Pool Running 101

I had my first pool run or "aqua jog" on Sunday. It was kind of fun and different. I like different!

Steps to pool running:

1. Decide that your (insert injured part here) is too sore for normal running, but you are too anal about following your training plan to miss a run.

2. Apply at least one coat of self tanner to take the glare off your glow-in-the-dark pale legs. No need to subject the pool community to that.

3. Don a conservative mom-style swimsuit. Mine was a skirted tankini. This is no time for a bikini!

4. Since not drowning is a priority, put on a flotation belt and hop in the deep end. First-timers shouldn't try to run without one. More experienced pool runners can actually float and run and not drown at the same time.

5. Imagine you are running and start churning those legs and swinging those arms. Stay upright. Resist the urge to start dog paddling or treading water (and you will have these urges). You may travel from side to side of the pool or stay in place, depending on your form. I was going back and forth across the pool---unintentionally.

6. The first 3 minutes take FOR-E-VER. After that, time only passes at about a 60% slower rate than usual.

7. After a good warmup of 10-20 minutes and when you are bored with watching the pool folk and lifeguards do their things, try some INTERVALS. Luckily there was a clock with a second hand in view. I started counting the steps of my right foot (because I'm right-legged, of course!). I knew that around 180 steps per minute is considered "ideal" in regular running counting both feet, so 90 steps should be ideal for just one foot. I counted my steps for one minute..... 66. Perhaps I was actually aqua-walking??

8. Pick up the pace for 30 seconds. It took me 3 tries, but I finally got to 45 steps in a 30-second "sprint," thus at the "ideal" pace. It was tough--it really felt like a 90% -95% sprint effort. I recovered for one minute at about a 75-76 steps-per-minute pace between these 30 second sprints. Suddenly, time was FLYING.

9. Using your usual easy, long-run pace, estimate how many "miles" you traveled. My marathon pace is around an 11-minute mile, so I aqua jogged for 33 minutes. I'm counting it as 3 miles on my training log.

Next time, I think I'll take a friend!


Kirstie said…
I need to try the aqua jogging. I've done it in passing at the pool to kill time but nothing quite like what you did! Keep it up!
judy said…
Thank you for this post. It gave me some much needed information :)
runninginmy40s said…
Thanks for the info. I've had tendonitis in my ankle and just got the approval to start pool running. Tried it last week--and had the same experience with a VERY slow cadence. Glad to hear that you sped it up--I thought it was a natural part of water running so I didn't push. Now I will! Happy running
RunnerMom said…
I hope you recover soon!