Thursday, 16 September 2010

Pool Running

I heard a rumour that it was possible to get a special belt that allowed you to run in water. I had images in my head of those massive harnesses they put on injured horses to allow them to have "hydrotherapy". Not perturbed by this, I googled it, and came across what is effectively a big pool float with a strap and a buckle. Not quite as exciting as I thought. However, as I had spoken to a number of people who had tried it and said it was a brilliant workout - especially for injured runners - I thought I'd order one anyway and give it a shot.

Just as a matter of clarification and for anyone who is going to YouTube "Pool Running", it's not the same as Pool Cover Running, which is definitely not good for fitness or injured runners but is excellent for drunken adventures. No, what it is is doing the same movement as you would when you run normally, but just doing it underwater.

To offer an analogy: you know when you see a swan gliding effortlessly on the surface of a lake looking beautifully serene, even though you know that under the water their legs are going like the clappers? Well, it's absolutely nothing like that whatsoever. Your whole body is going is like the clappers whilst your head is bobbing around all over the shop as you try to maintain a proper running technique, and every time you turn around it's like you've momentarily been put in slow motion until you can get back into the rhythm again. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most exhausting thing I have ever done in water. 15 minutes of going up and down the deep end of the pool and I was knackered! I think the problem was that I had gone in all enthusiastic and excitable and what I had done was not merely pool running, but pool sprinting!

What was also good was that the pool was reasonably empty, and I didn't get too many funny looks. Although one very amused lady swam past at least six times before finally stopping to ask "What are you actually doing?!" From the surface it probably looks as though you're doing a very poor doggy paddle!

Nonetheless, it is indeed an excellent workout and I think with the addition of a bit of music or a running partner to get you through, it's a perfect way to keep the running fitness up!

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