Water running, aka Aqua jogging. Why do it? Can you really get a in a good run workout? Can you do it without looking like a total geek? Since I know I can’t be the only one out there dealing with an injury that prohibits running, I thought I would share my thoughts on water running.

The Injury: When you have an injury that prevents you from running sometimes the psychological strain of not being able to run can be worse than your physical pain. I know I’m not alone on this one, I loath not being able to run, especially when I see others out there on a nice day running when I can’t!! Sometimes it takes an injury to make us realize how much we love to run and that it’s an essential part of our daily life. Although you may be keen to return to running, rest is an important part of your recovery, so don’t rush it. You may need to cut way back on running — or eliminate it entirely, as in my case — until you recover from your injury.

So what to do in the meantime? I don’t want to lose too much of my run strength/speed if I can at all help it! The answer: Water Running!

The Facts:

  • at sea level, air is 784 times less dense than water=it’s MUCH harder to run in water than in air!
  • The buoyancy of an object in water is exactly the same force as the weight of the displaced water=you float, therefore reducing impact on joints, limbs, muscles.

The Gear:

  • A pool with a deep end–I like to do the bulk of my workout in the deep end but us the shallow end to do drills and strides and to check my form from time to time (only if you don’t feel any pain with the impact).
  • water belt–Some people don’t use the belt but I find that it really helps me focus on my form and prevents me from cheating! And yes, you will look like a geek!
  • an old, but clean, pair of racing flats. I always clear them with the lifeguards before I jump into the water with them on! I like wearing shoes for the added resistance and I find it gives my feet more of a sensation of running and stops you from pointing your toes!

The workouts:

  • Believe it or not, you can get a really good workout water running. I find I really have to push it to get my HR up and have read that your max HR can be 10% lower running in water than on land.
  • You can do your ‘long slow distance’ workouts (low heartrate running) in the pool, although these get a little boring. Thankfully my pool has music playing and there is usually some bad swim technique for me to critique in the lap lanes while I run!
  • You can also do intervals in the pool. I find these workouts go by fast as you are always changing your pace and have to focus on technique and form throughout to really get a good workout.

Here is a sample workout (short but sweet):

Warm up: 10′ easy jog, drills and strides (yes, you can still do these in the water!)

Main set: 6x(3′ hard running, 2′ recovery)

Cool down: 10′ easy

There you have it! For those who are injured, you can still run, although it will have to be in the water, but just think how good it will feel to finally run on pavement!!

Back to the pool for me!