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Couch to 5K
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Swimming for running


My first foray into sport as an adult was regularish swimming for about 4 months back in 2016 - I even joined the local leisure centre! Since then I have been only a handful of times and this year the focus has been on starting c25k.

I would like to make use of my membership - the card sits there looking at me guilting me into going out - and I know it is good all round exercise. I can do all the strokes just about - but not at great speed - and it does tend to wear me out.

Any hints on the best strokes or swimming regime? Should I be like c25k doing really fast lengths with gentle intervals or pauses? Crawl tends to wear me out and I can't do it slowly (mind you I thought that about running three weeks ago!)...

any advice gratefully received!

4 Replies


Looks like you are making a great start to the programme: good luck with it.

Swimming has been my main activity for last twenty years or so, mainly mid-pace, longer distances around 3 or 4km...what you might call steady. I was never a runner and only took up the C25K challenge following major shoulder injuries that are still keeping me out of the pool. But, I am loving it and now training steadily toward running 10 k.

I don't normally give advice-or take it haha- but I noticed a couple of things you said that prompted a reply, if you'll forgive me.

I believe that swimming is a fantastic exercise, bringing joy and satisfaction. But, more than many other, if not most, of the major aerobic sports it is about three things:





Getting worn out, struggling for speed, 'just about being able to do major strokes' suggest that you might gain hugely from improving technique, either by lessons or self-learning. Most pools run 'improver' sessions which is where you really refine your strokes : my own runs special sessions for triathletes -but open to all-for this purpose. It is so easy to get into bad form, which gets ingrained over thousands of strokes, reducing your efficiency, reducing enjoyment and more often than not leading to injury. Far better to learn a decent stroke from the beginning...it will serve you well for life. If I were to offer one single tip I would say strive to be as smooth as you can in the water: more splash =less dash. My biggest training focus is on reducing the number of strokes per length.

I can swim all the strokes but concentrate on crawl and some backstroke to spread and balance the training load across the joints. I would recommend crawl as it is the one where most people can improve quickly.

Once you learn the basics of a good stroke then, yes, I do fast intervals, long and slow sessions, sets of stroke improvement drills, medleys, underwater swimming....all sorts. I never get bored.

There is tons of tuition online too...message me if you'd like any recommendations.

Anyway, I hope that makes sense; good luck.

1 like

Brilliant advice thank you! Certainly last time I did a spell I concentrated on breaststroke and you are right the improvement from technique is remarkable. I'll PM you for your top online tuition sites when I get back from w2r1!



For the last 8 weeks I've also been swimming I love it as I don't feel heavy in the water lol I'm currently on week 7 of c25k and since the start I do 30 Min gym session and swim on my rest days from running to try and get circulation in my Aching legs I do 30x25 m lengths a day 3 days a week takes about 20-25min and I have built up to sets of 4 length freestyle then 2 lengths breast stroke I tend to switch to breast stroke just to get my breathing under control I'm hoping over time I can increase the lengths of free style none stop and increase the number of total lengths also xxx


Thanks for the inspirational message! 30 lengths sounds quite knackering, we have the distraction of a steam room and sauna at my local leisure centre (never had that as a kid!) and when I was doing my semiregular swim I was popping in there quite often. I will have to be more disciplined and not work quite to hard but take it moderately hard interspersed with easy per c25k. I am sure I can build up to it particularly if I work on my technique. I got a waterproof mp3 player so I could even listen to laura if I wanted to :)


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