Friday, April 8, 2016

5 Thoughts About Pool Running

As a runner, there will most likely be some point in time when you need to take a break from the road..be it due to fatigue, illness, injury, or just because you want to. If you want to maintain fitness, there are a lot of options. While dealing with plantar fasciitis and training for the Big Sur Marathon, I was really nervous about not running. My sports medicine doctor, as well as several of my running friends, suggested pool running. I decided to jump in and found it to be a worthy substitute for pounding the pavement.

Have you considered pool running as an alternative workout? I'm no expert on pool running, but I've got some thoughts to share with you.

5 Thoughts About Pool Running

Pool running is simple, but it is hard. I don't want to scare anyone off here. Let me just say that it is not as difficult as actual swimming. You don't even need to know how to swim to pool run. For pool running, I wear a floatation belt, but I have read that some people pool run freestyle. That would be really hard. My goal is to keep moving forward, and by wearing the belt, I don't have to worry as much about my form. You want to stay upright, just like you do when you run.

When I pool run, I just get in the pool and literally "jog" forward. With the water resistance, you don't move very fast. That can be deceiving. I try to take short strides and get my legs moving as if I were running. I make sure to lift my knees. My hands are cupped and I move my arms back and forth in the water. I don't stop the entire time. Make sure you are working and getting your heart rate up. Sometimes I'm puffing. My face actually sweats a little bit. When I finish my workout, I'm tired, as if I went for a long run. And I want to eat all the food.

Plan on your pool runs to be the same length of time you would be running on the road.

Pool running is boring.  Like treadmill running, you're not going anywhere for a while. At the suggestion of my pool running friends, I purchased a waterproof iPod shuffle and it was the best money I've spent. Actually, the only money I've spent, except for having to buy a new iPhone after I drowned my previous model when I trusted a waterproof phone case. Trust me on this. Get the shuffle. I listen to my running playlist, which I associate with some pretty great road runs. Those songs really motivate me. Today I had the thought that this would be a good time to try podcasts as well.

Notice the waterproof iPod shuffle clipped to my strap. The earbuds are waterproof as well. Winning!
The benefit to pushing yourself through a boring workout is that it mentally prepares you for those tough miles on a long distance run or race. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Even thought pool running is boring, I had the thought that even more boring would be the lifeguard job. Sometimes I'm alone in the diving well, and I get my very own babysitter lifeguard. They're all young adults who won't take their eyes off me but won't make eye contact with me. It's a little unnerving. Maybe I remind them of their mom. But seriously, how boring to watch me jog in the water. Most of them keep pacing around the pool. I'm sure they'd fall asleep in the chair otherwise.

There's chlorine. When I go home after my pool running sessions, I immediately shower and wash my hair, but I still smell chlorine for hours after. Normally I like the smell of bleach. Being somewhat of a germaphobe, that chlorine smell just feels reassuring. But after pool running this smell stays with me for a long time. I think it permeates my nostrils. When I'm done at the pool, I kind of get a headache and feel a little queasy too. Is it the workout? Or the chlorine? Should I be fueling during my pool runs?

Then there's my skin, which now resembles tissue paper. I liberally lube up my skin with shea butter after a swim but my skin just soaks it up like a sponge. My iPhone doesn't even recognize my wrinkly thumbprint when I try to unlock my phone!

In the morning, there are a lot of elderly swimmers. It's kind of like a geriatric happy hour. I'm usually the youngest person there. While I'm jogging around the dive well, I have to share the pool with the pool noodlers, the elderly women who drift back and forth on their foam noodles. They gossip and talk about all their maladies. I've heard them talking about knee replacements, whose funeral they went to lately, their grandkids...and I think to myself: is that my future? Horrors! But I don't want to be a pool noodler! On the other hand, at least they're moving, right?

5 Thoughts About Pool Running

I'm lucky I get to go pool running. At any given time, there are plenty of injured runners, and I've learned that a lot of folks don't have access to a pool. The park district in my town has one indoor pool, and I feel really fortunate that I get to use the diving well. There are only 2 mornings per week that the diving well is free, and that's when I go. The lap pool is open every morning. I've never done pool running in the lap lanes. I'm not sure how well that would work because it's much shallower in the lap pool and most likely my feet would touch the bottom of the pool. Plus the lap swimmers probably wouldn't be happy with me sharing the lane.

