What do you do when you’re a runner with a mildly irritated knee and it’s 89 degrees out? You grab your sexy water belt and head to the beach for some kick a@#$%ss water running!
Seriously, why in the world I haven’t spent more time working out in the water is a mystery to me. Trasie and I were introduced by a mutual friend because we are both distance runners. Trasie is actually an Ultra Marathoner (which means she runs anything over 26.2 miles) — but either way, we both hit the pavement for hours at time on a regular basis. I had mentioned to her that I had a nagging little knee thingy that I’m working on fixing before I pile on mileage again training for my next marathon. She says, with almighty confidence: “You know what you need to do?…
You need to start water running!”
Well I’m not all that comfortable in the water, which is why I’ve never dabbled in triathlons. But if it worked for Deena Kastor while she recovered from an injury and she came back to WIN the Chicago marathon — well then, perhaps it’s something I should consider. Bonus: I already had the water belt from when I broke my foot a few years back. So we made a date and off we went. And now it’s a standing date every Wednesday at 4:30 from now until…that remains to be decided.
What is water running?
Well, you might be more familiar with the term “aqua jogging” and you immediately imagine silver sneakers in the pool. And that’s just not nearly as sexy, so we’re going with water running. But it’s really as simple as it sounds. You’re mimicking the motion of running but underwater. You get quite the workout and none of the impact. Plus it’s refreshing, different and quite honestly a lot of fun!
Should you try water running?
Probably. You should try every workout at least once! If you’re a healthy runner and you want to mix up your training a bit, it’s a great way to add variety and decrease your chance of injury. If you’re an injured runner, than you’re already familiar with this and I’m not telling you nothing you don’t already know 😉 If you’re somebody who wants to start running, but the pressure is too much on your joints so you get frustrated and stop, this is a great way to build endurance and strength. Not to mention it can help shed some pounds and after a few weeks, running on the ground may be a whole lot more comfortable. It’s also good for running buddies who run at different paces. Since you don’t really go anywhere underwater, we’re all on a level playing ground.
What you need start water running
Just like the sport of running itself, it’s pretty barrier free. The only things you must have are water and a water belt. Which is technically called an Active Water Exercise Buoyancy Belt. The one there in that link is the one I bought off Amazon and it seems to do the trick. Trasie had one that looked a little cooler, but really, a foam belt strapped around you waist isn’t really an awesome look anyway you shake or color it. Ha! I suppose a swimsuit optional, but highly recommend 😉 You’ll also want a water resistant stopwatch to time drills and also apparently water running shoes help mimic the workout even better. Sunblock and a hat are also good ideas. And lastly, a water running buddy also helps give you the courage to strut down the beach in your belt and you can hold each other accountable. If you have those, you’re golden to get started running in the water!
Our first water running workout
We did a basic pyramid. Just like when you run, you can jog comfortably or you can push yourself out of your comfort zone to get stronger. So we got in the water and “jogged” around for 5 min. Then we did 1-5 min pyramid (1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1) with 1 min recoveries and a bit of a cool down. When you recover, you move as though you are “stepping over your laundry” which is a really nice stretch. During the work interval, you focus on staying upright and sprinting without leaning forward or back. It’s about a 45 min workout and after about 40 min I started to get really cold so I was glad we were done. I did run about 20 min on the pavement before. I think I will always run 20-30 before, that way I’m heated up and ready to jump in the cold water.
What do you think? Willing to give it a try? Or are you an experienced water runner? I’m super new to the sport so I’d love to hear your ideas for workouts!
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