I was looking up some stuff about relative swimming v. running equivalents. Basically, however much distance you swim in a given time is multiplied by four to give a running/walking time.

I don’t entirely believe it. You see, while my swimming rate isn’t particularly impressive, I do swim about 1000 yards in half an hour. That’s okay for a fitness swimmer who doesn’t give a rip about competition and is just two weeks back in the water after a three year hiatus. Okay, fine.

That would translate into me walking 2.28 miles in half an hour. My best pace, when walking regularly, would be more like 1.53 miles in that amount of time. No, I’m neither fast nor in great shape.

Now, I do have pain issues when I walk that I just don’t have when I swim. Now, I don’t get out of breath when walking, but my hip starts feeling like sandpaper, or my feet cramp up or any of a number of things. Walking just hurts. That stuff doesn’t go away even after months of working out, and no matter what shape I am in. I also walk on a mildly hilly terrain, and I swim in a pool, not open water. That might be enough to account for the difference, but I doubt it. We’re talking a difference of .75 miles in half an hour. That’s a pretty big pace difference from where I am looking.

So, am I really working out that much harder in the water? It doesn’t really feel like it, though I do wind up getting an endorphin high from swimming that I just don’t from anything dryland At least, nothing that’s going to be requiring a specific pace for 30 minutes. 😉

I am trying to account for the difference and the only things I can figure are:

1. Your swimming heart rate is lower, so perceived exertion might be lower. It’s possible I simply DO work harder in the water because it’s just not uncomfortable.

2. I have a very high body fat percentage. That means I float extremely well. I exert NO effort at all to float. All exertion is propulsion, only. I’m not working harder. The workout is actually easier.

3. At a certain point, all swimming success is down to technique, and mine is just there.

4. The 4x dryland distance for equivalent pace is hooey. Forget about it and just work out every day because that’s the part that matters and not the minutiae.

I should probably take four and run (or swim) with it. I like swimming, it feels good and it makes me happy to do it, so who cares about the numbers, because hey, I work out for an hour, get red in the face and get my heart rate up for a half hour every day, so who cares about anything else.

Which does circle around to the fact I find applying high end athletic training techniques to everyday fitness is generally a load of hooey. If you’re competing in races, you’ve gone from everyday fitness to athlete, even if you’re the slowest of amateurs. That’s different from someone whose hobby is not being an athlete, but still lives in a body and needs to keep fit.

fitness

One thought on “Swimming v. Running

  1. I love swimmimg, but my walking pace is definitely more sustainable.
    But even as a ‘fast’ walker my swim pace is still faster.
    Working out regularly never gets my daily swim much over 600 -800 yards but I can walk for several hours without trouble.
    That said – with no change in my diet I run a couple inches slimmer/tighter and a pound or so lower when swimmimg daily vs the walking.
    FWIW.

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