It's hot outside, runs are sluggish, moods are killed—so let's hop in the pool instead for this (not swimming) run variation.

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com

You may have heard of aqua jogging as a running alternative during injury. Aqua jogging can be beneficial for all athletes, however, as a way to prevent injury that can be common during endurance sports from the stress and repetition on your muscles and joints.

When considering aqua jogging, you should know that replacing road and trail running with aqua jogging completely won’t give you the same results. Missy Kuck, coach at Austin Aquatics and Sports Academy, has seen the benefits of adding it into a training regimen in her athletes.

“I do believe you can supplement your training regiment with aqua jogging and see benefits,” she shares. “It all depends on your situation to determine how many aqua jogging sessions you might add to your weekly routine.”

If you are injured, you will want to aqua jog more often, as other activities may cause pain, however, if you are looking to add it to your routine, Kuck notes that you’ll want to monitor your heart rate to make sure you are getting an adequate workout. Not only will aqua jogging help reduce the impact placed on your body when you’re running on the roads or trails, but the resistance from the water will also give an upper-body workout.

To get started, all you will need is an aqua jogging or flotation belt. Then, you’ll want to make sure you have proper form, which Kuck breaks down below:

  1. Keep your upper body upright and body vertically aligned, leaning forward slightly. “One big mistake made in aqua jogging is leaning forward too far. You want to keep your trunk/core tight and aligned from your head to your hips. The biggest mistake seen in aqua jogging is when people flex forward or bend forward at the hips trying to simulate this ‘forward lean’ that is practiced on land.”
  2. Make sure your elbows are bent about 90 degrees. “Your arm swing is bringing thumb from hip to water surface, keeping the motion compact. Be careful not to cross mid-line or reach forward with your hands for stabilization. Allow your core to stabilize your body as you attempt a solid vertical position. It may be tricky at first, as we all are prone to using our hands for sculling [treading water with arms out horizontally on both sides] and balance when in the water.”
  3. For your leg motion, be sure to lift your upper leg 70-80 degrees hip flexion, keep knee flexed 90 degrees with ankle flexed. “Push a flat foot directly underneath you, being sure you are not overreaching forward too far. After pushing downwards allow your leg to swing back, extending the knee and hips slightly (not too much—this is a common mistake). On the return, lift your heel towards your bottom quickly and simultaneously drive the knee upwards so your leg returns to the 70-80-degree hip flexion posture you started in. When you are varying the workout to hit a certain target heartrate, you can increase the cadence of your knee drive to raise your heartrate.”