Aqua Jogging: For Runners who can’t Run

Yesterday Nige and I headed to the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh for a bit of a swim/aqua jogging. Nige is out injured at the moment, desperately missing running and hoping to get back to it asap, so his physio and research suggested he tried aqua jogging.

Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool

Aqua jogging is just as it sounds – running in deep water – and a way of continuing your training while injured or to complement other forms of training. It’s said to achieve all the benefits of running but with less impact on your body, perfect if your an avid runner but told to take it easy or rest during recovery from injury. Studies also show that it’s actually more beneficial than land-based running, as water is denser than air making you work harder and burn more calories, and the pressure of the water helps your heart out, so that you get the same intensity of exercise at a lower heart rate. As aqua running mimics the natural running form, it also provides a neuromuscular workout that helps to keep the running specific muscles active, making it the perfect form of cross-training for runners who can’t (or are told not to!) run!
What you need:
Like running, you need very little kit. Apart from swimming trunks/costume, you just need to find a swimming pool that is deep enough so that your feet cannot touch the bottom. You can also invest in a floatation belt that will help keep your torso above water when you run, but this isn’t essential. 
Floatation belt can be worn during aqua jogging
How to:
Good aqua jogging should mimic your running style closely. It is important to try to keep your upper body straight and upright, as there is a tendency to lean forward like your normal running stance. To help with this, lift the knees higher than you would out of the water.

Images of running form (AquaJogger)

There has been a lot of research into the benefits of aqua running and I’m no expert, but having giving it a go yesterday, just 3 three lengths exhausted me and I could really feel my legs burning. For your first few tries, I would focus on technique. We were lucky that the pool we were at had underwater cameras so we could see ourselves in the screen at the end of each length and adjust our postures. Have a look at the literature and take advice from others in the know, but if you’re keen to keep up your running fitness without actually running I’d give this a go.
The only thing you really need to get over is looking like a bit of a wally in the pool! While all the other swimmers effortlessly glide past you, you can’t help but feel like you’re getting nowhere, maybe even going backwards! but stick at it and ignore the strange looks because when you are back to running properly your body will thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *