If you’re a committed runner, you know that a serious leg injury (such as a stress fracture) can keep you off the track and treadmill for several weeks—long enough to cause a setback in speed, endurance, and overall fitness level. However, there is a way to continue running while your injury heals: Running in a pool.
Here are some water-running basics:
“Water running” enables you to exercise the same muscles as road running—but without the impact you get on hard surfaces. What’s more, even though you run at a much slower pace than on dry land (due to resistance from the water), you can get a cardiovascular workout close to your current level of intensity.
• You’ll need a flotation belt; this keeps your head above water.
• Run in the deep end of the pool.
• In terms of form, run exactly as you do on dry land: same posture, arm swing, stride.
• Run at an intensity that feels comparable to what you do on the road. And run for the same amount of time as in your typical workouts.
• If you vary your speed on dry land, do the same in water. For example, you can start off “jogging” for 15 minutes before picking up the pace, or you can do sporadic one-minute sprints throughout the run.