Water Running 101

Pool running doesn’t quite compare to Saturday morning long runs with friends, but it’s not all that bad.  Everything I’ve read suggests water running is a great way to maintain fitness when injured. We’ll see about that!

Before I tried this for the first time, I watched a few YouTube videos on technique before I headed to the pool.  Then I came home and watched a few more.  Jason Fitzgerald’s article is perhaps the best I’ve found so far.  I have some work to do on my technique, including staying more upright and increasing my cadence.  Aqua jogging should be like a high knee run and done in the deep end of the pool.  I made the mistake of running laps during my first pool run.  Today, I ran circles in the deep end and it wasn’t all that bad!

The good:

  • If you’re going to get soaking wet from a workout (running or otherwise), you might as well be in the pool.
  • If you have kids and need to get in a workout, you can easily keep your eye on them while aqua jogging.
  • I can wear my Goodrs and a hat for some extra sun protection.
  • I admit, this was an interesting deviation from the usual long run.
  • I enjoyed end of lap banter with an older couple who was swimming laps next to me.

water running 2.pngThe not-so good:

  • With my Speedo aqua jogging belt, I felt like my 3 year old self in the Polliwog swim class at the YMCA.  You know, back in the day when I wore a foam cube on my back to keep me afloat.  This is what I imagined I looked like, but I got over it quickly!
  • I had to keep my hands in fists so I wouldn’t feel like I was doggy paddling. I really had to focus to get my in-water arm swing correct.
  • It took a few laps to really get in my groove.  My form was sloppy the first time around!
  • I was concerned that I wasn’t working hard enough even though I felt like I was pushing the pace more toward the end.  I had to ship my Garmin back for repairs, so I have no way to tell what my heart rate was.  Next time, I’m going to treat it like a fartlek workout and hope this translates to no lost fitness during this period of not running!
  • It’s a bit boring, but if you can run on a treadmill, you can get through a water running workout.  I suggest some of the same techniques to help pass time and ensure you get a good workout.  Today, after a 10 minute warm-up, I did 10 x 1:30 hard with 1:30 recovery, then 7 x 3:00 hard with 3 minute recovery, followed by a cool-down.  I also recommend waterproof headphones so you can catch up on podcasts or audio books while you get it done.

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