i pool run. aqua jogging = not allowed.

As I said in my last post.. I wanted to share with you guys a lil bit of what I’ve been relegated to since this fracture – pool running. Now just bear with me and my elitist-runner-ness for a second (I can’t shake it.. even after boots, air casts, and crutches!) and let me explain the difference between aquajogging and pool running. Because believe me, there’s a difference. 

jog |jäg|verb ( jogged jogging )[ intrans. run at a steady gentle pace, esp. on a regular basis as a form of physical exercise he began to jog along the road [as n. (jogging) try cycling or gentle jogging.

run |rən|verb ( running past ran |ran|past part. run )[ intrans. move at a speed faster than a walk, never having both or all the feet on the ground at the same time the dog ran across the road |she ran the last few yards, breathing heavily he hasn’t paid for his drinks—run and catch him.• run as a sport or for exercise I run every morning.• (of an athlete or a racehorse) compete in a race she ran in the 200 meters. [ trans. Dave has run 42 marathons.

Thank you iDictionary. 😀 OK.. so really those are just the the definitions for jog and run, no water or aqua involved. I’m not about hurting feelings or calling anyone out [unnecessarily] so I’m going to leave it at that and say that you know if you’re a runner or a jogger. You don’t need someone else to tell you. The same applies to pool running and aqua jogging – you’ll know. Just have faith, give it your best, and you’ll be just fine. 😉 Now.. down to the good stuff…

Injured or not, pool running can be a beneficial addition to your regular running and cross training regime. It allows you to go through the motions of running, while also being low-impact and non-weight bearing, giving your joints and bones a break from the constant pounding of running on pavement. Some people run in shallow water where they are actually touching the ground, and I’m sure that is also a great way to go about it.. but here I will be talking about deep water running because that is what I do and that’s what I know best!

Pool running: How do you do it?

The first thing you’re going to want is a waist float. This keeps your head above water and allows you to pool run for a sustained period of time. If you’re trying to emulate sprint work – like a track workout – you can go without the belt, but the workouts are typically shorter (though really intense) intervals. Fair warning: if you can’t swim to begin with.. USE A BELT!! The one I have is the AquaJogger brand.. and looks basically like this one (photo courtesy of AquaJogger’s website) 

You don’t NEED to buy your own belt (at least not right off the bat) – most gyms and pools have them along with the kick boards and the pool-buoys. I like having my own because it fits me just right and I can bring it with if I’m going to a hotel or something. They can be kinda pricey.. so it’s up to you.

The second thing you’re going to need is a game plan. How long do you want to stay in? Or better said.. how long can you take it? I’m not going to lie – pool running isn’t exactly entertaining.. at least not like running where you’re physically going places and seeing new things and interacting with the outside world. When I first started pool running.. I  thought it was about as fun as watching a creek freeze. Are you doing a workout? Steady? Ladders? Intervals? Here are a couple examples of what I do:

Steady = like a steady run. Even pace throughout, still working hard, but not so hard that you can’t sustain it for your x amount of time and still hold a conversation. 

Intervals  = An endless amount of combinations. I’ve done 3×8, 8×3, 1×20, 2×10, 10×3, 5×5, one song on x one song off x 5. Really – it’s whatever you want it to be. For me, I like intervals between 2 and 4 minutes.. longer than that and you tend to start slacking subconsciously. Here is an example of an 8×3 workout.


  • Warm up (important!) Enough to get your muscles loose and warm in the water. Think jogging pace 😉
  • 3 minutes hard (think ~10K pace)
  • 1 to 2 minute recovery (whatever you need to bring your heart rate back down)
  • repeat the 3 minutes and recovery period until you have done a total of 8 of the three minute hard intervals. 
  • Cool down. A lot of girls on the team skip this.. :/ but I think it’s important. 


My pace during intervals depends on the length of the interval. Shorter intervals = faster pace. I judge it sorta along these guidelines


  • 1 min. interval ~ 5K pace
  • 2-4 min. interval ~ 10K pace
  • 5+ min. interval ~ tempo pace


If you haven’t raced a lot, or don’t have a clue what your 5K or 10K pace would feel like, just play with it! You don’t need to do it perfectly the first time (or any time).. it’s a learning experience and you figure out what works best for you.

For more information on form I’m going to direct you back to a page on aquajogger’s website because I think they do a great job of describing how to go about it the “right” way! 

But is it like running?

Well.. that’s up to debate. My personal opinion is nothing = running except running. I get pissed when I hear people say “I swam a mile.. so that’s like running 3” or “I biked 15 miles.. so that’s like running 5” (going by that .33:1:3 ratio). I would never write down in a running log that I “ran” an hour because I pool ran for an hour. Different game. BUT BUT BUT!! It is still a good physical activity that works you hard if you work hard, and employs many of the same muscles utilized during running. 

