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Land Runners -Do you have Injuries?

 Many “land” runners complain that they can’t run anymore due to the wear and tear the sport has taken on the joints especially in the lower body. This provides an excellent opportunity for an Aquatic Running Program to be advertised at your pool. Take this time to demonstrate the benefits of water exercise using advanced workout techniques. As a bonus an aquatic running program may even attract a new clientele to your pool.

A Water running program offers the opportunity for runner’s to increase training time using a safer environment eliminating the increased risk associated with vertical stress and impact from running on land. Many runners have known for years that water yields protection and faster recovery at times of injury. However what most people fail to appreciate is the type of training that they should be getting while in the water.


Use Pool time wisely:

Runners coming to the pool are already effective with their sport so why waste precious training time doing the same old, same old running moves mostly containing a lot of forward movement and possible tethering to the side of the pool? Working in the water can and should add a new dimension of training such as improving the biomechanics of running with better ROM using all three planes of movement while emphasising correct body alignment. Water Training provides core training 100% of the time when done correctly. This is the place to start re-training for improved posture and re-balancing movement by improving flexibility for the tight musculature and adding strength to the weaker muscles. In other words improve the body as a whole instead of just trying to run faster. If the former is taken care of in a functional and effective manner the latter WILL be achieved.  


Injury prevention is an important ingredient in any training program for runners.

No two runners are exactly equal – some are naturally born to the task while others have to push to get there. Rates of injury are highest in runners who exceed their orthopaedic limit. This means they have performed an unsafe number of ‘foot strikes’ (with the ground) in their training program.  The reality is that the impact felt at every foot strike will eventually bring injury to even the most conditioned athlete. If the running program only includes training the cardiovascular system (i.e. running and more running) injury to the lower extremities will occur sooner or later. 

One of the greatest benefits of water training is that the body may be completely unloaded in terms of vertical stress as illustrated with deep water running. If deep water is not an option the athlete may work at between 25-50% their body weight (chest to waist depth) when in shallow water with the feet in contact with the pool bottom. 


Running, which is one of the easiest moves to coordinate in the water, provides a more intense workout especially when travel is incorporated. Since water offers 14 times more resistance than air, (without adding equipment), the result is total improved strength. Travelling forwards is the norm on land but traveling backwards, sideways, and using patterns of movement is safer in the water. All movement creates inertia to add more intensity to the workout. The bonus is the core and balance is challenged in every direction. Moving through the water is also representative of how the body moves on land  i.e. - it travels. Basically anyone can learn to run and the best place to start is in the water. 


WaterART recommends wearing correct aquatic footwear for both shallow and deep depths to provide traction for travelling and aid in downward resistance. Shoes help to complete the foot strike or landing in shallow so that the calf muscles are actively stretched between strides. In deep water the shoe adds size to the foot to provide more water “purchase” to the move. In both depths cueing to accentuate the heel press down will help to prevent calf cramps.


A Deep Water Running (DWR) modality requires that the runner use some type of buoyancy device such as a buoyancy belt, a noodle, ankle cuffs, or arm weights. Buoyancy equipment allows for hands free movement to mimic the same biomechanical action as running on land. The key is to keep the body in a comfortable yet relaxed position and lean from the heels so that the body doesn’t break at the waist or cheat posture to compromise back health,


The WaterART Running Program provides a balanced template for training

The WaterART program will focus on a well balanced blend of aquatic exercises to provide exercise safety and efficacy to enhance the program that the already trained runner works at 3-5 times per week on land.


A basic assessment for a land runner shows the areas requiring improvement:



Runners are typically tight in the overworked muscles such as Iliopsoas, quadriceps, gastrocnemius/soleus, hamstrings, erector spinae, and IT band. Water can improve flexibility because these tight muscles may be actively stretched and mobility improved by simply taking all the basic movements slower through their normal range of motion. Also, a lower body jog movement may be simultaneously added to an upper body stretch such as an arm drag where one arm or both arms are outstretched while the lower body maintains a steady run or jog. The outstretched arm will stretch the tight muscles of the pectorals and anterior deltoid to help improve upper body posture. At the same time the lower body receives a more intense CV bout because the legs must work harder to drag the arms through the water. Additionally, core stability is challenged because the arms are not assisting to balance of the body. .



Strengthening the weak muscles such as the abdominals, hamstrings, tibialis anterior, posterior deltoids, Latissimus dorsi, gluteus medius and minimus and triceps are easily incorporated into a running program. Side movement can be safely and easily incorporated to improve with hip stabilization - a must for all runners.

For upper body strengthening sets jogging can be utilized to maintain balance. Additionally cardio work can be used for active recovery in between these muscle sets. Here the runner may incorporate their favourite basic move for interval training to target the many components that comprise fitness. A great way to cross train their way towards a pain free body that can run for many more miles and years to come.


Host an Aquatic Running Clinic click here

For More Information on Booking an Aquatic Running Clinic click here

Check Out DVD056 - Aquatic Running Workout click here

Deep H20 Workout Kit click here



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