Aqua Jogging - Saviour To An Injured Runner
One of my worst nightmares is running as fast as I can towards the finish line but not getting anywhere. Combined with having a near drowning experience
when I was little, Aqua Jogging seems like it would be a living nightmare. However, I’ve discovered how it can be an injured runners dream.
I’ve been injured for several months following a stress fracture. It’s proving to be a long journey towards recovery. Yet in the last few months, I have found myself to be both the healthiest and the fittest I have ever been. I hate to admit it, but Aqua Jogging has played a huge part in that.
What is Aqua Jogging?
Every time I go Aqua Jogging I get bewildered stares from onlookers and questions as to what on earth I’m doing. The lifeguards now know that I don’t need rescuing despite my panting and frantically dreading water.
Aqua Jogging involves replicating the motion of running in the deep end of the pool, with or without the aid of a flotation belt. It has been the classic cross training method for many injured runners, famously including Kelly Holmes despite her phobia of water.
Why is it so great?
Aqua Jogging is completely impact free, therefore it can be used during the early stages of injuries with minimal risk (depending on the injury and athlete). This also means its less taxing on your body compared to real running, therefore you can do interval sessions back to back. It elevates the heart rate for good quality cardio and maintains running fitness. The resistance provided by the water makes it hard work on both the legs and the arms proving an excellent form of strength training, which can improve running form.
Why it’s a little bit soul destroying
I can’t deny that moving up and down a 10m stretch of swimming pool for an hour is incredibly tedious. Dodging jumping children and having battles on swimming lines with other pool users can also be frustrating when your maxing out mid rep.
It’s a bit of a faff driving to the pool, getting changed, showering etc. You are also confined to swimming pool timetables and a pool that is deep enough. I really miss the luxury of being able to lace up and get out the door to run any time I want. You don’t have the same freedom with cross training, particularly Aqua Jogging. It’s more time consuming and requires organisation.
Belt vs. No Belt
I’ve received a lot of differing opinion about flotation belts. There are benefits of both methods. Being belt free is probably harder and you naturally move your legs faster to keep your head above water. When wearing a belt, it’s easy to become lazy and relax into the belt too much. Concentrating on keeping the hips ups, activating the core and having a high cadence ensures you keep working hard.
I tend to mix it up either not using it at all, using it for the whole session or using it for part of the session.
- Ensure the pool is deep enough, 2m depth is plenty
- Keep the hips high, maintain an upright posture and activate your core
- Have a high cadence. The less you move forwards in the water the better
- Avoid busy times at the pool
- Short intervals and short recoveries are the most effective
- A training partner is great!
- An outdoor pool is much more bearable, particularly in better weather
My Favourite Sessions
15 x 60 sec efforts - 30 secs recovery (60 secs recovery after set)
10 x 45 sec efforts - 15 secs recovery (60 secs recovery after set)
10 x 30 sec efforts - 15 secs recovery (60 secs recovery after set)
10 x 15 sec efforts - 5 secs recovery
10 mins warm-down
15 mins warm-up
2 x (4min effort - 60secs recovery - 3 x 2min efforts - 45secs recovery) (90secs recovery between sets)
4 x (90sec effort - 45secs recovery - 30sec effort - 20secs recovery - 30sec effort - 20secs recovery)
10 mins warm-down
15 mins warm-up
x 2 sets
5 min effort (60 secs recovery)
4 min effort (60 secs recovery)
3 min effort (60 secs recovery)
2 min effort (60 secs recovery)
90 sec effort (30 secs recovery)
60 sec effort (30 secs recovery)
30 sec effort (60 secs between sets)
10 mins warm down
I have been amazed on the improvements in my running form with the small amounts of running I’m starting to do. I’m also feeling pretty fit from doing
more frequent quality work outs. Without a doubt this has been due to Aqua Jogging alongside my Run 3D strength programme and with a better approach
to my training.
Even when back to full running training, its a great tool in my toolbox I can utilise in the future.
So jump in the deep end and run as fast as you can (without really moving) and see for yourself how it can improve your running, whether your injured or not!
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