fact that I like to swim and I don't like to run) is the risk of injuries. I used to run, but stopped because I was injured too often (knee pain, ankle pain, etc) and they were injuries that kept me from training at all. I sometimes get shoulder pain from swimming, but I can still swim when my shoulder is sore, even if I have to ease up, avoid certain strokes or just kick for a workout.

You'll see constant arguments over whether swimming or running burns more calories or is more aerobically effective. I've seen numbers both ways, but I doubt that the difference, if there is one, is really significant.

August 30th, 2003, 06:06 PM
I much prefer swimming to running- I used to do triathlon training (although I never competed), and found that the swimming and cycling bits were easiest on me. I did a fun-run once- my feet still haven't recovered, which is why I stopped running. I also think that swimming is REALLY hard work, compared to running, as it uses more muscles and then there's the breathe control thing, too...

September 10th, 2003, 05:13 PM
I do both. I guess I consider myself an aquathlete. I was a triathlete but I realized I don't like cycling that much. I swim 3-4 days per week and run 4. Every other week I take a day completely off. I find I get behind my other lane members on kick sets. I don't know if I am just a bad kicker, or if my legs are always tired. I am also prone to getting a knot in my calf during kick sets. I think the two sports complement each other well.

September 10th, 2003, 05:50 PM
Is the reason Laurie falls behind in kick sets because of the impact running has in the flexibility of your feet? Which in turn impacts the effectiveness of your kick. I have heard that this can happen and that is why I haven't pursued triathlons. That and the fact I dislike distance freestyle.

September 10th, 2003, 06:01 PM
If you enjoy running and swimming, it's probably a good idea to do both. I think most "experts" agree that cross-training is a good thing. The amount and timing of the other sport (say for a runner who wants to swim, or a swimmer who wants to run) will depend on one's goals. For instance, do a little of both on a regular basis for fitness or multisport, or swim most of the year and add running for a few months each year after the competition season.

The beauty part about running is that it requires almost no equipment and can be done just about anywhere, anytime. Swimming, unfortunately, is not so accessible.

Running probably causes a lot more injuries than swimming.

I haven't regretted not running one minute since my calf injury 3 years ago steered me to Masters swimming!

September 10th, 2003, 06:15 PM
i am glad that i'm not the only one who gets knotted calf cramps
i thought it was due to salt defficiency,although i did notice the cramps usually set in just after a kick off ..
swim lots ran a long long time ago

September 10th, 2003, 06:16 PM
Running isn't dignified. Children can run around all they want, but a grown man shouldn't run unless he's being chased by something unpleasant.

September 10th, 2003, 07:54 PM
This is one area where Shaky and I disagree...I simply love running, and am a former marathoner. Due to inflexability, and muscular imbalance, I am in physical therapy for my knee. At the same time, if I pushed swimming too hard, I would be in pysical therapy for that too! (shoulders)

The reason why I love running, is that it is very meditative...it is like active sleep in a way. Plus, all I have to do is lace up, and go out the door. It is so easy to go run.

Most people run to get in shape--this is a mistake, and will make a person miserable. But, if a person is already in shape, and then runs, the experience is much more enjoyable.

I cannot wait to run again...and am doing the underwater treadmill to get back.

At the same time, I am gratefull for this last year of running and cycling injuries. A bad bike crash (darn clips!), and the knee thing are what brought me back to swimming and to the usms org. My goals are to loose 20 pounds (which running will do for me, regardless of what beer I drink--even Guiness), and compete in sprint distance tri's next spring.

The bottom line is that running is awesome...it is so therapeutic (sp?), and the relaxation couln't be replicated any other way (unless I smoked grass or something...which I don't).

So--running vs. swimming? there is no need to set them up against each other in my opinion...they're both fantastic!

I will say that while running (and eating pizza ALL the time, and drinking beer the same amount of time, I was much slimmer in comparison to swimming...this could be due to other factors besides the activity itself...not sure. )

Have fun! Swim fast (or far!),
Jerrycat ;)

September 10th, 2003, 08:23 PM
Cross training (running) is good. Various leg muscles used for running can help out during push-offs at the pool. Swimmers are also usually built like Tarzan (Amazons for the ladies out there) from the waist up, and like chicken man from the waist down. So a little run now and again can do some good. Biking is a much more 'swimmer' friendly alternative (my opinion).

But has anyone heard about swimmers being more prone to twists and sprains because we have exceptionally loose ankles?

