Aqua jogging…have you heard of it? It is a real thing, it is harder than it looks, you do feel like an idiot when you start but it can really help your running. Aqua jogging is running in water without letting your feet touch the ground.
Running in water is a great substitute for actual running on roads or trails when you have an injury or want to workout with no impact. The basics are pretty simple. You need a deep pool and a float vest. A cute little pool ring might work, too.
Starting an aqua jogging program is generally easy if you have a pool accessible. You need a deep pool, a float vest, and if you want to ramp up your workouts, water weights. Make sure that the pool is deep enough, at least, at one end, that you cannot touch the bottom. If you are going to a public pool, try going when the pool is not crowded so that you have a clear lane for running.
Good Running Form
The hardest part is learning how to use proper running form in the water. When I first started, I found myself leaning forward in the water as I ran. Try to keep your body is the same alignment and form as if you were running on the road or a track. Move your legs, feet and arms in the same manner as you would as if you were running outdoors. It will seem difficult at first, but give it a few laps and you will begin to feel more comfortable and will be able to gain speed.
Types of Workouts
When I started aqua jogging, I simply went up and down the pool for a specific distance trying to perfect my form. I grew up a swimmer so I often equate swimming distances with running times. In general, if you are a decent runner and swimmer, I find that a 400-meter run is roughly equivalent to a 150 to 200-meter swim. Of course, water running will be somewhat slower than a full swim.
You can design your pool running workouts to mimic your road or track workouts. You can do an easy or distance run by aqua jogging for a specific time period. Or, you could run sprints, tempo or threshold workouts by using the equivalent distances or the pace clock at the pool to keep track of your intervals.
Regardless of how you choose to aqua jog, it is a great way to add to your running workouts without additional impact to your joints or to rehab after an injury.