I've been pool running for about 3 weeks and my PF has calmed down nicely. I don't know if it's time off my feet or if the motion in the water is helpful, but whatever it is I am grateful. Most likely I'll be continuing with the pool running for a while after Big Sur. It's not a bad backup plan at all.

5 Thoughts About Pool Running


Here are some links to articles on pool running, if you want to learn more.
Aqua Jogging For Runners
Head For the Pool
Pool Running: Why You're Doing it Wrong and How to Pool Run To Get Faster
A Nine Week Water Running Plan to Stay in Shape While Injured

Have you ever tried pool running? Any suggestions for funny running podcasts I could listen to? Any great body lotion to combat chlorine-induced dry skin?

I'm linking up with the DC Trifecta for Friday Five. Today's theme is fitness. I'll be fittin' this post right in with the theme... Anyways, Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia host this fun gathering! Check it out!












this post contains affiliate links.

77 comments :

  1. I give you a lot of kudos for taking it to the pool! It isn't easy, on many different levels. I'm hoping you have glorious weather at Big Sur (not hard there) and are able to enjoy every mile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The weather has got to be an improvement on what we have right now. Seriously, it is snowing. Again.

      Delete
  2. Really, you're actually "floating" while running.....I assumed you'd be in the shallow end, with your feet on the pool bottom. That certainly ups the challenge! I have a huge aversion to the smell of bleach. I don't know how I survived four years of swim meets when our son was in high school....I guess I was so focused on watching him that I became oblivious to the smell. I want to do a tri someday, but my swimming skills are non-existent....and a huge obstacle for me is actually what the water will do to my hair. Seriously. Go you, Wendy! You're a beast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The whole point of pool running is to be non-weight bearing. So it wouldn't make sense for my feet to be on the bottom of the pool.

      Delete
    2. Can you see me #facepalming right now ;-) I thought it was for the water resistance and the buoyancy would alleviate the weight-bearing thing. Thanks for the clarification ;-)

      Delete
  3. I'm confused. I thought pool running was using lap lanes and touching the bottom of the pool. You have been very wise to do this while preparing for Big Sur. Pounding the pavement on race day should be easier since you have put in so much work. By the way, when I swim, often I feel queasy and usually need to eat alot afterwards to get rid of that feeling. While I don't drink the chlorinated water, I am convinced that it ouses in through my pores and makes me feel icky.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The whole idea is to take the load off your feet, which is why you have to "run" in deep water where you can't touch bottom. The resistance makes it a challenge.

      Delete
  4. I am excited to open our pool so I can do some more water exercises. It is nice that you have an indoor pool though. I would much rather use that. I suppose I could join our local Y, they have one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so grateful to have access to the indoor pool! I didn't realize how unusual that is for people until I started talking about pool running.

      Delete
  5. This post is so timely for me right now. I've been doing Aquatic PT for my hip and just Pool Walking is hard. I can't imagine running. Last session they turned the current machine on and I had to walk against it- it was ridic. I also do squats and pool burpees (yes, that's a thing). I am EXHAUSTED by the time I get out. I have to take a nap when I get home. I'm a weirdo and love the smell of chlorine.. which is weird because I hate bleach. I think pool running/walking is a great workout because it challenges your whole body. My core definitely feels stronger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pool burpees? Oh my lord, don't let my coach hear about those...

      Delete
  6. I tried pool running (that is where the Suz stance came from) when I strained my hamstring 2 years ago, but I just couldn't deal with the boringness and I never felt like I got the technique right. Spin works better for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought that I'd rather cycle too but nothing simulates running like running, right?

      Delete
  7. You are doing great with this! I think everyone does this slightly different, and that is fine. I would use the lap lanes sometimes and turn around about half-way when my feet touched. I learned to turn my belt around backwards to stay more upright and not lean forward. I used Karen's HR monitor, and would "sprint" often to keep it in the zone I wanted. I worked up to 2:45 non-stop and would hydrate and re-fuel. They allowed me to keep my supplies on the edge. Being in the pool and relatively cool, it's easy forget about this. I may try this on my own pool during the summer. As luck would have it, when I was forced to do this -- it was too cold. Keep on keeping on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a nifty trick about wearing the belt backwards. I'll have to try that! Karen offered me her HR monitor but I didn't think I'd need it. Who knew it would be a staple in my training plan?

