When I started to write this post over the weekend, I was going to report that I had officially discovered the world’s most boring exercise. An exercise so boring, it was like watching paint dry…except that you’re in a pool, making running motions, while watching said paint.
But after putting out an APB to the troops via Facebook, I figured out that you can make it just a little bit less of a snoozefest than I originally thought.
After all, it is running…sort of. And when you can’t run on actual hard ground, it’s the closest you can get – and it turns out to have a bunch of solid benefits, like making your body go through all the motions and with resistance to work through, but with none of the pounding that caused whatever injury got you into the pool in the first place.
You can pool-run in a couple of different ways. If you have a shallow pool available to you, you can just run back and forth from one side to the other, ad infinitum. That kind of feels like running. Your feet touch the bottom of the pool and push off…and you get the resistance of the water to work against…but there’s no high-impact pounding.
The other way to pool-run is to get an Aqua Jogger or similar type of flotation belt and “run” in deep water. This belt fastens around your waist and keeps you afloat…but you have to do major work not to start leaning severely forward in the pool as you’re lurching forward. I’m sure there’s a trick to this. I have not yet discovered what it might be. But I will work at it and I will let you know.
So, what’s the key to making this exercise not super-boring? Two things: mix it up, and remember that when you’re doing non-impact exercise, every day can be a speed workout day! In other words, work it. Hard.
Here are just a few of the ideas I got from the peeps in my posse:
(Click on the comments link to actually check out what my people had to say.)
Not bad, eh? There’s some good stuff in there. Mostly what I got was this: there are ways to make just about anything more interesting than it already is. I’m leaning toward the mix-up of speedwork and swimming laps. I didn’t do that on Saturday, when I was just trying on the Aqua Jogger toy for the first time. But there really is a lap-swim lane right next to the you-can-do-pool-running-in-this-part-of-the-pool section of my gym’s all-purpose pool. So this week, I shall do sprints in the pool, both “running” and, well, swimming.
Want more ideas? Check out this link from StrengthRunning.com for even more how-to’s about how to make pool running super-exciting. Or at least less than stultifyingly boring.
Are you pool-running these days? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you make it more fun.