Aqua Jogging? Water Running? Stationary Swimming?
Water running is: “flotation assisted running motions performed in a body of water”. So how does Water Running (…errr….Aqua Jogging?…Wet Sprinting?…whatever) work? Easy – strap a flotation belt to your waist, jump in the deep in and haul ass like you’re being chased by hungry beavers and you’re wearing wooden underwear.
Most pools should have flotation belts that you can use, however if they don’t the belts seem easy enough to find online. The majority of times I’ve used this training technique the pool has been setup for adult laps (as lurid as that may sound it’s actually pretty benign), however you should be able to do this during an adult or family swim period as well. If the pool is setup for laps, jump in the ultra slow lane and ensure you aren’t impeding anyone else’s swim (if you aren’t sure where to go, ask the lifeguards they will know where you should/could fit best).
“How fast? How long? How hard?” (raises eyebrow) excuse me?
Since grinding away a 45-60min water run is nearly as boring as doing a treadmill run, I suggest treating your session as a speed or fartlek workout. Set timed intervals of “sprinting” with rest periods between e.g. – 60sec. hard, 60sec. recovery, 120sec. hard, 120sec. recovery, etc. My typical workout has been a 10 minute warmup, then alternating 5min. of strides and 5min of higher cadence “peddling” motion for 30-40min total, and 10min cool down. By alternating the strides and high cadence I reduce the risk of injuring myself further plus I work different muscle groups….plus it’s just more interesting than staring at a brick wall for an hour.
Without a surface to push off with your feet it can difficult to mimic a true running stride and since you’d probably like to make the best use of your time while you’re there it’s important to find a way to do this. I found that my natural tendency was to pump my legs up and down in a stair-stepping motion which really doesn’t do much for your running fitness. After some experimentation I found that using strides and cycling motions better worked the “running” muscles. When using strides ensure you pull forward hard enough to feel it in your quads, then pull back with the hamstring and engage the glute muscles, FEEL THE BURN! As for the higher cadence sets I focus mainly on “landing” my feet directly below my body, and moving my legs quickly. This tends to be more of a cycling motion than the strides but as long as you are keeping the movement light and quick it gets the job done.
Hopefully a few weeks of rest will let my stress fracture heal and I can get back to hitting the trails, until then I’m there will be some water running in my future.
Have a good one kids, stay healthy!