Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Aqua Jogging Tips

>> Thursday, April 28, 2016

No one WANTS to aqua jog, but there are times injuries deem it necessary. I've been in the pool for hour-long aqua jogging sessions 9 times over the first 3 weeks of April before throwing in the towel to try 100% rest this past weekend. I feel like I learned a few things, so here are my 8 aqua jogging tips.

ONE: Have a workout.

Aqua jogging is about the worst thing to do. I can run on a treadmill for an hour and not flinch. I can hop on my bike trainer for a while as long as I have a TV. But aqua jogging can get boring FAST. Having a specific workout to do helps the time go by faster than just hopping in the pool and moving your legs in a running fashion for 60 minutes.

Here's a post with some of my initial workouts (near the bottom), and here's a second post with some more. The 3 workouts I ended up liking the most were 40 minutes of 1 min hard / 1 min easy, ladders with short rest times (like efforts of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes with 15 sec rest), and 3 x (8 x 90 sec hard, 30 sec easy) with 2 mins of "easy" between sets of 8. I always warm up and cool down for 5-15 minutes, and I add in other random efforts (often starting and/or ending with 5-10 x 30 sec hard/30 sec easy or 5-10 x 1 min hard/1 min easy) to make most of my workouts between 55 and 70 minutes.

TWO: Wear glasses or contacts.

I'm pretty blind without my eyewear. So I make sure to wear my glasses while aqua jogging so I can actually have things to look at around the pool. It helps with the boredom.

THREE: Wear a new(ish) suit.

During a 70 minute aqua jog near the beginning of the month, I was still wearing an old suit, and my "boys" jostled around too much during the workout. I actually had a little uncomfortable chaffing on "righty." Yes. Really. It hurt for the next 24 hours. This problem was solved by wearing a newer, tighter fitting suit where the elastic wasn't so worn out. Fellas, you've been warned!

FOUR: Pick a small "floaty belt."

The 2 pools I've "jogged" at both have a wide assortment of belts to choose from. Both have some belts that were so wide/long that they'd wrap so far around my back and around my sides that my elbows would rub against them during the workout. I learned the smaller/shorter the foam floaty part of the belt, the more comfortable I'd be during the workout. (Save the bigger belts for the grannies floating around while catching up on the latest gossip.)

This belt is about as big as they come. See how you could rub your elbows on that?
Choose a smaller one. And look: someone with a butt smaller than mine!

FIVE: Wear a lap watch, and start it on the minute of the lap clock.

This is actually 2 related points rolled into one. First of all, I like to wear a lap watch to make sure I have my overall time correct. And if you're doing any longer intervals, it helps me note what minute I'm on. When I do a ladder aqua jog workout (like that 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 workout listed in the first point above), it's easy to watch the big lap swimming clock for the short 1 or 2 minute efforts. But I like to hit the lap button on my watch for the 4 and 5 minute efforts so I don't start thinking "wait, was that 3 minutes or 4 minutes?"

And make sure to start your workout (or at least the main sets of your workout) at the same time as the start of the minute on the lap clock, or it will just be annoying. My first few workouts got old when I would glance at that clock and have to think "OK, it's the start of minute, which means I have 12 more seconds left because I started my watch 12 seconds after the start of the minute." It seems minor, but it got to me.

SIX: Choose a pool with a bigger (meaning "longer") deep end.

The pool at my normal gym has a deep end that's about 1/3 of the length of the pool (maybe 8 yards). The pool at the college where I teach has a deep end that's about 1/2 of the length of the pool (around 12 yards). (The college pool has a diving program, so I think the deep end is larger because of that.) The longer deep end of the college pool is MUCH nicer for aqua jogging because it's less turning around. It actually got annoying going to my normal gym after a few workouts in the college pool.

SEVEN: Drag a buddy along for the workout.

One of my 9 workouts this past month was with a running buddy, and it made the time go by a LOT faster. This is no surprise. The workout maybe wasn't AS intense, but that wasn't the goal.

Leah and I pre-aqua jog (as seen in this post).

EIGHT: Plan your workouts during other scheduled events at the pool.

This relates to #2 and #7. I learned it's much less boring when I can watch swim instructors teaching 10-year-olds how to dive a few lanes over. Or when they're teaching 6-year-olds how to swim under water for part of a length. It's fun to watch! And a couple of times on Thursdays in the college pool, the entire female lacrosse team would come in to cross-train with their coach. They were loud, silly, and entertaining for anyone in the pool (but usually visibly annoying to the lifeguard on duty). They helped make the time go by faster.

If you're looking for aqua jogging tips on form, check out this post from earlier this month where I had coaches, trainers, and other fit friends give me some pointers. I also mention a few workouts in that post.

For more "Thirsty Thursday" posts that highlight workouts, body science, and all kinds of interesting information, CLICK HERE.


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