You might think that an injury to your knee, foot or ankle would put an end to your marathon training. However, it is possible for runners to keep their training on track while allowing the injury to heal. Pool running, which is also sometimes known as aqua jogging, is a good way to train when you need to keep the weight off your feet.
Get the Go-Ahead From Your Physio
Whenever you experience a sports injury, it's a good idea to consult a physiotherapist to find out the extent of the damage and how long you can expect your training to be disrupted. If your physio recommends that you stop running, ask whether pool running is a suitable alternative for you.
Get the Right Equipment
You'll need access to a pool, a swimsuit and a floatation device to keep your head and neck above the surface while your legs move through the water. Many running stores sell these kind of devices to help injured athletes train in the water.
Perfect Your Technique
Strap your floatation device around your torso and enter the deep end of the pool. Keeping your body vertical, move your arms and legs as though you are running on land. You should find that you are able to move steadily along the surface of the water, although your stride rate will be lower than usual due to the water resistance. Using this technique, practice running laps around the deep end of the pool, turning around before you reach water shallow enough for your feet to touch the bottom.
Design a Training Plan
When you run in the pool, your heart rate will likely be lower than when you run on land, even when you feel like you are working just as hard. To get the cardiovascular training that you need to achieve peak performance in a marathon, you need to push yourself through high-intensity interval training. Begin by aqua running as fast as you can for one minute, followed by a period of slower jogging to recover. As your fitness improves, make the high-intensity intervals longer and the gaps between them shorter.
Don't Rush Back to Dry Land
Many runners are keen to get back to running on dry land, but returning to pounding the pavement to quickly after an injury could set back your recovery. Don't return to dry land running until your physio tells you it is safe to do so.