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Old 12-15-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Why Should Runners Swim

I've just begun writing a relatively brief (10,000 words) ebook to persuade runners that swimming is an ideal complement to their favored activity. Here's a brief excerpt from the Intro that outlines the case I'll make for why runners should swim (TI naturally).

I’ll explain why swimming is unrivaled in its potential to not only reduce impact and exposure to injury but also repair and restore running muscles so they perform better when you do run. The forms of practice I’ll advocate will provide more complete restoration than any alternate form of non-weight-bearing exercise. And should you decide to do a triathlon, you’ll have mastered skills that can do more than any kind of fitness to maximize your enjoyment and success in that sport. By swimming twice a week, you'll not only be able to run for more years, but even run stronger, faster, better and enjoy it more.

Before persuading runners to take up swimming, I must first persuade them that a (relatively short and pithy) book about swimming is well worth their time and interest. Here I'm asking runners-turned-swimmers to please share with me:

1) What were your primary misgivings about swimming before you found TI (i.e. I'm skinny; that means I'll sink.) and what helped you overcome them?

2) What were your two or three most important reasons or motivations to take up swimming - and perhaps outweighed your misgivings?

3) Since you began swimming what reward or benefit have you experienced that you didn't anticipate or expect?

Warm regards,
Terry
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 12-15-2011 at 03:20 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Terry, I am not a "runner-turned-swimmer", but I've coached many who are. The most common problem I see is stiff ankles and a "runners kick". I would make sure that's addressed.
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Old 12-16-2011
grandall grandall is offline
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1) What were your primary misgivings about swimming before you found TI (i.e. I'm skinny; that means I'll sink.) and what helped you overcome them?

Running seemed natural, plus being fearful of the water and with literally no swimming skills.
I enrolled in a water safety course which taught basic floating skills and how to relax in the water. Water became my friend!

2) What were your two or three most important reasons or motivations to take up swimming - and perhaps outweighed your misgivings?

Although running was keeping my cardiovaslar sytem fit it was also stressing my muscle/skeletal system. I knew swimming would provide a therapuetic outcome and I could exercise more mucle groups without the strees involved as with running. I knew as I aged that I would be doing more swimming and less running and so I needed to incorporate some cross training into my routine. Another thing that motivated me was the philosophy of TI that "less is more". I wanted to be able to swim long distance with ease and grace without getting tired.

3) Since you began swimming what reward or benefit have you experienced that you didn't anticipate or expect?

I didn't expect swimming could be done without pulling/kicking(mucle/brawn)By being a mindful swimmer(TI) and enjoying the process it's made me realize that hopefully I will be able to swim well into my 90's. I never expected that swimming (TI) would have such a positive impact on me as a man and in my life!. Which is my ultimate goal is to swim well in the water and in life!
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Old 12-16-2011
Janos Janos is offline
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Terry, perhaps there could be less focus on swimming as a form of rehab for runners. Chronically injured runners are usually guilty of bad technique. Heel planting etc. They are probably unlikely to change their stride if they are adults, so are perhaps unlikely to appreciate the subtlety of the TI stroke in swimming?. That is such a sweeping statement...I know! :-) but my point is that you could direct TI at the improvement minded athlete, no matter what their age.
Have you read 'explosive running' by Michael Yessis. It is, alongside your book of course, my other training bible. He explodes the myths of training and stretching normally advocated by coaches and physios etc, and his thoughts on running technique chime with yours on swimming. I am not sure if there is a similar ground breaking book on cycling, but perhaps you could have guest contributors to your book, for a 'holy trinity' of perfect advice for the triathlete? :-)
To go back to your original questions, I always knew the answer to fast and strong swimming was structured tuition, but could not find it, until I happened upon your book. Until then I thought good swimmers were part of a clique that I could not access.
After reading your book, and researching Popov etc, I knew that I wanted to swim like that. Your book opened the door for me. Since then I have been on a fabulous journey of discovery. The practical benefits were many...swimming in the sea and lakes, doing triathlons..swimming in the deep river that I fished as a child, where the dark flowing water used to terrify me. The most enduring reward from TI though is the constant quest for improvement. I can never be the finished article, so the joy of discovery is never ending.

Janos
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Old 12-16-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janos View Post
until I happened upon your book . . . I thought good swimmers were part of a clique that I could not access.
I think that's a common misgiving among runners right there.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #6  
Old 12-17-2011
rbs24h rbs24h is offline
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1. My misgivings were I would look at Triathlon "Sprint" Training programs with 200 yd "easy warmup" and think that I will NEVER be able to do that WARMUP. That hopeless feeling was overcome, mentally in a couple of days and physically, within a couple of weeks of starting TI when I felt I was swimming slowly, BUT EFFORTLESSLY. My speed was irrelevant, because I finally for the first time believed I would be able to make the distance. Whatever it may be.

2. I originally had one motivation to take up swimming. I needed to be able to find a "walking equivalent" in swimming. My motivations now vary daily to get to the pool but the most common is that I now love it.

3. What I did not expect was that swimming not only would become my favorite discipline in Triathlon, but also my fastest. I started TI in the summer and I have since been in top 1/3 of Olympic Distance Tri (1500m ocean swim). I am MOP in the run and BOP on the bike. And not to sound over dramatic, but the fact is, I had no idea what a spiritual experience swimming could be. I'm 48 years old. To find a new passion at 48 is truly a gift. In my mid-life crisis, I have become very aware of maintaining my Mind, Body, Spirit Triangle balance. TI Swimming tests and rewards all three.
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Old 12-17-2011
cynthiam cynthiam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbs24h View Post
I'm 48 years old. To find a new passion at 48 is truly a gift. In my mid-life crisis, I have become very aware of maintaining my Mind, Body, Spirit Triangle balance. TI Swimming tests and rewards all three.
Not intending to hijack this thread, but I couldn't have said it better. Swimming found me at age 47 (on the advice of a massage therapist treating my problematic left hip), and I am so grateful that it has become a passion.

