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A1 band - warm-up, recovery, cool-down sets
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A2 band - aerobic capacity sets
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A3 band - aerobic power, VO2max sets

Data Source: Zamparo P, Bonifazi M (2013). Bioenergetics of cycling sports activities in water.

Coded for Swimming Science by Cameron Yick

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Swimming and Cycling Overload training Effects on Running Economy

Take Home Point:
  1. Overloading swimming and cycling training does not alter running kinematics at 65% VO2max.
The International Journal of Sports Medicine designed a study to investigate the effects of 3 weeks of overload training in swimming and biking with trained triathletes on running economy and kinematics. The study used four analysis days before the intervention was added and the study team looked at VO2 max on two of the days (to determine running economy) and running kinematics at 65% VO2 max (studying various joint angles during different aspects of the gait cycle). 

Following this analysis the study team split the participants into two groups, control and overload training group. The control group maintained their current training protocol for three weeks which included: 24.3 km swimming (26,500 yards)/week, 528 km biking (328 miles)/week, and 109 km running (67 miles)/week. The overload training group increased their swimming load by 46% (34,488 yards/week) and biking by load by 57% (551 miles/week). To ensure the overload training group achieved over training syndrome, symptoms and surveys were assessed each week. This survey is the best means of measuring over training syndrome because over training's most detrimental effects are psychological.

Following three weeks of over load training, the subjects retested VO2max (running economy) and running kinematics. Surprisingly, the subjects had little change in either of these categories. This result had the researchers questioning their study design: "Several hypotheses may explain these results: a low magnitude of a break of the habitual training structure and training load, a shorter duration of over training period, a high level of training adaptations in initial conditions...." 

Personally, I feel the study needed to assess running kinematics at a higher intensity ~75% VO2 max or higher to see variations in running or increase the duration of the overload training to 6 weeks where physiological adaptations of muscles began to occur. However, there is a chance overload training also obeys the principle of specificity.

As a swimmer or triathlete, we have all gone through overload training, do you think it changes your running mechanics? Does overload training in swimming effect your running efficiency? 

References:

  1. Palazzetti S, Margaritis I, Guezennec CY.Swimming and cycling overloaded training in triathlon has no effect on running kinematics and economy. Int J Sports Med. 2005 Apr;26(3):193-9. 
By G. John Mullen founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, Swimming World Magazine Columnist, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

Effects of Swim Recovery on Running Performance

Take Home Points:
  1. Swimming appears more beneficial for recovery after running compared to running.
The International Journal of Sports Medicine investigated the effect of implementing an active aquatic recovery session 10 hrs after a high intensity interval running session. The researchers had trained triathletes run 8 intervals of 3 minutes at 90% VO2max with 1 minute rest in between intervals. After this session, the researchers split the the subjects into a passive recovery group and a swimming recovery group and were asked to return in ten hours. After ten hours the subjects returned and the passive recovery group was asked to watch television for a hour while the swimming recovery group was asked to swim 4 rounds of 5x100 @85-90% of a 1500 meter time trial completed before the study. The next day, the subjects were asked to run another time trial to fatigue. This study's results suggest that a swimming recovery lowered concentrations of c-reactive protein (protein associated with acute-inflammation) and allowed the triathletes to run for longer duration (102 seconds on average). To conclude, this study hypothesized that the hydrostatic pressure in the water reduced the level of c-reactive proteins allowing the subjects to perform better in the subsequent time trial the next day.  However, the difference could merely be due to performing a "flush-out" or recovery swim.



Studies before this have seen similar results in recovery with non-weight bearing exercises (swimming or cycling), but the recovery period must be 10-24 hours following the subsequent exercise burst. The most impressive finding in this study were the c-reactive protein concentrations. This reduction may be why running performance was better with the swimming recovery group. If swimming at a moderate speed is regularly done following a workout and an athlete obtains these lower c-reactive protein concentrations, then their upcoming workouts will be stronger allowing them to push the envelope even further!

What are the triathletes beliefs on this active recovery? Has anyone performed some trial and error on themselves?

Reference:

1.) Lum D, Landers G, Peeling P.Effects of a Recovery Swim on Subsequent Running Performance.Int J Sports Med. 2009 Nov 11.

By G. John Mullen founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, Swimming World Magazine Columnist, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.