Why [And How] to Try Water Running

When you can't pound the pavement, log your miles in the pool! For anyone who’s dealt with a painful running injury like shin splints or tendonitis, you likely know the frustration involved with stopping training until you are healed.

Well, here’s a better idea for you: instead of sitting home waiting to feel better, why not try water running instead?

If you’re confused by what this workout entails, don’t be: it’s exactly what it sounds like. Instead of pounding the pavement, putting your body at risk of gravity-related injuries, you can just run in water, firing up the exact same muscles. This change in venue allows you to build up endurance without putting pressure on tender, injured body parts.

There are two types of water running: shallow and deep water. In shallow water running, you stand in waist-high water and literally run across the floor of the pool. In deep-water running, your feet can’t touch the pool floor, so you mimic the motion of a jog or sprint without hitting the ground (for beginners, a flotation belt can facilitate this exercise, but real experts can deep-water run without any form of assistance.)

While you may be coerced into trying a water run due to injury, this Houston podiatrist urges you to try it as a replacement for one or two of your weekly training runs, even when you’re healthy (especially now that pool season has officially arrived.) When used as a cross-training method for your regular training routine, water running is a great way to increase stamina and weekly mileage without putting yourself at greater risk of injury.

Confused about how to do it? Check out this sample water-running workout, courtesy of Competitor.com, and be sure to head over to our BRAND NEW Instagram page for more training-while-injured tips:

Water Running Interval Workout

5 minutes steady “running,” focusing on form to warm up the body.

20-minute intervals
— 1 minute high effort, 1 minute recovery (To increase intensity, reduce rest as you would on the track.

5 minutes cool down

— Gradually increase the interval portion of the workout to 45 min or more. Perceived effort should be at least an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 during the “hard” portion of the interval.

Got questions about this or other running-related issues? Call Dr. Andrew Schneider at Tanglewood Foot Specialists for all your running-related concerns. 

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.