Pool Running for the Injured Runner

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Injured and worried about losing that hard earned running fitness you’ve worked so hard for?

Or maybe you’re looking to mix things up in your training?

Then replace your dry land running with pool running. It’s a great way to maintain your running fitness while injured because it mimics your running movements and is a great cardiovascular workout.

Pool Running for the Injured Runner

Pool running can be done in either the deep end or the shallow end of the pool. If you run in the deep end, your feet won’t touch the bottom of the pool, so there’s no impact and it’s safe to do while injured. If you decide to run in the shallow end, be aware that there is a bit of impact.  As long as that impact does not aggravate your injury, then feel free to run in either end of the pool.

If you’re new to pool running, a floatation belt will be helpful in assisting you in maintaining your balance and you’ll be able to focus more on your running form and the workout.  Once you’ve perfected your form and feel comfortable in the water, the belt isn’t necessary, but feel free to use it if you’re more comfortable with it or if you want more buoyancy.

Pool running form is pretty similar to running on dry land, but because of the environment and the water resistance, it may feel awkward at first.

The first step in learning how to pool run is to focus on having good running form just as you would on dry land.

Keep these technique pointers in mind:
  • Your body position should be similar to dry land running.
  • Drive your knee upward at the hip.
  • Then drive your leg down and back to almost full extension, but not hyperextension.
  • Do not kick your leg or foot forward.

Once you’re comfortable with your form, you can start to focus on different workouts. Performing workouts at the same intensities that you do while running on land will increase your heart rate similar to dry land running, and that’s how you’ll keep up your cardiovascular fitness.

Pool running doesn’t have to be monotonous and boring. To make your time in the pool more enjoyable and to get in a better workout, include intervals in your workouts.

If your form starts to fall apart during your workouts, then rest or jog easily for recovery until you’re ready to go again.

Here are a couple of workouts to improve fitness and help the time go by:

Aerobic Base: (30-45 min workout)

W/U: 10-15min easy pool jog. If you want more variety, you can add kicking with a kick board or swimming.

Main Set:

4 x 2min at a moderate to moderate hard effort with 1min easy recovery jog between sets.  

C/D:

Cool down with remaining time at an easy effort

Ladders: (45min-1 hour workout)

W/U:10-15 min easy pool jog. If you want more variety, you can add kicking with a kick board or swimming.

Main Set: 

1:00 / 1:30 / 2:00 / 2:30 / 3:00

3:00 / 2:30 / 2:00 / 1:30 / 1:00

all at a moderate hard effort with 30 seconds easy recovery jog between sets

C/D: 

Cool down with remaining time at an easy effort

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