Here's Why Running in the Pool is Your New, Smart Training Move

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For many runners, one of the worst effects of getting injured is not being able to train. But now, thanks to H2GO, an app developed by Jennifer Conroyd, side-lined runners can transfer their training miles to the pool instead of the pavement! Training for a marathon in the pool is a great option for injured runners

Conroyd, who used to work in marketing and advertising, first came upon the idea for her app in 2010, when she tore her calf muscle six weeks before she was supposed to participate in the Chicago Marathon. She and her four siblings were supposed to run it together as a fundraiser for a nephew with diabetes, so skipping out on the big event simply wasn’t an option.

Desperate to somehow keep up her training, Conroyd hit the Internet, finally coming across an article about deep-water running. She emailed one of the authors, Kevin Beck, and under his supervision, she completed the rest of her marathon training in the pool.

There, she regularly logged 20-mile long runs, training with some of the hardest workouts of her life. Her fitness level grew to the point where, upon her recovery, she could easily log the same distances on land, free of pain!

Having experienced the benefits herself, Conroyd loaded H2GO with a variety of fully-coached, deep water running workouts. The app and its accompanying water-proof system has even earned the title of “20 Best Workouts in America” from Men’s Journal.

Since I haven’t tried the system myself, I can’t attest to the actual value of Conroyd’s specific workouts, but I can say this: a running injury doesn’t have to derail training, and Conroyd and her app are wonderful proof of that fact. But don't just take her word for it. Check out what else we know about running in the water. 

 

Water Runs Mean Harder Workouts 

All over the country, fitness professionals are falling for water-based running workouts. I just saw a story from RAPRD, a rec center in Redmond, OR, which offers a running class in the pool. Here's what the group leader noted about her class results: 

"Deep water running enhances both the cardiac and the respiratory system, because of the water's hydrostatic pressure water...Because of the resistance of the water, all movement is 12-15 times more difficult than on land. Treadmill walking burns four calories per minute, where deep water walking burns eight-to-nine calories per minute. Running (without using the arms in the water) — treadmill running will burn 11.8 calories per minute and water running 11.5 calories per minute. With the addition of arm movement in the water, caloric expenditure can rise to 13+ calories per minute." 

In other words, taking your workouts to the pool isn't taking the easy way out. Rather, it's actually increasing the caloric burn of your exercise routine. All while taking pressure off your feet. And that is perhaps my favorite part of this entire workout scheme. In fact, I think it's such a good idea that I'd suggest trying water training even if you aren't dealing with a running injury. 

But, since my prime concern for this post is all of you injured runners, here's what I need you to truly absorb: together with your doctor, you can find ways to recover safely while maintaining your fitness level. Want to know more? Schedule yourself for a consultation in my Houston podiatry office to find out how to keep at your running, even while you’re hurt.

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