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Can't run due to injury...why not try running (aqua jogging) in the pool

Posted Feb 08 2010 12:36pm

Aqua_jogging Editor's Note: Please note that this story is part of our current series of advice columns from the best triathlon coaches in the sport. You can read more useful advice from long time triathlon experts HERE.

"Coach I want to get one of your programs but I can not do the running. Can I ride more to make up for the lack of running?" That is one of the typical questions I get from athletes with running injuries.

My answer is that you can still run but do it in the deep end of the pool with a running vest on.

Many people like to use the elliptical machines but the problem as I see with those is that you do not do much work on the leg recovery. It is almost like a bike workout.

Also many of these have no stride length adjustment and I am just not sold on them. But guess what my wife wants for Christmas. You guess it. She wants an elliptical machine. Go figure.

I have water ran quite a bit over my athletic career. Back in Houston Texas in the 80’s the local high school had the top high school female cross country runner in the state. She was always water running at the pool I swam at. So one day I asked her about it.

She was very nice and she showed me how to do it. It was very hard to do. We did not use a vest back then. There were no vests readily available for purchase as there are today. So that is how I learned. I learned without a vest. Needless to say goggles were not optional. I was sinking a lot. The workout was hard. Try it sometime.

Now days deep water running is very common. I just heard my club will start a deep water running class for runners. That is a good thing because deep water running is really boring. Company will be a big plus.

The key to deep water running is to maintain proper running form. Keep an upright body position and your leg and arm motion should be similar to running. Flex your ankles during push off. Many people turn deep water running into lap swimming. It is not how many laps you can do. It is about proper running form. If you maintain proper running form you will then maintain you running fitness while you let your injuries heal. Did I say injuries?

Oh yes. Most people that water run are injured. Why else will they submit themselves to such torture? But seriously; if you can somehow integrate water running into a running program you will be so much better off. It is a way to do more running volume without the pounding.

You can read the rest of coach Vargas' water running advice on his blog HERE.


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