Have any of the runnners had difficulty making the switch over to swimming because they flutter kick with their ankles maxed out at nintey degrees? A few of you had mentioned some weakness in that department.

September 10th, 2003, 11:44 PM
I was a fitness (not competitive) runner for about 25 years. I mostly loved it. I kept in decent shape, ate anything I wanted, and enjoyed the runner's high. As I got older (late 30s) the injuries became chronic and debilitating, to the point that I have had to give up running altogether (walking is pretty limited too, alas).

I took up swimming last year because it is really the only thing I can do for exercise. This was not an easy thing for me to do, because I had never had any swimming lessons (except in junior high), and do not have a natural gift for it. The thing about tight runner's ankles was true for me -- for the first six months I couldn't do anything vaguely resembling a flutterkick.

Let's compare. Running doesn't require lessons, while swimming is particularly technical. Running is more convenient -- you just lace up and go. I enjoyed running on different routes, which compares favorably to doing lap after lap in the pool. The transcendant high I got from running has been adequately replaced by the pleasant total-body exhaustion I get from swimming. Maybe I'll get the old buzz again when my conditioning (as a swimmer) improves beyond some point.

My sense is that the health effects of swimming exceed those of running: there's just something fantastic about working the whole body aerobically. This shows up in my vital stats, for instance.

As for injuries, I can certainly affirm that running is high-impact and takes its toll on the joints. I think only a relatively small percentage of people have the joints to be able to run all their lives.

But I've had my taste of shoulder and elbow pain, too - a consequence of poor stroke technique and no upper-body conditioning when I started. I have been relying on this discussion board to help me through.

If Shaky thinks the sight of a grown man running is undignified, he should have seen me the first time I tried to swim a lap. The nice person in the next lane (an obvious pool veteran) watched my struggles and said "You're an ex-runner, aren't you?"

September 11th, 2003, 01:04 PM
Which is scarier - me agreeing with Shaky (again) or running?

Running was spawned by the devil as a way to kill humans. It is a vile sport. The earth is 2/3 water so that suggests we must swim more and run/walk/crawl less.

The one thing all runners have in common is injury. Most talk not about their events but about all their ailments. You step in a pothole and break an ankle. You run too much and your kneecaps sink to your big toe. You lose track of where you are and get run over in an intersection. You trip on a crack in the sidewalk and disfigure your face.

With swimming, the injuries are limited to water gulping and the vicious attack from paddles. (Of course, I write this as I have a heating pad on my back).

Matt S
September 11th, 2003, 02:21 PM
Actually, Aquageek, the scariest thing is me agreeing with you!

I do have a different theological perspective on your analysis of running. I chose to believe God has placed it on this earth to ensure we must all suffer for our salvation, sort of like adolescence.


September 11th, 2003, 02:23 PM
Calf cramps...

I was told (or read somewhere) a while ago that calf cramps can also be caused by ankle inflexibility. People with inflexible ankles, use their calf muscles to point their toes. After some duration, their calf muscles get tired and cramp up. The cramping calf phenomenon always puzzled me until I learned this. I would see swimmers that had great leg strength from running get in the pool and cramp up. It didn't make any sense. So now we get them to work on their ankle flexibility and that seems to help a lot. Basically, if you can point your toes without effort, then you have good ankle flexibility. If not, you may be prone to calf cramps.

For what ever its worth, I've never liked running. I have very flexible knees and ankles and running just hurts too much. I do dry land exercises, weights, power racks and surgical tubing assists to build strength....

September 11th, 2003, 02:35 PM
Well, it certainly seems like I must have inflexible ankles, since people have pointed out that both slow kicking and calf cramps can be caused by this. Are there any kind of stretches or something that we runners can do to work on this? Thanks.

September 11th, 2003, 02:52 PM
One interesting thing is that if I swim 4 times a week and run once then I am able to run somewhat close to what I could consider my best.

But if I run 4 time/week and swim once, my swimming falls apart.

Gareth Eckley
September 11th, 2003, 03:06 PM
There is a lot of info on stretching to improve ankle flexibility on the zoomers site: www.zoomers.net , look at his general articles on the kick and then at the instructions for the "rack".

You can simply stretch the feet under a sofa. Sit at 90 ' to the sofa with slightly bent legs, push feet under the base of the sofa, and straighten your legs until you feel a stretch in your front part of the ankles. Hold this as a static stretch for 60 to 90 seconds, then rest and repeat 2 or 3 times.

