Deep Water Running: Could this be a new kind of Winter Cross training trend for triathletes?
Last week I started back on my own training regime after a 5 week break. On my second run session I went out for a short lunch time run in the rain, and Ouch! I tore my calf. Lucky for me itâ€™s just a grade 1 tear but sure enough it has meant taking some time off running. So that got me thinking about the alternatives. I decided to do some research and give deep water running a go....
Itâ€™s not just for the oldies
Water running (or aqua-jogging as itâ€™s otherwise known), is great for both training and injury rehabilitation and all types of athletes can gain benefits. It is not just for retirees, and can actually provide a great form of cross training and an excellent way of dealing with injuries, but also preventing them.
Water running can allow an injured athlete to recover without losing fitness. It can also help to boost your run form and reduce the risk of sustaining injuries by decreasing the stress of running on hard surfaces, so maybe we should all be giving it a try!
The Wallabies use deep water running as part of their cross training and recovery program. Photo by Getty Images.
How it works
By being submerged in the water you will have resistance on all sides which forces opposing muscles to work equally. As you move your arms and legs against the resistance of the water you will get a great cardiovascular, as well as, strength training workout.
In addition to increasing the resistance of movement, being in the water decreases the stress on your joints, while increasing your range of motion. Because there is no impact, an injured athlete can train in the water and remain fit while injuries heal.
An uninjured athlete can use water running as a cross training method, a way to work on technique, increase resistance while reducing mileage and risk of injury. It's also a great way to provide some training variation, which is really important over the winter months.
- You can either use a deep-water foam belt or you can go without.
- Sessions should build up from around 20 mins when starting out, up to a maximum of 60mins for the experienced jogger. They should be quality focussed to include short tempo-intensity efforts, and need to be done in the deep end of the pool.
- Itâ€™s important that you aim to run as you would on land. Your deep-water run gait should look like your normal running stride; including flexing your ankles, knees and hips, complete with arm swing.
- Taking short, quick strides, i.e. using a fast cadence, intensifies the session.
- To maximise your time and effort, a lot of research suggested that it would be beneficial to combine a swimming session with water running to create a new kind of brick workout, which can also be a great time saver.
Stay safe and keep smiling,
Nicole Ward, Professional Triathlete
Bachelor of Sports Science & Level 1 Triathlon Coach
Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/nicwardtri