      Delete
  8. We had swim classes in middle school, and there was so much chlorine in that pool, I sat in classes post-gym class and my skin itched and itched. It didn't matter how much lotion I used after the showers, my skin was so dry on those days. I understand why they had to use so much chlorine, but my skin hated it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My skin doesn't love the chlorine, that's for sure!

      Delete
  9. I had no idea that there were waterproof iPods. What a great solution to taking some of the boredom out of pool workouts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me either. Until I drowned my phone and several people told me about that. Best.thing.ever.

      Delete
  10. I've never heard of pool running, but it sure sounds useful when recovering from an injury!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really been the best thing I've done. Altho the cycling is right up there too!

      Delete
  11. Have you ever tried Amlactin? A dermatologist suggested it, and it is the only lotion that has ever worked when my skin is dry. You can find it at drugstores and they have a few different formulas. I know there is a moisturizing body lotion and hydrating body cream. You should try it, it has always helped me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't tried Amlactin but I will look for it now! Thank you!

      Delete
  12. I never did pool running while injured but I have swam when injured! I agree, it is geriatric happy hour. This is mean to say but it was not fun showering with them after. Oh and there was a guy who wore so much cologne that when he jumped in the water I could SMELL it underwater! Which obviously I wasn't breathing so that means I was obviously tasting it somehow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, trust me, I shower when I get home.

      And there's a lady there who wears baby lotion which I can smell over the chlorine!

      Delete
  13. i have never tried pool running but our gym has a fabulous pool! a waterproof ipod is a great suggestion! might ahve to get one for the beach!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've never done any pool running, and I have to confess that I don't know how to swim.

    I'm glad you have found a good alternative to training! your marathon is so close and I'm sure you will do fantastic! I hope the pool running keeps on helping!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You wouldn't need to know how to swim to pool run, but if you have hydrophobia that would be an issue...

      Delete
  15. I haven't tried pool running, and I would love to see a photo of the flotation device. I swim laps and find it very complimentary to running.
    And the chlorine and dry skin points ? Yeah, agree 100%.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll post a picture in my weekly wrap. It's just a waist belt.

      Delete
  16. OMG this is so interesting! I'm freaking injured AGAIN because I didn't realize that hiking would destroy my stupid hips, and someone suggested pool running to me. I already swim around 4 times a week now that I can't run, but I've never tried pool running before. Did you buy the flotation belt, or did your pool have one? I use a pretty nice gym with a fully stocked pool, so I might have to check this out. They even have a "Wave Running" class on Mondays at 12, so I may go there first to learn a little more about it! Thanks for the tips and for making me realize this is something that runners actually do! :) And I'm so glad to hear that it's making your injury better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bought the flotation belt, but my pool had them. I didn't know! I got mine at Dicks.

      Check out the links at the end of this post--there's even one by the great Pfitzinger!

      Delete
  17. I'm not a fan of swimming, but I think I could get into pool running! I'm happy to hear it's helped your PF!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was always convinced that I never would like pool running, but it has really been the best thing I've done.

      Delete
  18. I am glad to hear you are getting relief from the PF :) I went to a pool last year that had a medical plan, but it was a long drive, which is why I am not doing it now. Everything close to me is very expensive.
    I would sometimes run and get bored and change to just a lot of scissor kicking and never stop moving, I would use my arms too and it was a very good work out. The resistance of the water kept my legs strong :) I think race is going to turn out really well for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From your lips to God's ears! I think if my foot behaves, everything else will fall into place.

      Delete
  19. I had to pool run once years ago when I tore a tendon in my ankle. The boredom nearly drove me insane! These days, now that waterproof MP3 players are available, I might be able to stomach it if I ever have to (hopefully I don't though!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The music is a lifesaver! Otherwise, I'd die of boredom.

      Delete
  20. Yeah you need to have deep water for pool running. Where I go the lane is super deep at one end then gets gradually shallower. I make sure to turn around before my feet scrape cuz that sucks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ouch! I haven't done pool running in the lap pool. For that very reason. We all know how injury prone I am.

      Delete
  21. I've never done pool running bc like you said it's boring! It does kind of seem old ladyish too but I hear that it's a great way to stay in running shape when you can't run.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. None of the old ladies pool run--it's all about the noodles...