Contrary to what I believed prior to starting pool running, you can work up a sweat in the pool. Yesterday I legitimately had sweat dripping down my face during intervals. It took a while to get to that point where I figured out what I was doing, and I was doing it right, and then one day I broke this crazy sweat and was like WOW. Where’d that come from? Last week at the Y I actually had to STOP pool running and switch to swimming laps because I was overheating! 

It’s a plus if your pool has music playing, because it can help pass the time. Like you saw in sample workouts, you can use songs for your intervals and do repeats of one song hard followed by one song recovery. My pool usually has on Kiss 108 or 92X (or whatever it’s called..), and of course if you wanna drop $$$ on a waterproof iPod go for it. I recently heard the idea of putting your ipod in a ziplock, feeding the headphone cord out the corner, putting the bag+ipod under a baseball hat, and listening to music that way. I’m super tempted to try that.. but just nervous it’d slip out or something and there I’d be out an ipod! Depending on who the lifeguard is.. there is no music some days. I use this time to:


  • Plan a paper out in my head
  • Lay out my to-do lists
  • Plan out a letter to grandma&grandpa/aunt/uncle/friend
  • Plan out my grocery list
  • Think of all the things I’m thankful for
  • Think of all the things I’m looking forward to in the coming year


You don’t need music.. it’s just nice. 🙂 On the other hand.. you won’t catch me dead listening to music on a run! Hahha it’s just funny that way. It is also nice when there are other people there doing it with you.. you’d be surprised how fast time can pass! I’ve been pool running with the rest of the injured kids from XC and track, so it’s nice to have company every now and then. Most of them aren’t off of running 100% though, so believe me – I’ve had my fair share of time alone. I will never be more mentally tough! I can’t wait to get back to training.. 14x400s? No biggie. If I can survive through a 2 hour steady session.. I can wait out anything!

I hope I helped you (whoever you are) understand a little bit more about pool running, and maybe encouraged someone to try it! Like I said – injured or not, it’s a great way to change up the routine and challenge the body in a different way. Happy Tuesday to all! 

By the way.. it’s not a free pool belt, but it is free, and it’s awesome! Check out what miss Grounded Fitness has over there!


8 Responses

  1. Im a jogger anyway so id probably be more of an aqua wader. or water treader.

    Kelly Turner

  2. thanks erica! I’ve been trying to get some more information about pool running/aqua jogging and this was great! thanks!

  3. I totally don’t like the “I swam so it’s like _____” No. Swimming is swimming is swimming. I don’t say I drove my car to campus but it’s like I flew in a plane for 30 seconds. Seriously.


    Aqua-jogging/running is great!!!!! Personally, I feel that I aqua-jog because it’s usually at the end of my swim…and it’s not to get my heart rate up. But I can totally see the difference. I do it for the motion/practice, not the fitness.

    And ps, BE PROUD OF ME!!!!!!!!! I JOINED VIRGINIA TECH’S TRIATHLON TEAM LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. i think i’m a runner?

  5. hi! so the running club is a little ways out of boston in lexington, ma that’d be really hard to get to without driving. there’s prolly a bus that runs to lexington, or you could take the minuteman bike path all the way. but it’s called the Greater Boston Running Company (name of the store) and we have a Facebook Group and a Meetup Group (“middlesex county”)– anyone and everyone is welcome, there are all levels of runners. You can definitely join the group on facebook, search for Greater Boston Running Company. and if you EVER want to come, you DEF should! we would love to have you !!! there are some super speedy guys so you would have some pacers. WHEN you get off the DL (i wrote if/when but it’s def when) you should come out– since it’s hard to get to i would totally give you a ride if we met somewhere that made sense (i live in watertown and buses run from downtown to watertown yard all day long). 🙂

  6. I’ve never ever legitimately gone pool running. I don’t even really get ‘aqua jogging’. It seems like the only thing you can do in a pool is to (sort of) run. But it SOUNDS like running on a treadmill in that it has the potential to be an epic bore if you can’t find a way to entertain yourself.

    But… I wish I had the opportunity to pool run when I was injured. I gladly would have done it as often as possible and enjoyed it!

  7. I’d call myself a runner…but compared to your times — I think I’ve fallen into the category of ‘crawler’ :). For pool running, do you ever use ankle or wrist weights too…or will that cause some sinking?

  8. I hate swimming and love running, i am too scared to try watter jogging in hopes the awesomeness of swimming will bring down my love for running, and it would be just….blah.

    Anyway, enjoy running, Aquawoman!

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