My (Somewhat Cheeky) Top 5 Reasons That Swimming is More Difficult Than Running

Let me just start by clarifying that I’m comparing open water swimming to running outside. (Swimming in a pool and running on a treadmill are totally different beasts.) This all came up after our Georgia Strait swim when I would tell people that we swam roughly 35km, with my part equalling roughly 6km. Sometimes people would say “Six kilometers, that’s nothing, I can run that in 30 minutes!” So to them I say “Swimming is totally harder than running!!” (While pouting and stamping my foot.)

And here’s why:

5. It’s my guess that not a lot of people die from not knowing how to run, whereas with swimming I give you the word “drowning.”

4. Let’s say you’re out for a long run and you get tired and want to stop. You walk. Same situation in swimming? Good luck walking back across the lake.

3. Similarly, let’s say you’re out for a long run and need to have a drink, you can probably keep running and take that drink at the same time. The only way you can do that swimming is if you drink the water you’re in, which, let’s face it, can be pretty gross (and if salt water, dangerous).

My teammate Paul takes a drink while treading water! Photo by Angelique Duffield at

2. When you’re running you might have to dodge other people, dogs, cars, and potholes. But you’re probably pretty visible to all of them, standing upright and all. Swimming we are pretty much visible only by our brightly colored swim caps. So when we’re dodging boats, paddle-boarders, and kite-surfers in the lake, and ships in the ocean, we’re just a wee dot of color in the water. Oh, and we also have to dodge the jelly-fish, and other marine life in the ocean, and the garbage and logs (that sometimes scarily appear like bodies) in our lake.

1. Runners can breathe whenever they want! Swimming we breathe every 3rd stroke, which means we’re holding our breath 2/3rds of the time!

I rest my case!

Want to know what else makes swimming difficult? Visit my blog or my team mate Paul’s blog, we’ll be happy to tell you all about it.

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