By: Magi Scallion
I occasionally flirt with swimming and now is one of those times. I am attracted to the sport because it is easy on the body, a great workout, and a gateway, for me, into the world of Triathlon or XTERRA. The downside of swimming, for me, is that I just hate going to the pool.
Running is so easy to do – you get to be in the great outdoors with the birds singing, the sun shining and the scenery zipping. Those things I love about running simply do not exist when you’re swimming – face in the water, earplugs keeping the water out of your ears and only the pace clock for scenery.
Enough on the negative aspects of swimming. As a runner, I realize that I have lots of tight muscles. I also tend to think of my legs as being the strongest part of my body (and my arms the weakest). That said, when we’re doing drills in the pool I am extremely slow at kicking (legs only) and quite fast at pulling (arms only). Why is this?
Apparently one of the weaknesses of runners is our lack of ankle flexibility. Have supple ankles is really key to being a good kicker in swimming. The ankle joint needs to be supple so that it acts like a flipper at the end of your leg. I did some research and found that you can help increase your ankle flexibility and suppleness in a few ways (sorry, but they all take time):
- having your ankles adjusted by a chiropractor (my favourite because it’s fast)
- doing ankle circles (just like you do in soccer) on a regular (twice-daily) basis
- sitting with your ankles extended (toes pointed behind you) while at your desk or in a chair. This will provide a stretch down the front of your ankle.
Obviously you could also stop running… but we’re not that desperate to be good swimmers!
Keep running! … but also keep cross-training to help identify weaknesses you may not know you had and improve upon them. Here’s to a whole healthy body!
Born in Nova Scotia and emigrating to British Columbia via Ontario and Alberta, Magi has been running the entire way. Primarily defined as a cross country ski racer, Magi has competed nationally and internationally in that sport. The highlight of her career was competing in the World University Games and the World Cup races in Canada in 2007. Cross country skiers rely heavily on running for cross training and Magi has become an accomplished trail and mountain runner, representing Canada at the World Mountain Running Championships in 2005 and the winning numerous national championships medals.
Today Magi runs for fun… and it’s a lot of fun! Epic mountain runs, city cruises with friends, and more keep her happy and occupied outside of work and school.