It’s no secret that I have very recently struggled through a crash course in marathon training (and of course the marathon itself – see my race recap here), during the training I spent a fair bit of time lamenting over how slow and unfit I felt, much slower than I used to be. Is it a coincidence that I was faster on my feet when I was swimming 3 x per week? Speedo don’t think so and actually neither do I, now I come to think about it. I was running about 60% less than I am now and yet there has been a marked decrease in speed and general run fitness. I wish I had made the correlation sooner but after being invited along to learn about Speedo’s newest campaign Make 1K Wet, you can bet that I’m back in the pool now racking up the km’s whilst I toy with the idea of entering another marathon. The premise being that you can swap out 5km running or 10km on the bike, for just 1km in the pool and still boost your fitness, making you a better athlete.
To kick the session off, Speedo coach and top triathlete / duathlete, Annie Emmerson (she retired in 2006 ranked world #1 in duathlon!) took us through one of her carefully crafted sessions aimed at turning us into better, faster runners. It felt so good to be back in the pool and I loved that the session was quite varied with different drills as opposed to just splashing endlessly up and down, up and down…
After the swim we were introduced to Speedo’s newest ambassador, actress Nathalie Emmanuel. Her and Annie spent some time discussing her journey to becoming a swimmer and the progress that she had made both in and out of the pool. After being a panicky non-swimmer myself, not so many years ago, I found myself relating hard to a lot of what she said. I will never forget the fear of being asked to dive off the block, on a shoot for Speedo coincidentally. All despite me checking and double checking with my agent ‘They know that I can’t dive, right?!’
In that moment I had to do some serious woman-ing up and I definitely flopped (quite literally), more than once. Anyway, I digress…
Nathalie is a keen runner, it being one of the few forms of fitness that is easy to keep up no matter where you are in the world or what schedule you have to keep. It was really interesting and inspiring to hear how much progress she had made with her swimming and also how much of a difference it had made to her running.
Whether you’re new to running or are a seasoned pro who’s looking to take time off your PB, I would highly recommend you try out this programme. It’s spread out over two months and you can download the sessions (here), print them off and take them to the pool with you, choosing from beginner, intermediate or advanced. The sessions themselves are fairly flexible in terms of stroke choice and aren’t super long (maximum 1k – of course) so are totally achievable, whatever your current swim fitness or experience. Also I’m sure it goes without saying but swimming is fantastic recovery after you have been pounding the pavement. It gets your cardiovascular system working without putting extra stress on joints – something that all runners have to be mindful of. Basically if you want to be a happy, injury free runner then swimming is a great idea.
Along with sharing this programme Speedo have challenged us all to see if we can swim 1km faster than we can run 5km. Thankfully my current 5km pace is rather slow so I came in well under time. Let’s see what happens in a month or so after working on both disciplines.
Are you up for the challenge? Let me (and Speedo) know if so by tagging your efforts with #Make1KWet
This post was written in collaboration with Speedo but all thoughts and opinions are very much my own.