Pool Running.

I haven’t run in FIVE days. This is the longest break from running I have had in a long long time. I guess “technically” I have still been running… just pool running. It has been a great way to keep up with my running fitness, but it has also made me appreciate actual running a whole lot. Running in the pool is just not the same. At all.

I looked up a bunch of Youtube videos on “How to Pool Run” and I read one of my favourite bloggers, Hungry Runner Girl’s “Pool Running 101” post. I watched their form, their techniques, and their speeds and tried my best to imitate it. Some of the best videos I watched are here and here. I have run in the pool four times this week, for a total of 4 hours and 15 minutes, and I have learned a lot about this fabulous cross training activity. First… put an Aqua jogger belt on… you might feel like you look ridiculous but it is really helpful for pool running. 

The belt sits on your waist and keeps you upright so you can run with good upright form and not leaning forward like you are swimming. I had to tighten it every once and a while but other than that it should be snug and not move too much. Some key things when pool running…

  • If your heart rate isn’t up, you aren’t working hard enough. It is really easy to just slow down and almost start to swim, but pool running is just that – running. I threw in tons of intervals to make sure I was keeping my HR up.
  • Maintain running cadence. Ideal running cadence is about 180 spm (strides per minute) and this is ultimately what you should try and achieve in the water to imitate running. I usually run around 165-175 spm and that is what I tried to maintain in the water.
  • Stay straight upright. Your form is just as important in the water as it is out of the water. Make sure you aren’t leaning too far forward and try to mimic the biomechanics of running as much as you can. 
  • You can do it in deep water or a lane swimming pool (like I did) where your feet touch the ground. My feet actually just grazed the ground and it was great. 
  • It will be boring. Get over it.
I feel like the pool running was great for me to recover from my foot injury this week. I wanted to keep up with my fitness as much as possible and this did the trick! My mom joined me and we talked for two of my workouts and then I brought my waterproof music player (that I got for Christmas) for the other two workouts to help the time go by. 

Tuesday pool running: 60 minutes with my mom, steady pace.

Wednesday pool running: 75 minutes. Pyramid sprint workout and 30-60 second fartlek intervals. 

Thursday pool running: 60 minutes with my mom. Steady pace with a few 60 second intervals thrown in.

Friday pool running: 60 minutes. 1 minute steady, 1 minute speed interval, repeat. 

I also got to spend some time on the rower this week. Pool running is more fun that stationary rowing. Fact.

This morning, before my 60 minute workout at the pool, I went to the gym for some time on the bike. I was hesitant to do any cycling in the beginning of the week when my foot was really sore and in pain, but I figured it would be ok today. I did a 90-minute ride that involved lots of playing with the gears and increasing/decreasing to keep from getting bored or slowing down. 

The reason I was able to stay so long on the bike was definitely my phone. I watched 4 episodes of FRIENDS while I was riding and the time flew by! Why have I never thought of this before?

I wasn’t wearing cycling shorts to ride in, because I wasn’t sure whether there would be a class on the spin bikes at 5:30 am or not, so I wore normal spandex capris just in case I didn’t get to spin. That means that I was a little sore by the end of 90 minutes. Good thing laughing out loud during the FRIENDS episodes (that I have seen a million times each) kept me distracted.

The main thing I realized about pool running is that you really have to work hard. You won’t get the same benefits as running if you don’t get your heart rate up and try to maintain a high cadence. It takes a lot of work to get the same effect, but it is worth it. I may even use it as a cross training activity. My foot feels a ton better so hopefully ALL of my runs won’t have to be pool runs now 🙂

Have YOU ever been pool running?


  1. Been pool running a lot the last little while, but I don’t bother with the float belt. That way I have to work harder to maintain proper form. I tend to do a variety, sometimes stretching out, sometimes churning away really hard and fast. It goes really fast if you can run with a buddy.

  2. I have never tried pool running but it does sound appealing for injuries. How did you watch Friends on your phone? I am so not tech savvy so I have no clue how to do that, lol!

Comments are closed.