Deep Water Running; Not just for Injured Runners
Deep water running, also known as aqua jogging, is great cross training for runners and an excellent way to deal with and prevent injuries. If you’re getting over an injury, water running can allow you to recover without losing fitness. (check with your physiotherapist first)
Research has shown that deep water running is relatively close to real running in terms of cardiovascular demand at easy to moderate intensities. You can expect to maintain your fitness for four to six weeks by doing water running during injury recovery.
What is Deep Water Running?
Deep water running involves slowly running in a pool. The goal is to run in water deep enough that you cannot touch the bottom of the pool. If you are recovering from an injury, this form of exercise allows you to utilize the same range of muscles and makes the same cardiovascular demands that regular running requires, without the risk of injury.
Because water creates more resistance than air, it will work your muscles but without the impact on your joints. This makes for a great cross-training activity on recovery days.
For deep water running to be effective for fitness maintenance, it should be done at the same intensity, frequency, and duration as your normal runs.
Submerged in the water you will have resistance on all sides. This forces opposing muscles to work equally. As you move your arms and legs against the resistance of the water, you will get a great cardiovascular and strength training workout.
Deepwater running takes some practice, but if you keep at it and work on your form, it’ll become easier and more enjoyable — especially on those hot days when you can do your run while staying cool.
Why Deep Water Running?
- Because there is no impact, an injured athlete can train in the water and remain fit while injuries heal.
- An uninjured athlete can use water running as a cross-training method, exercising the muscles in a different way from running on land. This is a benefit if you don’t like actual swimming, but you enjoy being in the pool and want to make use of your pool time.
- It’s also an effective and safe alternative to outside running on extremely hot and humid days. And for runners with kids, you can get some exercise while watching your kids splash around in the pool.
- With water running, you can work on endurance and strength without adding on a lot of high-stress miles.