Not long ago, I believed, if I couldn’t run I wouldn’t be able to maintain any fitness at all. All I would be able to do is sit on the sofa or go for a walk. I was ignorant to any other sort of exercise out there, and convinced nothing would get me fit other than running. Turns out, this isn’t the case. Once I realised I would be off running for a while, I looked to see what else I could do that didn’t put weight on my legs. This is when I discovered the power of aqua jogging, or aqua running, whatever makes you feel better.
When you mention aqua jogging to most people they either think of old ladies waddling round the pool, or like the comparison my mother made, little ducklings bobbing their heads back and forth as they waddle across the grass. Doesn’t exactly make it sound an appealing mode of exercise, does it?
At first, I was reluctant to try it, opting for the dreaded bike instead. I was convinced the bike was the only other option, therefor I would have to mentally torture myself for weeks on end on the bike. This is exactly what I started to do. Enduring a mind boggling 90 minutes on the spin bike…without music! Boredom, and a very sore bum were the main results of this. I felt, if I wasn’t able to do what I love and enjoy, then I may as well make torture an even harder challenge. And this is exactly what I did! Takes a committed runner to be willing to do that in order to maintain fitness.
Luckily this only lasted a few weeks. I then turned to aqua jogging, and surprisingly, I enjoyed it! After I got my head round the way I looked, and realised no one actually cared, I began to enjoy it! Sessions became a lot more enjoyable, because, in my head I actually felt like I was running, just in the water instead. If I had to be a hobbler on crutches on the land, I wanted to at least still be a runner in the water. This way I was able to maintain my label as a runner, just a runner of the water. Aqua jogging actually became a mode of pain release, and put me in an all-round better mood. I was able to expend the energy I built up sitting down all day, whilst being able to move completely off my feet. Having no weight through my legs actually began to reduce the pain; the feeling of being weightless gave me a sense of release and took my mind off my legs.
My trust in aqua jogging took a turn for the better when I found out about the infamous Kelly Holmes. Having trained solely by aqua jogging for months she then returned to the land only 6 weeks before getting bronze in the Olympics. I’m not saying I’m expecting that result, I’m just saying there is hope that it won’t take years to get back to running fitness.
I have also found the ability to believe in the cross-training process. It has given me the opportunity to strengthen areas I may never even think about strengthening. Aqua Jogging has done the unthinkable thing of strengthening my arms. Never did I think this would be possible!
Although it may seem difficult at first, building trust in cross training and learning to enjoy what you can do, instead of dwelling on what you can’t, is a very important step. Once you have learnt to do this, your time off running will fly by, you won’t lose anywhere near as much fitness as you think, and you’ll come back stronger. At least with stronger arms that is! Just remember to believe that running is not the only method of maintaining your fitness. Even though it is your target discipline you can work towards your goals in running, through other activities. You can continue to be a runner without actually running.
P.s. What makes it even better is you can do it on holiday, in the pool or in the sea. Don’t worry if there isn’t enough land to go running on.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!