Monday, April 8, 2013

Aqua Jogging - Injury Recovery and Prevention


Saturday Workout: 13 miles

Sunday Workout: 3 miles recovery

Today's Workout: 6 miles biking

Monthly Health Goal - April: No eating after 8:00 pm:

We have all been there...a little nagging pain in the knee (or insert other problem area), that we try to push through because hey, that's what runner do.  You have a big race coming up and you have put in a lot of work and miles, and you don't want all that training to go to waste by taking zero day after zero day. I had my fair share of injuries while I was a college runner. We were fortunate enough to have an amazing training staff that helped nurse us all back from injuries. One of the greatest tools at their disposal was an aqua jogging pool. While many people think of aqua jogging being reserved for elderly people or really elite athletes - everyone can benefit!

Being injured really is a drag. No matter if you are training for the Boston Marathon or your first 5k, being sidelined with an injury is draining emotionally and mentally. There has been extensive research about the benefits of pool running, and Competitor Magazine has this to say:

Aqua jogging is great because it mimics the movement of running without the impact of your legs hitting the ground. Not only will it keep your cardiovascular fitness up, it keeps your running-specific muscles active (which can't be said for biking and swimming).

Good aqua jogging form should closely imitate your natural running style. You will submerge yourself in a deep end of a pool (use a aqua jogging belt/vest if you are new to the exercise, after awhile it won't be totally necessary).  Do your best to keep your body as upright as possible and not lean too far forward. You will want to use a higher knee lift and a more compact back kick turnover compared to when you run on dry land.  Below is a video demonstrating good aqua jogging form:

Studies have shown that aqua jogging can enable a well-trained runner to maintain running fitness for up to 4 to 6 weeks! Competitor Magazine mentioned two impressive studies, one in particular, where a group of ten runners trained exclusively with deep-water running for four weeks and compared 5K race times pre-deep water running and post-deep water running. The researchers found no statistical difference in 5K time or other markets for performance (oxygen consumption or lactate threshold).

Research shows that aqua jogging isn't just great for injured runners, but is also a fantastic recovery tool to help repair damaged muscles after intense workouts.

All you need is a pool! Check out local gyms in the area to see if any have a lap pool you can use for some aqua jogging training. If you are interested in purchasing a jogger belt, go here.

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