Running for Swimmers

Woman running on beach,  Lake Tahoe,  California,  USA

Running and swimming are both total body workouts that use aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. You can improve your performance in the water by cross training with dry land workouts. Adding running to your workout routine can also help prevent overuse injuries you could get from only swimming for your workouts.


The American Council on Exercise explains that interval training requires short bursts of intensity followed by a recovery period. You can interval train in a pool and when running on land. Many swimming races are sprints, and training with running can help you build your anaerobic threshold. Running intervals is similar to pool training because you work hard for a short period. For example, in the pool, you might sprint for 25 meters and recover for 50 meters. While running, you might sprint for 30 seconds followed by a one-minute recovery. Interval train for 30 minutes to improve your swimming sprints.


Both runners and swimmers are endurance athletes, so cross training with running as a swimmer provides many benefits. Distance running can help swimmers build cardiovascular fitness. Running at a moderate pace helps to build a base for endurance. Choose to run for 30 minutes at a moderate pace, and slowly increase your mileage as you build more stamina on land.

Hill Training

Hill training helps to build the muscles in your lower body, allowing them to be more powerful and gain more strength. Running uphill places more resistance on your quadriceps and hamstrings. Both these muscles allow you to have a powerful kick when you are in the water. Find a hill in your neighborhood, or run on an incline on a treadmill. Maximize your speed on the way up, and recover by reducing your speed on the way down. Train on hills one day a week for 30 minutes.


Running and swimming both place a great demand on your body. It is important to incorporate stretching into your fitness routines. Flexibility training prevents injuries and can enhance your performance by increasing your range of motion. Perform dynamic stretches before your runs with leg swings, high knee kicks and lateral lunges. Perform static stretches after your run with a standing quadricep stretch, forward fold and a runner's lunge to open up the lower body.