Going from running long distances and doing triathlons to sitting on the sidelines and starting over again, completely unable to run 3 miles straight has been somewhat mentally devastating (and humbling) to me as I try to get back into training. Let’s just say, it’s been a loooong three months post-surgery for me. I had a hysterectomy in May, at the 6 week mark I started walk-running again which hurt my midsection A LOT, and shortly after that I injured my midsection which set me back another couple of weeks.
The week I was cleared for swimming, I started swimming a lot and actually loving it, way more than I had before. It was the only thing I could do that didn’t HURT. I found comfort in it. I could swim the distances I could swim before, just not as fast (not that I was fast before because I wasn’t.)
Then, I decided I’d just do a lap in the water, running. I had watched the football player-y types come in and run laps in the pool, so I figured I’d give this thing a try. It was UNREAL.
I was out of breath. My thighs were on fire. I would run one lap and then sprint swim back and I did this a whole mess of times before I was completely tired out in a good way.
It was amazing. I get it. I get why they do this now.
Olympians have even done water running while injured or even as a supplement to their running.
You can continue to walk instead of running, which according to Jeff Galloway is very effective, OR you can do water running. And it’s not just for those of us nursing injuries, but for anyone wanting a running workout with lower impact.
There are two ways to water run; one is the way I did it which is running across the pool with your feet making contact with the bottom. The other way to water run is deep water running, where you run in the deep end of the pool or in water over your head, usually with a flotation device around your midsection to keep you above water (to you know, breathe.)
Form, as I found out, is very important while water running. If you are deep water running, only your shoulders, neck and head should be out of the water. Your head should be centered, your body leaning forward only slightly and your chest expanded and open with your shoulders pulled back. Here’s a description of how your feet should move, from Human Kinetics.
During the gait cycle, the feet change position from no flexion (imagine standing on a flat surface) when the knee is driving upward to approximately 65 degrees of plantarflexion (toes down) at full extension. This foot movement against resistance both facilitates the mechanics of Running form and promotes joint stability and muscle strength as a result of overcoming the resistance caused by drag.
If you’re doing it right, your heart rate will be elevated, your legs will burn, and you can burn between 500-600 calories in an hour! If you have an interest in water running, here is a great water running training plan. And at Beginner Triathlete, there’s a really great VIDEO to see water running in action!
I know I’ll be hitting at least one run workout a week while water running!
Have you done any water running?