I am playing soccer on amateur level and want to change my off-season program for basic endurance from just running to a mix of running and swimming. I did a bit of research about swimming, but did not find a sufficient answer to my question, whether swimming (according to an exercise plan of course) can contribute significantly to my basic endurance on land.

Can I cut back my running and make up for it with swimming?


4 Answers 4


Have you ever trained for a triathlon? I find that triathlon training programs incorporate even levels of training in three different disciplines -- running, biking, and swimming. At various times in my life, I've had to cut back on running due to overuse injuries and during those times I tried to focus more on swimming, sometimes even doubling the workout (not something I would recommend for everyone). For good beginning triathlon training programs, this site has more than one to choose from: http://www.trinewbies.com/tno_trainingprograms.asp. The programs are free. So, if you're looking to cut back on running, both biking and swimming may be good swaps.

From personal experience, I know that swimming doesn't always feel as challenging of a workout as running, but to get around that I recommend a few things:

1) A music device designed for water (my favorite is the Swim iPod: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1002620-REG/waterfi_sw3_ssi_waterproof_ipod_shuffle_swim.html). Nothing like stroking to the beat of your favorite tune to pick up your speed and take out the monotony.

2) Swim training aids ... from paddles to fins, they can take the monotony out of swimming and make your swim more challenging. I've always had good experiences buying from Swim Outlet (http://www.swimoutlet.com/resistance-training-c10805/).

3) I don't know if you check your heart rate when you run (to make sure you're working at your target rate), but if you're looking to improve your cardiovascular fitness while swimming, you should probably do the same. Keep in mind that your heart beats slower in the water and you should adjust your target heart rate accordingly. This article has more on the topic if it interests you: http://www.livestrong.com/article/166752-heart-rate-during-swimming/.

As always never stop improving and never stop having fun, but exercise at your own risk whatever form it may take.

  • Thank you very much. Especially the triathlon page looks great. I never considered taining like that, but I will definitely give it a try now.
    – pat3d3r
    Nov 6, 2015 at 9:29
  • Good for you. I wish you the best.
    – Lisa Beck
    Nov 8, 2015 at 21:14

Yes. Swimming is one way to maintain or improve your "land endurance" (as you put it). Don't start doing too much - start at a comfortable volume of exercise. As you grow accustomed to the new activity, increase as necessary.

If you're trying to avoid or recover from injury, swimming is one good option (elliptical and bike are also good options). However, if you're trying to improve your fitness, running is the best way for you to get fit for soccer. Not only will you be doing something closer to what soccer is, but you'll also be building up a general resistance to injury. The movements involved in running and swimming are very different, and soccer is a lot closer to running.


Absolutely Can,

both running and swimming is cardio. Running for a long time is for build endurance, swimming is to. So you can choose Swim for alternate your Cardio

  • 1
    While your answer is appreciated, can you try to improve it by including more detail and fixing the grammatical mistakes?
    – Alex L
    Nov 5, 2015 at 6:48

If you are serious, do contact your local swim club to join their masters (adult swimming) group where you'll learn all the strokes and how to design a proper swimming workout. It is practically impossible to get the full benefits of swimming if you only go about it alone, with no-one to train with and no-one to show you the ropes.

Having said that: even if you do go at it on your own – only reading advice from triathlon websites – you will get some benefit from swimming, enough to motivate the time spent on it. You could always replace one running session per week with two swimming sessions and get better for it.

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