So I've finally come to the realization that I can't continue to ignore the idea of cross training and must incorporate it in my workout schedule. All the training and Half Marathons I'm doing is really pounding my joints and putting a lot of stress on my body. I'm beginning to feel it. My left knee has felt a bit tender lately and my mild Plantar's (still mild thank goodness) seems to be here to stay for the time being. I think it's a good time to start mixing it up a bit. I've talked to some fellow runners, done some reading, and it seems swimming is the best routine for me.
For starters, I've always enjoyed swimming. It's fun. I'm not a fancy swimmer by any means but enjoy the activity a lot. The basic freestyle and breast stroke seem to be my most comfortable strokes. I say that because they are the only two I know how to do. So I'm going to keep it simple and work them into the schedule.
I actually already "tested the waters" when I went with my brother-in-law AJ to the pool at Washington Lee High School in Arlington this past Sunday. He's been going to the pool lately to work on his breathing so I decided to tag along. We went for two hours. I spent my time doing laps and working on my breathing. I felt good.
After about an hour in the smaller pool I decided to go over to the lanes and split one with a very nice lady. This is where it gets funny. I started doing my freestyle - again taking it slow - and did three laps of the pool. It was at that time I took a five minute breather before I continued. I was pretty damn tired. My neighbor - who must have been in her 50s - kept going. I noticed she alternated between freestyle and backstroke. She made it look so easy.
Eventually I started up again with my breast stroke. Did two laps. Another breather. I noticed that my breathing is something I'm going to have to work to improve, but I was really enjoying myself. Then my buddy begins to approach the wall and pushes off for yet another lap. She hadn't stopped once. I did two more laps and was ready to get out and call it a day. It was a good workout. I grabbed my towel and told AJ I was heading to the locker room. As I walked I looked back in the pool and saw my friend continue her laps. Impressive.
I'd like to alternate my running and swimming and try to hit the pool three times a week. There is a pool not far from my apartment in Cleveland Park that I will be visiting tomorrow after work. On the weekend, when I visit my sister, I'll most likely be going to Washington Lee with AJ.
I'm looking forward to seeing how this impacts/improves my breathing during training runs. I do think it will simply make me a better runner.