An Alternative to Running
I found water running back in ‘09. I had signed up for my first Ironman (August) and in Feb. I found myself sitting on the sidelines with a fractured fibula. This was the start of a downward spiral of injuries that covered the next 3-4 years, and a discovery that I had a circulation, and an auto-immune disorder. Doctors told me I needed to find another sport, that running or endurance triathlon wasn’t a viable long-term hobby. When there’s a WILL there’s a WAY!
Water running has become a staple to any endurance or run event that requires speed. Here’s a few tips I’ve learned over the years –
- Running in the water will allow you to keep good running mechanics and form with lower to zero impact (lower for shallow water running and non-impact for deep water running)
- Your HR will be about 10 bpm lower than normal for HIT due to being submerged (cooled) by water. Train at 10bpm lower than you normal HR HIT range.
- You will burn more calories running in the water than on land. Why? Extra resistance. Water is 790 times more viscous, and provides twelve times the resistance than the air the average exercise is performed. The density of water is approx.. 1k x greater than air. It’s a great w/o for weight loss.
- Highly, highly, highly recommend a waterproof MP3 planner – or you might die of boredom or go insane.
- Run for time, not distance. A 45-min water run with intensity intervals is equal to an hour intensity run. Where as a 90-min water run is equal to a 120-150min land run.
- A foot neuroma preventing me from land running 2 months prior to Ironman Lake Tahoe ‘13. I spent many hours running up and down the bay in Long Beach to train around this injury. 2 weeks before the race I was able to run one 10-mile run on land. Race day came and I finished, with a sub 5-hr marathon to boot!)
- Try to schedule these workouts during non-peak swim times. I’ve gotten some very angry looks from swimmers for using the lane.
- If you’re running for longer than an hour bring nutrition. Being submerged by water changes your perception of energy burned and a “BONK” is easy to sneak up.
- It will challenge and build your mental toughness. When you go hard on race day you can think ~ “At least I’m NOT water running!”
Since I started water running I’ve successful competed 4 full IMs, several stand-alone marathons, countless HIMs, and many other endurance events. It’s added strength and longevity to my body. Nothing good comes easy anyway, so go ahead….give it a tri!
Sample HIIT Water Run
50 min total – w/belt
10 min moderate w/u
(5x1min deep water HIT w/:30 moderate recovery; after set 2 min moderate ) x 3)
10 min moderate c/d
Worried about harmful UVB rays? I highly recommend the De Soto Sport Skin Cooler Cap (you can easily store a gel in the pocket OR your MP3 player!) and or Skin Cooler Balaclava for extra sun protection.
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