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Water running can be beneficial to athlete

Water running in the deep end of the pool is quite advantageous as an alternative workout for run training. There are a few reasons why I recommend water running in an athlete’s training plan.

Water Running

One of the primary reasons is if the athlete has an injury that will not allow him or her to run on a hard surface. Injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains, soreness in the knees, lower back pain, etc.

I also schedule water-running workouts as recovery workouts after a long run or bike session. Another benefit to water running is that an athlete can do interval workouts in the pool that could be substituted for road intervals or track work. Many athletes get injured doing intense interval running on a hard surface. If done in a structured manner, the benefits of an interval workout in the pool can come close to that of an interval workout on land.

I let my athletes decide if they want to wear a flotation vest or not wear one at all for their deep-water running workouts. Most articles I’ve read on water running recommend use of a vest as this will help with proper form while completing the workout.

Cadence is a great way to monitor your workout in the pool, about 76 to 80 cycles per minute with each leg will help duplicate land running. On land the recommended cadence is about 88 to 90 cpm, but due to water resistance the equivalent in the water is about 10 cpm less. To break up the boredom of water running I have athletes count one leg cycle for 15 seconds with the goal being 19 to 20 cycles.

I also have the athlete wear a heart rate monitor. After warming up, a good range to work in is heart rate zones depending on the type of workout scheduled. Keep in mind that due to buoyancy heart rate is about 10 to 15 beats per minute lower than it would be on land for same effort.

I use two workouts with my athletes. The steady-state workout consists of a 10 minute warm-up, then anywhere from five minutes to 10 minutes of steady running. I like to schedule at least three to four of these long, steady intervals with one minute easy between each.

The other workout I like to use is a tempo interval workout. After a 10-minute warm-up, start out with a set of 10 intervals of one minute each with 30 seconds easy between them. The next set is five intervals of two minutes each with 30 seconds easy between them. Then a last set of three intervals of three minutes each, and again, 30 seconds easy after each. Be sure to cool down for 10 minutes.

If you can get into a pool where there is some music or find a training partner that would do these workouts with you, water running can actually be fun besides an alternative to running on the road. When the workout is over you will know you did some good hard work in the pool and you will see some positive fitness results.

source: article by the late David Spence

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