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Preventing Running Injuries with Water Training

In many fitness locker rooms, you hear “land” runners of both sexes complain that they can’t run anymore due to the wear and tear the sport has taken on the joints of the lower body.


This provides a great opportunity for the Certified WaterART Sports Specialist to advertise the benefits of water running to people wanting to run in a safer yet effective environment. Programs may be developed to attract new members to a group exercise program or simply  to provide more intense programs for those who want to work harder with water exercise.


Injury prevention is an important ingredient with any training program and that is true especially for runners.

A significant amount of training related injuries are attributed to individual differences in runners regarding their ‘orthopaedic ‘limit. Rates of injury appear to be high in runners who exceed their orthopaedic limit. This means they have performed an unsafe number of ‘foot strikes’ (impact or contact with the ground) in their training program. Reality is that running will inevitably bring injuries to the lower extremities especially when training is primarily only for cardiovascular fitness.


Facts about land runners:
**66% of ALL runners will experience a running related injury over the next 12 months.
**Running on land in excess of 56 km per week increases the chance of injury by more than 55%
**A runner will typically hit the ground between 800 and 2000 times per mile

**A marathon is 26 miles, 385 yards or 42.159km.

**To balance out the muscles and to prevent injury, runners need to take time to balance their musculature.

**The water is an excellent place because of the support of the water and natural massage effects and hydrostatic pressure.

Typically tight muscles that need Stretching for runners

  • Erector Spinae ( low back)

  • Adductors (inner thighs)

  • Hamstrings (back of upper thigh)

  • Gastrocnemeus/Soleus (calves)

  • Iliopsoas (hip flexor)

  • Quadriceps (front thighs)

  • Gluteus Maximus (buttocks)

  • Piriformis (hip rotators)

  • IT band stretch (outer thigh sheath)

  • Pectorals (chest)

  • Anterior deltoid (front of shoulder)

  • Biceps (front of upper arm)

  • Sternocleidomastoid (sides of neck)

  • Upper trapezius (back of neck)


Typically weak muscles that need Strengthening for runners

  • Rhomboids (upper back)

  • Obliques (waist abdominals)

  • Triceps ( back of upper thigh)

  • Latissimus Dorsi (back)

  • Hamstrings (back of upper thigh)

  • Gluteus Medius and Minimus ( hip abductors or outer thighs)

  • Tibialis Anterior (shin)

By adding a deep water running to the training mix, a runner may:

  • Improve or maintain fitness without the risk associated with repetitive impact.

  • Improve biomechanics for running especially upper body mechanics.

  • Strengthen weaker muscles, stretch tighter muscles.

  • Train at a higher intensity.

  • Decrease thermal stress (especially during cold winters).

  • Improve blood flow to muscles and speed up recovery between land based workouts.

  • Overcome training boredom through creative workouts.

Running on land may be an easy jog for some as a means of staying in shape while others choose to run a marathon or compete in sprints. 

No matter the choice of running it can be a very solitary yet time consuming commitment. 

Even when people run in pairs or groups there is very little conversation during the run.

Water running may easily provide social and stress relief and variety with a more balanced training approach.


There may be many goals of any program; however, running programs will be largely designed to

Provide Motivation by cross training

Prevent injury via muscle balancing (more posture, stretching and strengthening)

Provide Social interaction to prevent boredom

Provide programming and keep an athlete moving especially when weather or outdoor conditions are not conducive ( snow, cold, ice, rain)

More information on Running clinics click here


Running in the water will help an athlete in many ways to compliment their sport especially if they are running still on land. Athletes may choose shallow and/or deep water training. An athlete may replace some training with a sports specific running workout or train for several months to maintain their fitness level or rehabilitate (if they are injured). Review the boot camp program for an example of a shallow water workout. 


Host an Aquatic Running Clinic or CEC Workshop with Leigh De Groot  click here for information
or email us

Information on Home Study Program click here

Articles - Get the Runners in the Water!

                 Why Start an Aquatic Running Program

If you want to download Running Clinic with Leigh De Groot  DPT click here

Check Out DVD056 - Aquatic Running Workout click here

Deep H20 Workout Kit click here

Why wear an Aquatic Fitness shoe click here

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