Don’t ever let anyone tell you pool running is easy. Because it’s not.
I did my first session of deep-water running last night at Wilson — well, to be fair, I’d attempted it once or twice when recovering from injuries in high school — and I quickly learned that it is not a joke. It’s hard work, and you can definitely feel it in almost every leg muscle. Apparently you don’t need to pound the pavement to get a good workout.
To run in the water, you need a deep pool (so you can’t touch the bottom) and a flotation belt (optional if you’re good at it). There’s some debate over exactly how to run — do you lean forward so you move through the water, or is it better to be upright and stay in one place — but to me it feels natural to actually run laps. I think as long as you feel like you’re doing a running workout, you can be a little bit more relaxed about form.
In doing some pre-workout research, I also learned that slow, casual jogging won’t do much for your fitness level — which, given the lack of technique work, is the whole purpose of these sessions — so it’s particularly important to do intervals and up the intensity. It also helps with the boredom. Here’s what I did:
5 min easy warmup
6 x [2:30 hard, :30 easy]
5 min cooldown
Total: 28 minutes
I have no idea how many “laps” I did because I was running in small circles around the old ladies doing water aerobics. And apparently there’s some debate over how you translate running in the water to running on the road — do you just consider total time, or do you convert into distance based on average pace? Anyone out there have any ideas?
In summary, I liked this. A lot. It looks kinda ridiculous, sure, especially when you’ve got fast swimmers in the lane next to you, but it’s a good workout and definitely something I’ll incorporate even when I get back on the road as an injury prevention method. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.