You know I’m always looking for creative, cross-training options – like some of the craziest shit out there. I’ve even committed to trying out 100 fitness classes across Boston as ‘research’ – I’m that nuts. So, when I came across pool running, you know I was more than intrigued.
This is going to reflect a bit like a college research paper – so, bare with me. I obviously know NOTHING on the topic, so had to do a bit of research on my own.
I’ve seen those pools with the treadmills built into the bottom and knew they were mostly for people with injury – and even more so, for professional athletes (since that ‘ish is expensive). Apparently, pool running (also known as ‘aqua jogging’) is much more than just for NFL players.
According to ‘strengthrunning.com‘, it’s as simple as being a non-resistance option for injury prone runners (since your feet never touch the ground). There’s also less of a likelihood that you’ll injury yourself again. As a kid, did you ever run in place as fast as you can and feel the resistance of the water? That’s what we’re talking here. A majority of the blog posts and articles I read attributed this workout for pain relief, the author of the SR.com article actually attributes it to making him faster, as well. I would probably compare this to using those horrible running parachutes that anyone who was a sprinter in high school track resented. Some other posts say the best ‘results’ or workout potential comes from ‘running’ in the deep end of the pool.
For the most part, this is a much better alternative when you’re injured than just sitting on the couch. This linked article does say you don’t really ‘lose’ it if you don’t ‘use’ it until 10 weeks after your last jog (haha….get it), but working this in will keep that plateau from fully happening (which can be crucial if you’re training for a marathon or something you can’t really afford to start over with when you’re running out of time).
The first big tip I read was do not run slow. Running slower could cause over extension and just not give you the same results/intensify your pain if you are injured. The correct motion should be to ‘drive your knee up and then straight back down‘, similar to that of riding a bike. Secondly, use a flotation belt. Especially if you’re executing this in the deep end of the pool (and you’re 4’11” like me), I could see this being extremely helpful to keeping proper form. Also, I thought this was pretty interesting, but ‘aqua’ running is similar to intensity on your cardio vascular levels as regular running, so they encourage you not to wear like Under Armor gear in case you overheat or get your head wet (to prevent sweating). So, apparently while you do this, you want to keep your face dry and your body as cool as possible (like you would on a regular Summer run). Interesting…
A study by Nancy Butts, Mary Tucker, and Christine Greening at the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse focused on oxygen consumption and exertion. I’m not even going to TRY and play professional here, so I’ll just quote the post directly – “Although the runners were not able to achieve the same heart rates and oxygen consumption levels in the pool as they did on the treadmill, the researchers noted that the disparity was similar to that between running and cycling, which also elicits lower oxygen consumption and heart rates (when done by runners, at least)”(RunnersConnect.net).
If you’re a spin class junkie like me, this might be a great E60 replacement – if you have access to a pool or just want to be outside in the sunshine working out. Mixing it up!
Has anyone dedicated to aqua running as part of their training? Did it work? Was it annoying (I’m not a good swimmer)? Let me know!!
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