Athletes of all sorts can attain the benefits of deep water running. It is a great form of cross training and an excellent way to deal with and prevent injuries. Water running can allow an injured athlete to recover without loosing fitness. It can also help with improving running form and decreasing risk of sustaining injuries by decreasing the stress on running on hard surfaces. The most popular form of aqua training devices among runners is the AquaJogger. Made from EVA foam it looks like a belt that you strap around your waist. Almost any flotation vest or belt will work nearly as well. The goal is to keep your body afloat while allowing you to perform a running motion without stress to the body.
Submerged in the water you will have resistance on all sides. This 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. Adding additional hydro devices, such as a 'socks', dumbbells, and 'gloves' allows you to vary your effort and intensity.
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 heals.
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 way to ease exercise boredom.
Tips on Techinque
- Try to simulate your normal running style.
- Don't 'paddle'- Keep a loosely closed fist and let your legs move you forward.
- Try to let the bottoms of your feet to kick the water behind you.
- Take short, quick strides. A fast cadence intensifies the workout.
- Expect a lower stride cadence. Remember water is more resistant than air and your pace will decrease accordingly.
- Your heart rate will be about 10 percent lower than at the same intensity on land. .
It may take some practice to get the hang of water running, but if you concentrate on your form, just as you would while running on land, your should pick it up quickly.