Deep water running, also known as aqua jogging, is great cross training for runners and an excellent way to deal with and prevent injuries. If you're getting over an injury, water running can allow you to recover without losing fitness. And if you're not injured, water running is a great way to work on improving your running form and fitness without increasing the pounding on your joints from running on hard surfaces.
To do deep water running effectively, you need a floatation vest or belt. A popular one used by deep water runners is the AquaJogger. It's made from EVA foam and straps around your waist, like a belt. Almost any flotation vest or belt will work, as long as it keeps your body afloat while allowing you to perform a running motion.
Some floatation devices, such as the AquaJogger, come with instructions for water running. But here are some tips to help get you started:
How to Do Water Running
- Start with a warm-up, just as you would any other run. Get in the water and swim (or tread water) for 2-3 minutes to get your body warmed up.
- In deep water, where your feet can't touch the bottom, simulate running with your flotation device worn as instructed. Try to use the same good running form that you would when running on the ground or the treadmill. Don't lean forward much or hunch over. Try to keep your body straight up in the water. Keep your shoulders back and your head and eyes looking toward the horizon.
- Try to simulate your normal running style. Don't paddle with your hands. You should keep your fist loosely closed and let your legs move you forward. You can swing your arms higher or shorter and faster to intensify your workout.
- To cool down, take off your flotation device and do some easy swimming for 2-3 minutes.
Deep water running takes some practice, but if you keep at it and work on your form, it'll become easier and more enjoyable -- especially on those hot days when you can do your run while staying cool.