Do this regularly and you will notice a difference. Swimming with fins will also stretch this area. Good luck !

September 11th, 2003, 03:07 PM
and ice packs on your shoulders and elbows!

September 11th, 2003, 03:27 PM
One other way to stretch your ankles is to kneel and sit on your heels with your toes pointed back. (Some find this to be too uncomfortable on their knees, so be careful!!) People with poor ankle flexibility will find this difficult. People with good ankle flexibility will be able to rock back and some can even touch the floor with their backs. You can also have a friend press down on the ends of your feet (while sitting on the floor and legs extended). Eventually, you should be able to point your toes without effort. Remember, developing flexibility takes time...don't over do it at first!

September 11th, 2003, 03:33 PM
I highly recommend sports massage as a way to loosen up tight muscles and generally cure soft tissue ailments. This, of course, in addition to a regular (daily, or in conjunction with every workout) stretching routine. (Stretch after the workout, not before!)

I think the type of swim workout you do will have a great bearing on weight loss. If you swim low level aerobic continuous laps, you will probably not burn as many calories in an hour of swimming than if you were doing heart pounding intervals! I think interval training also elevates one's overall metabolism more so than continuous swimming.

I used to think swimming was kind of boring because I was a lap swimmer. I always loved moving through water with its magical feeling of dream-like flight, but my workouts were tedious! Since joining Masters, swimming is fascinating! No two workouts are ever the same!

September 11th, 2003, 04:01 PM
I was once told that quinine helps alleviate charley horses- perhaps drinking some tonic water during the day will help with swimming related calf cramps... worse comes to worst, you'd at least be keeping hydrated...

September 11th, 2003, 05:04 PM
Originally posted by exrunner
If Shaky thinks the sight of a grown man running is undignified, he should have seen me the first time I tried to swim a lap.

The difference is that with a little practice, most people can achieve some measure of grace in the water. Running is always undignified. No matter how smooth you are on your feet, something will always jiggle and bounce.

And let's not even talk about bleeding nipples.

Humans' bodies were made for walking long distances or running short distances to get away from something like a lion or wife. We weren't made to run long distances. If we were, we would be more streamlined, like other animals who run, so that the force of the movement of our bodies wouldn't be so heavily concentrated on our joints. When one is fleeing something horrible, dignity doesn't matter; but why be undignified when it's not necessary?

While we weren't necessarily adapted for swimming, either, the luck of evolution left us fairly streamlined in the water so that we can at least move through the water without other animals laughing at us. Except maybe sharks. But I think they're laughing because they can eat us, not because we look silly.

September 12th, 2003, 05:15 PM
I hate Running.

Courteous Swimmer
September 12th, 2003, 10:19 PM
I'm not a big fan of running. But it's a good workout. Just throw on a pair of running shoes, and you're set.

My current goal is to do cardio three times a week, while maintaing upper body shape and size. So here's what I'm doing:

Workout 1---- Cardio 25--30 mins This is usually jogging

Workout 2---- Swim 2,000 yards

Workout 3---- Cardio 20 mins Weights 45 mins

Nancy Graham
September 13th, 2003, 09:56 AM
Since there seem to be some runners out there (except for Connie:p ), and (as Kim knows) runnning is my weakest link in triathloning, I wonder if anyone knows of a forum similar to this wonderful one for running? I need all the help I can get with putting one foot in front of the other.

Thanks, Nancy

September 13th, 2003, 01:25 PM
try Trinewbies.com


Good luck!

September 13th, 2003, 03:59 PM
Also Nancy runnersworld.com (http://www.runnersworld.com) is a great source of info and has great forums too.

September 13th, 2003, 05:47 PM
Oh, I run...
I just grumble gripe hiss spit and complain while I'm doing it.
(I have relatively big leg muscles and weak cardio)

I don't hate it as much when my cardio is in a much better shape.
Actually, I much prefer rollerblading, even when it kills my cardio.

My 'lifetime' achievement with running is to run three 10-minute miles.
This is about 7 years ago when I was in the best shape of my life, and used to speedskate (rollerblade speedskating) 30-40 miles a day.

Right now, 10 minutes of running on a threadmill, and I'm gasping for air. But... *sigh* I keep doing it... how else is my cardio gonna get better.

I think I'd much rather sprint 50x50 freestyle (lactic acid in shoulders permitting), but shoulders need a break.

then again...
I HATE running :eek: :rolleyes: :p