Why are my running shoes so clean?

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.

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Bathers over trainers! Not sure the shoes are liking it…

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!
Who doesn’t want to save time on heaps of laundry and running trainer cleaning?

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!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Great read! I am struggling with lots of stuff going on with my left leg which nobody seems to be able to get to the bottom of! I have thrown so much money at it, it’s crazy! I am thinking this would be a good way to work those muscles without the impact too! I know this may be a daft question, but do you do this out of your depth or in the shallow end?

    1. Thanks! No, it’s not a daft question, I had to do some research too… I aqua jog in the deep pool, with a floatation belt designed specifically for this (they’re not expensive when compared to physio but I understand that you can also use a noodle tied around your waist). Our pool also has a couple belts that can be borrowed so we’re pretty lucky, maybe worth checking at your local pool. You can also do it in the shallow end or in the sea but you should protect your feet as running barefoot on pool tiles is likely to become painful quickly!
      Having tried aqua jogging I’d really recommend it now for keeping the running motion and muscles going despite an injury (you’ll also find that it does a great job for cardio fitness). However, there apparently are some injuries that do not “like” aqua jogging so probably best to literally test the water first and avoid doing it if it hurts! Let me know if you try it and how you get on, it’s always interesting to hear how people overcome injuries!

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