      Delete
  22. kudos to you, you just don't give up! I think I would like to see this pool running in action, maybe you can add a clip next week :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll see if I can get one of the more friendly lifeguards to cooperate! LOL!

      Delete
  23. Call me crazy, I love smelling like chlorine. Reminds me of my effort. I am STARVING after a hard swim. Want to do SUP yoga with me this summer? Another step closer to full on swimming! It is great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to SUP with you! I'm taking a few extra random days off this summer, so let's make a date! And maybe you could join us for kayaking.

      Delete
  24. I have never really tried pool running, except for sortof running in place while watching my kids in a wave pool...I don't think that exactly counts. Geriatric happy hour....lol!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I Have never tried pool running, but I think it would be great for me as far as building strength. On another note, I did not know they make waterproof shuffles. You learn something new every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pool running has really helped keep me in running shape. You do miss the pounding, tho.

      Delete
  26. I heard so many great things about pool running Wendy, and I sometimes try it when I'm in the pool just to see. It actually works your muscles quite a bit! I think it's such a great thing that you're doing this and it does seem to help your PF - that's awesome. I'm not a big fan of chlorine either - but it comes with the territory:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still cannot believe how beneficial pool running has been!

      Delete
  27. i have no idea about what pool running was until this post. thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sorry, I snorted a little prune juice out of my nose when you said "geriatric happy hour"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure my cohorts at the pool are all prune juice drinkers too! :p

      Delete
  29. I tired. Honest I did. But I just could not find a way to like pool running when I was injured. So, sadly, it didn't happen. I stayed as active as I could but not in the pool.

    Thanks for sharing with the fitness health & happiness community. Have a great weekend Wendy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't say that I love it but anything that keeps me running is a-ok in my book! I just had to make it work for me, and music was the key.

      Delete
  30. I've never heard of pool running, so this post was very informative! Great job getting it done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank, Michelle! It's been a great alternative to pounding the pavement.

      Delete
  31. In college they had water aerobics for students, and it was a pretty good class. I remember my abs being sore for a few days afterwards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No sore abs after pool running but my glutes and hamstrings seem to get a workout!

      Delete
  32. I've done a bit of pool running too while injured, but it's just so boring - it feels so hard, and you're just going nowhere (made me even more frustrated than I was about being injured)... But if that's the only thing my body can handle, it's still better than nothing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a pretty good workout--and that's enough for me to keep going!

      Delete
  33. Will have to check out the waterproof iPod as I'm thinking about heading back to the pool for swim workouts in the summer. So great to hear your PF has calmed down and the time in the pool is helping you get stronger. Funny running podcast? Can't recommend any but I started listening to Running on Om - the host Julie is a yogi and a runner and she's interviewed a variety of people about different topics relating to mind, body, spirit connection. Check it out and let me know if you like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will do! Thanks for the recommendation!

      Delete
  34. I have never done pool running, but I probably should have years ago when I suffered with PF bad enough to have cortisone shots in both feet. If it happens again I will definitely be pool-bound.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've already had one shot, and most likely I will have one the week before Big Sur. I need to see how my 10 miler goes tomorrow. But I'm pretty sore after 6. The pool running has been just great.

      Delete
  35. I've never tried pool running despite belonging to a community pool! I usually listen to Spotify Running or FitRadio...both are great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do have WiFi ipod shuffles, so you could stream those channels. I just bought the basic iPod shuffle and use my iTunes playlist.

      Delete
  36. Pool running can be deathly boring. I should have invested in the ipod shuffle when I had to do it last year. It is definitely a godsend though when you are an injured runner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that's the key, right? A runner's gotta do what a runner's gotta do...

      Delete
  37. I wish I had been able to read this before I tried pool running last year! Its very intimidating to try without knowing what you're doing. I felt like I looked really weird. But it's a great way to stay in shape without running!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I first started pool running, I felt like I looked really weird too. But I'm over it now. The benefits are worth it!

      Delete
  38. Nice post. I have never tried pool running. Open pool time (and lanes) are tough to find in my small city. I am not a strong swimmer but I like to get in the water. I will keep pool running in mind one of these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been feeling pretty lucky about having access to an indoor pool. I didn't realize that was such an unusual thing!

      Delete