Sometimes called pool running or aqua jogging, it’s easy to dismiss this as a second-best option for injured runners who can’t take the impact of land,’ says running coach Karen Weir (runwithkaren.com). ‘But anyone who’s tried it properly will tell you it’s a hell of a workout on its own.’ It involves running in the water, either waist deep with your feet touching the bottom of the pool, or in deep water while wearing a floatation belt to keep you upright and afloat.
‘It’s zero impact so good if you’re rehab-ing a running injury,’ says Weir. ‘Lifting your knee is much harder so it helps strengthen your hip flexors – good news for common runner’s knee injuries. But the extra resistance of the water makes this an all-round strengthening and great cardio workout, too. And it engages your upper body more than a run.’ Use it as a workout on its own, for cross training, or as good recovery after a hard run. ‘Be careful if you’re aqua running while injured though,’ adds Weir. ‘While it keeps your cardio fitness and muscle strength, lack of impact means you’ll lose conditioning in your joints and connective tissues. So build back up gradually when you return to running on land to avoid further injury.’
Aqua Running on Travel Photo Gallery
HOW TO TRY IT
While you can just have a go on your own, it’s a good idea to find a class or trainer if you can. Or even just search some technique and session tips on YouTube. Check out aqua-physio.co.uk and aquarunning.co.uk for tips and search ‘aqua fitness’ on swimming.org/poolfinder. Because it’s intense, work at shorter intervals than you would in a normal running session.
Try a warm-up pool jog of 5-10 minutes, followed by a session such as 60 seconds’ hard, 30 seconds’ rest x 10. Or 1/2/3/4 minutes hard with a minute’s rest between each. Then you can either do a 5-10-minute cooldown jog, or rest for 2-3 minutes and go again. KEY KIT: Count reps, speed and calories burned with a waterproof watch such as Poolmate2 (1), £70, swimovate.com. Keep buoyant with the Beco Aqua Jogging belt (2), £16; theswimmingshop.com. Ensure great support with the Adidas Amphi Don’t Rest Bra, £44.95, and Mid-Rise Bottoms (3), £32.95.
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