In Today’s Things That Suck: Water Running

It’s official: I hurt my foot.

According to the sports ortho doctor woman, the joint at the base of my big toe is inflamed. According to the sports ortho doctor woman, it’s unclear how that happened. It happened all of a sudden in one workout last week and it’s not like I did anything wrong or overtrained or recovered poorly or wore shitty shoes or the billions of other things you can fuck up training for a marathon. (I mean, obviously, I probably did one of them or several, but there’s nothing that points to a specific poor decision on my part.) It just happened.

She said there wasn’t anything to do but rest it. I asked for how long and she said three to four weeks. To which my response was: Yeah….about that.

Seeing as Boston is in less than four weeks now (ahhhhhh), the revised plan is: rest from running, throw every anti-inflammatory at it, ice ice ice until I lose the nerves in my other toes, and do lots of biking if it doesn’t hurt, Alter-G running (which I had totally forgotten about, but am now hoping will solve all my problems), mild panic attacking, and water running. I’m not completely sold on this plan. I’m pretty sure my foot is slightly more sore today than yesterday, but it’s like staring at the sun and trying to decide if it’s more bright or less bright than before — also a good idea. Since there’s not another better plan, though, this is the one we’re sticking with.

Yesterday, I went to the YMCA to water run. It was just like this, minus the smiling:

I should probably just give up running and get into water aerobics. They look happier.
I should probably just give up running and get into water aerobics. They look happier.

What is water running?

Water running suffers from the fact that it looks an awful lot like what those guys who used to wear gold chains in the pool at the 24 Hour Fitness did, until someone had a heart attack and they had to shut that pool down.

Water running is actually supposed to be running — not walking or jumping or waving your arms around — with the same mechanics of running as much as possible. But in water. The idea is to simulate running without impact so you can train through injury (ahhh) or train high mileage pre-injury. It is boring and it sucks. It is also highly effective, because if done correctly it mimics running and keeps you aerobically in shape to run.

(While I was going back and forth in the deep end of the pool yesterday, I was trying to decide why exactly it sucks so much more than either running or swimming. I have not yet come up with an answer. Any insight will be appreciated as something to think about during my next session.)

How do you water run?

You do it in deep water, first off. Your feet shouldn’t touch the ground.

Maintain running form, which is hard, but don’t bend too much over — a slight lean, I think, is how most people operate — and don’t overextend your legs. I found it’s really easy to accidentally start treading water shittily, waving your hands around and doing a type of scissor kick.

It’s particularly easy to lose form if you don’t wear an Aquajogger belt. Lots of people think it’s harder without a belt, which is true — it is harder not to drown. But, I’m of the belief that your body then focuses on not drowning instead of focusing on maintaining running form.

With the belt and the floating of the water, it’s also easy then to go really easy. Most tips suggest keeping cadence high and doing harder efforts mixed in to get your heart rate up.

Don’t run into the women doing acqua-aerobics. Or small children.

This video is ok:

So, yesterday, I followed all these directions and went to the Y to do 50′ of water running with some 10 x 30″ pickups and 10 x 1′ pickups. Now, our YMCA isn’t like some other people’s YMCA, where apparently you can just get offered sponsorships while you’re swimming. (I sort of wish I went to Beth’s Y.) Our Y has the original weight machines, like from when weight lifting was invented as a thing with actual weights instead of just rocks. And our Y has a large and dedicated water jumping population. I don’t really know how else to describe the enthusiastic jumping and swinging arms and hanging on to the wall to do strange ballet-style kicking. It’s some kind of workout you must only learn about once you hit a certain age. Oh, and yeah, there were kids there too.

I’m being super judgemental obviously, which isn’t nice, but 1. I haven’t had the capacity to be nice in weeks and 2. I’m really just judging this one woman — who, as a side note, was creating a wake with her jumping routine — because she was probably about 50 years old and wearing a large pink headband that said “PRINCESS” in sparkles, which is about 46 years too old for anything you wear to say Princess unless you are actually a Princess, in which case leave us commoners to our fucking Y. Is nothing sacred.

I huffed and puffed and weaved and ducked and was dripping sweat — even though I was in a pool, I could tell it was sweat and not water. And, the people doing their insane jumping routines kept staring at me, since I was obviously the craziest one in the pool. Don’t I know water is for water sports, land is for running? Or, they may have just been looking at me because I turn bright red when I workout and look super awesome and refreshed, just like this:

This is how I always look after I go swimming.
This is how I always look after I go swimming.

20 thoughts on “In Today’s Things That Suck: Water Running

  1. I can’t stop laughing about this: “she was probably about 50 years old and wearing a large pink headband that said “PRINCESS” in sparkles, which is about 46 years too old for anything you wear to say Princess unless you are actually a Princess, in which case leave us commoners to our fucking Y. Is nothing sacred.” NO! Nothing is sacred.

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