Because it feels like I’ve been living at the pool for the past two weeks, so much so that taking a shower at home now feels weird.
Have I suddenly decided to train for a Channel swim? No, far less exciting. I’ve got a calf injury, probably a small tear that happened about a month ago, while out doing some running strides on the trails. At first it wasn’t really painful just a bit tender and stiff so I just cut back on running. Then for no obvious reason it got really angry at me, maybe it just wanted lots of love and attention, which it got in the form of ice, compression and rest. But it didn’t really help and I could do was limp about. My Equally Inspiring coach suggested a solution that was totally new to me. I decided to give it a try and got in touch with a friend who’d managed to train for the London marathon despite a knee injury. Her recipe for success? Aqua-jogging.
We made a pool date and two days later ended up side by side in the slow lane, strapped in our buoyancy belts and racing each other at a pace of about 10 minutes per 100 m. We laughed a lot but also got out of breath and did a good workout.
Since, I’ve been doing my longer “running” sessions at the pool. I’ve never been overtaken by so many people doing breaststroke but I’ve also made a lot of new friends and even inspired a couple of people to grab a belt and have a go at aqua jogging.
From a training perspective I really feel these sessions are useful. Yes, aqua-jogging is a great way of training the muscle groups involved in running without the impact I would get on land and with some extra resistance. That’s why I started in the first place.
But over the past two weeks I’ve also discovered some other unexpected benefits:
- it’s simple: all I need to take at the pool is a swimsuit, a towel and shampoo. No paddles, pull-buoy, goggles, swim cap or any of the other accessories I usually take in a huge bag down to the pool!
- the feel and resistance of the water really helps me be aware of my form,
- I’m also pretty sure that I use my core and hip flexors more,
- when running on land I always struggle to keep in the lower heart rate zones, here, I’m able to keep the easy parts easy while still going hard when required,
- I’ve been able to cut down on laundry and trainer cleaning! All I do post water run is hang my swimsuit! Dream…
- and finally NO GOGGLE EYES, perfect for working out before work!
In case you’re wondering, I haven’t totally stopped running on land, I’ve been doing bricks but only short ones: 15 to 20 minutes after cycling. So far, so good, I’m being looked after by a sports masseuse with magic hands and I don’t really feel pain anymore, just some stiffness occasionally. But I’ll listen to my coach and masseuse advice and you can still expect to see me do my long “runs” at the pool for a few weeks!
Anyone used aqua jogging to keep running fitness despite and injury? I’d love to hear the workouts you used!