Water running is one of the best workouts for runners and fitness enthusiasts! Keep reading to discover the benefits of running in the water here.
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9 Reasons to Do Water Running and the Best Tips to Make Pool Running Workout Fun and Safe
The Basics of Aqua Running Workouts
When Mother Nature puts the brrr on, you can take your workout to the pool (the indoor one if it’s cold outside) and try water running!
In warmer months, fitness enthusiasts take their training outdoors as shown by the increase in runners and cyclists on the road and trails.
There is also an increase in team sports being enjoyed outdoors. But colder weather makes training and activity more difficult. It also makes cross-training more difficult as well.
However, a cross-training activity that is definitely underrated is water running.
What Is Water Running?
Water running, also known as aqua jogging or running, is a form of exercise that mimics the running movement using deep-water pools. Using a flotation device, your feet do not touch the pool’s bottom.
Your body is buoyant, so there is no impact on the body.
9 Benefits of Water Running You Should Know About
Why is water running workout a good alternative or even better than treadmill running or cross-country running? These answer the question:
1. It Is Great for Injuries
If you suffer from an injury that requires you to take time off from your physical activities but you are concerned about losing any fitness gains, water running may be a safe alternative to keeping you active and helping to maintain your fitness level.
2. Water Jogging Prevents Repetitive Injuries from Occurring
Running in the water is a great tool for preventing injuries associated with a heavy volume of aerobic training.
3. Deep-Water Training Is a Great Cross-Training Option
Water running is an optimal cross-training option for many athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It adds another dimension and variety to your workouts, without increasing the risk of injury.
4. It Is Excellent for Novice Runners and New Fitness Enthusiasts
It’s great for beginners who are learning to run and also need a cross-training option.
5. Running in Water Training Is a Great Recovery Tool
Water running is an effective recovery tool as it helps repair damaged muscle fibers, especially after an intense workout session.
6. It Is Neuromuscular Specific for Runners
Since water running is very similar to natural running, the neuromuscular gets a workout and that helps keep the specific running muscles active.
7. Running in Water Workout Is a Total Body Workout
Water running is a total body workout that strengthens your legs, arms, and core.
8. Water Running Maintains Fitness Levels
It is safe for almost any type of injury.
9. It Strengthens Cardiovascular System
Running against the resistance of water utilizing both the upper body and the lower body also makes deep-water running a great challenge for the cardiovascular system.
What Do You Need to Participate in Water Running?
To help keep you buoyant, use a flotation device. You also need a pool deep enough so you can run with legs dangling or suspended and without your feet touching the bottom.
Tips on How to Properly Water Run
Water running exercises are awesome for the body and mind. To make sure they truly benefit you, take note of these tips:
1. Pay Attention to Your Angle, Stride, and Posture
Posture is important in water as it is on land. When water running, the body should be in a vertical position as much as possible.
Do not lean the chest forward. Keep the arms and legs pumping similar to the motion of running on land.
Using a flotation device helps keep your posture upright and prevent you from sinking to the bottom.
2. Consider This Quick Simple Workout
Try this quick and simple water run workout next time you hit the pool.
- Warm up
- 5 minutes easy water run
- Do Interval water running
- 5 times: 30 seconds hard and then 15 seconds easy
- 5 times: 1 minute hard and then 20 seconds easy
- 2 times: 2 minutes hard and then 1minute easy
- Cool down
- 5 minutes easy water run
3. Keep It Fun
Water running workouts are not easy, so it’s not unusual to want to quit. One excellent pool running technique to keep you sane and motivated is to make it fun:
- Vary your deep-water running workouts to focus on other body parts such as the ankle, hip, and knee.
- Invite other neighborhood residents to join you in the community pool.
- Use an underwater treadmill.
- Play some music for your water aerobics.
- Make the session into a race and compete who can outlast the others in the pool.
4. Do It at Your Own Pace
Every person has different levels of endurance. Some can do the water workouts for runners for at least an hour, while others may do so for less than 30 minutes.
At the end of the day, it’s your pace that matters. Otherwise, if you push yourself too hard, you may exceed your lactate threshold.
What is lactate threshold? This is the intensity of exercise in which you can maintain the level of lactate in the body. An increase in lactate can boost the risks of muscle soreness and fatigue.
In turn, you will be more prone to injury. Do the best you can to perform water running workouts while still in your best running form.
You can also start slow and then increase your pace or intensity over several weeks.
5. Monitor Your Perceived Exertion Rate
Water jogging benefits are aplenty, but the exercise can work against you if you’re exerting too much. It may only increase your odds of developing muscle fatigue or injury.
Meanwhile, if you’re not exerting enough effort, you’re also not maximizing these aqua jogging benefits! To know whether you have to reduce or add more to your efforts, know your perceived exertion rate.
Perceived exertion refers to the overall feeling of intensity while doing the exercise. It doesn’t matter whether it’s cross-training for runners or water running.
It also doesn’t consider an individual or isolated feeling such as pain in the foot or back. Instead, it asks you to assess your entire body sensation during the workout.
This perception, however, can be subjective. To make it into something more objective or empirical, you can use tools such as Borg Rating Scale.
What Is the Borg Rating Scale?
A 2017 study in Occupational Medicine had a thorough discussion about this tool, but to give you an insight, it is a scale you can use to match your level of intensity.
It’s simple to use:
- Know your exercise intensity. Consider your level of stress, fatigue, and overall body sensation.
- Match it according to the scale, which is between 6 and 20. For example, a rating of 19 means the routine is the hardest you have ever done.
- Multiply it by 10 to get your estimated heartbeat per minute. Check it with your pulse rate and see if they match.
For a healthy person, the ideal heart rate is more than 120 beats per minute. If yours is lower, then you may need to pick up the pace.
If yours is already beyond 180 beats per minute, you may want to slow down. This way, you can catch your breath and reduce muscle fatigue.
You may need to adjust your ratings and ideal heartbeat per minute if you have a pre-existing condition. Don’t forget to discuss your level of exertion with your doctor.
6. Speed Up Your Recovery with Protein
It’s normal to feel some muscle soreness after a water workout for runners. The sooner you can recover, the faster you can get back into the pool.
One of the best tips to speed up your recovery is to consume an organic protein powder such as Warrior Blend. Protein is an essential nutrient for building and repairing muscles.
Sunwarrior Ambassador Marzia Prince talks about being connected with nature in this video from Sunwarrior:
If you want to stay in shape and enhance overall performance, then water running is a great way to cross-train and avoid repetitive injuries at the same time.
I must admit I was a big skeptic at first. However, having incorporated water running in my marathon and biathlon training schedules, I really did reap the benefits.
So the next time you’re at the pool, grab a partner and water run together and challenge each other to go harder.
Do you know the other benefits of water running? Share them in the comments section below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.