TI practice has also taught me patience and perseverance. Right now I'm out of the pool for some physical therapy for my shoulder. I am diligently doing my exercises and going to appointments because I do not want to give up my new passion. I managed to walk by the pool tonight on my way to the gym, even though there were *two* empty lanes!
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Old 12-17-2011
krollag krollag is offline
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My first post ever after lurking and learning for a year.

1. Misgivings - wanting to do triathlons, loving the water but hating the panicky, hyperventilated, dead-after-a-lap feeling and worried that I didn't have the body type or skill necessary to swim triathlon distances. My first attempt a few years ago (even with some personal coaching and masters swim practices) ended after six months when I concluded I just wasn't enjoying it.

2. Motivations - besides still wanting to do triathlons, and valuing the upper-body and aerobic benefits of cross training with swimming, I simply wanted the challenge of getting better at something I was really bad at, and feeling like I had "unfinished business" in the pool.

3. Benefits - like many on this list, I went from panickyville and dying-after-a-lap to swimming a mile plus with ease, and looking forward to my pool workouts. Besides the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge, and making long-distance triathlons a reality, there were a number of benefits associated with running:

* The mindful TI swim approach and the benefits it created spurred me into becoming mindful about my running, and wanting to improve that too. That lead to reading Chi Running, the POSE method, and Evolution Running (DVD), lots of drills and focal points while I ran, and pretty quickly a 10% improvement in my pace and greater confidence that I am avoiding injury while running (the major source of training delays).

* The importance of relaxation and flexibility translates to running in a huge way. I realize now that much of my ankle inflexibility was caused by poor running form, and as swimming improved my ankle flexibility (and mindfulness of my ankle flexibility), coupled with a new running approach, I've focused on relaxing my ankle (and quads and hamstrings) with a significant improvement

* The importance of the core for running - again, like TI, more mindful running approaches like Chi and POSE also emphasize the importance of using the core for primary propulsion rather than the feet, quads, etc.

* Swimming helped me understand that improvement is often more about learning to work with the water, and not fight it. Similarly, in running I'm learning how to work with the road and gravity, avoiding over-striding, heel planting and things that actually slow me down.

As Harvard researcher Ellen Langer has suggested, it often takes novelty to "jolt" oneself into being mindful - even if you don't want to do triathlons, learning to swim (and the challenges it presents) will make you a more mindful, effective runner. She quotes research that shows that musicians who learn a second instrument often perform better on their primary instrument, because of mindfulness.

Thanks again for the TI approach and this forum...

Keith
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  #9  
Old 12-17-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krollag View Post
As Harvard researcher Ellen Langer has suggested, it often takes novelty to "jolt" oneself into being mindful . . . She quotes research that shows that musicians who learn a second instrument often perform better on their primary instrument, because of mindfulness.
Keith, I'm so gratified that this topic lured you from cover. If I could find topics every day that moved others to share their experience, insights and - dare I say it, wisdom - I would do so.

You gave some really powerful and persuasive benefits for complementing a 'running habit' with a 'swimming practice' but I'd like to focus on just this bit. There's also strong evidence from neurobiology for a slightly different kind of jolt to a long-standing behavior or habit. Learning specialists say that middle-aged brain benefits greatly from anything that causes you to wrestle with conundrums or contradiction, or resolve conflict.
The brain - like much else - generally prefers the comfort of stasis. But it performs at its highest capacity when pushed to adapt.

We tend to fall into 'autopilot' thinking and mental shortcuts so long as we stick with long-familiar patterns -- of both movement/action and thought.

When preconceived or fixed ideas about things get challenged, and we are forced to reorganize our thinking, that's when new neurons and circuits are formed. Mindfulness has also been shown to grow neurons -- and Mindful Movement is the most powerful 'fertilizer' for new growth.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #10  
Old 12-17-2011
LennartLarsson LennartLarsson is offline
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Terry, you know my story. But for others it might be interesting. At the age of 54 and after a total running distance in my life of about 130 000 KM (some 80 000 miles), my body could not take it any longer. I had run 25 marathons, 5 times sub 2.35, and an enormous amount of other races. I had to stop! I bought myself a mountain bike, but it was not funny. I hated swimming. It was totally boring to swim up and down in a pool. But at the age of 56, a friend of mine took me to a lake and we swam together. I could not believe it, but it was nice. I enjoyed it so much that I started to learn freestyle. I realized that my technique was not so good, but I looked at other swimmers and learned more and more. A year later I came across TI on the Internet and I bought the CD. I am good at copying what I see other people do, so I learned fast. I came in contact with Terry and a new friendship was established.

In 2009 I came in on 9th place in the Maters World Championships 3 K OW in Gothenburg in the age group 60-64. I had really made it! OW swimming is the solution to any injury problem that comes from running. And long distance swimming gives you the same kind of meditative experience as when you run 25 K and longer. I swam 21 K once this summer. I was in the water for eight hours in hard winds and turbulent water - and I enjoyed every minute of it. Well, maybe I was a little bit bored at some stages, but over all it was terrific. So why should runners swim? Because it is the best sport for relaxing your muscles and it gives you an overall experience that is as good as a long distance running session. But be warned: OW swimming is addictive!

Last edited by terry : 12-17-2011 at 10:19 PM.
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