Running Research: Deep Water Running

Deep water running is often completed when a runner is injured or when a runner wants to take up cross training and freshen up the legs for harder workouts. If you haven’t done it, it involves getting a running vest (commonly known as an aqua jogger). It actually can be a refreshing change of pace to cross training and a way to keep the legs fresh.

How to help your training: The 11 subjects were able to maintain their cardiovascular fitness over about a month for a 5K (3 miles). Use this as a taper or cross training workout to keep legs fresh but maintain your fitness. This is a great option if you are having little nagging pain with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or heel problems. Pick an area such as arms, knee lift or kick through every 10 minutes when in the pool to keep focused.

My experience: I have found aqua jogging to be a nice change of pace from the pounding of the pavement if I am training for 5K-10K races or need to have fresh legs from a race. It definitely has been beneficial if I am injured. It is best to try it out before a workout to see how your legs adjust. Some people may feel flat the next day. As an FYI, hot water can drain the legs and leave you with that tired feeling. I have found that after doing this for an extended period (a few weeks), i get the “chest burning” after returning to regular running workouts, especially with cold weather.

Effect of 4 wk of deep water run training on running performance.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 May;29(5):694-9.


Department Health Promotion and Human Performance, University of Toledo, OH, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether trained competitive runners could maintain on-land running performance using 4 wk of deep water run training instead of on-land training. Eleven well-trained competitive runners (10 males, 1 female; ages, 32.5 +/- 5.4 yr; height, 179.8 +/- 9.3 cm; weight, 70.4 +/- 6.7 kg (mean +/- SD)) trained exclusively using deep water run training for 4 wk. Subjects trained 5-6 d.wk-1 for a total of 20-24 sessions (mean +/- SD, 22 +/- 1.5 sessions). Instruction and practice sessions were conducted prior to the training period. Before and after the deep water run training, subjects completed a 5-km race on the treadmill using a computer based system, a submaximal run at the same absolute workload to assess running economy, and a combined lactate threshold and maximal oxygen consumption test. No significant differences were found for (mean +/- SEM): 5-km run time (pre, 1142.7 +/- 39.5 s; post, 1149.8 +/- 36.9 s; P = 0.28), submaximal oxygen consumption (pre 44.8 +/- 1.2; post, 45.3 +/- 1.5; P = 0.47), lactate threshold running velocity (pre, 249.1 +/- 0.9 m.min-1; post, 253.6 +/- 6.3 m.min-1; P = 0.44), or maximal oxygen consumption (pre, 63.4 +/- 1.3; post, 62.2 +/- 1.3; P = 0.11). Also no differences were found among Global Mood State pre-training, each week during training, and post-training. Competitive distance runners maintained running performance using 4 wk of deep water run training as a replacement for on-land training.

By TRPrunner Posted in Blog

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