Water jogging is not exclusive to older people living in retirement communities. Though, that’s the image my fiance said I conjured when I told him I wanted to water jog.
Professional runners do it to help remove the toxins from their muscles. It’s a great alternative to running because it allows the same form to be mimicked without the impact. When injured, it can help keep a runner in shape and ready to return to the sport. In fact, studies have shown that those running on land versus those running in the water can maintain the same level of fitness.
I’ve been pounding the pavement lately, and I could tell that my legs were feeling a little sore, so I decided to finally give water jogging a try.
When I was injured last summer, I took to the pool but only swam laps. This time, as I build a base for marathon training, I wanted something more akin to running.
So this morning at the YMCA, I found the little pile of belts, strapped one on, and “ran” in the water.
It was much harder than I thought. Having to push your limbs through the weight of the water is tiring. I did a few intervals using a noodle to push my arms back and forth, and, yes, my fiance laughed at me, but I felt good.
I like the cooling calm of the water. It gives me a different kind of peace than running does, and it’s nice to experience something new. At the end of my 25-minute session, I did 10 laps using the kick board, and my legs were on fire; they had definitely done work.
If you have access to the deep end of a pool, I recommend giving water jogging a try — runner or not. Even for non-runners, it can be a nice break from traditional lap swimming or from another exercise/sport.
If you don’t have a flotation belt, a noodle or kick board will work, too. You can also just tread water and ditch the flotation device, but as a first timer, I wouldn’t have lasted long like that. Plus, having a flotation device allows you to focus on your form more.
You’re supposed to try and lean back some because the water will naturally pull you forward. Drive your knees up more so than you usually would when running and flex your feet as your bring your legs up; let your feet kick back in a more limp manner as you drive your legs back down. I’ve also read that you can just stick to your regular running form; however, in the pool you’ll get the chance to really focus on great form and make some improvements. Either way, it’s worth the concentrated effort, especially because it can get a tad boring out there in the deep end.
You can water jog in the shallow end, but that means you’ll still be getting some impact. If possible, use the deep end to give your legs a break.
Don’t focus on distance when water jogging because you’re not going to get far. Instead, focus on time. If you were going to go for a 3-mile run, and it would typically take you about 25 minutes, then do 25 minutes of jogging in the pool.
And if you’re a true runner and hate being called a jogger, go ahead and call it water running!
I found it somewhat boring today, but I think once I get the hang of the movements, I’ll be able to let my thoughts go just like they do when I run on land. Plus, my fiance shared the lane with me and kept me entertained.
To read more about water jogging, click here. Have you ever tried it?