The first time I went, last Thursday, I spent 45 minutes in the pool with the Aqua Jogger belt on, just trying to get comfortable with using it. I focused on my form, and tried to replicate running on ground as much as possible.
On Saturday, I went to the pool with Jerry and the kids, and had the intention of aiming for two hours to simulate a long run. We brought the underwater camera, and the first half hour or so was spent trying to get a good video and/or pictures for the blog.
I got a couple of good videos, but I am just too embarrassed to post them! My loose skin--well, let's just say it was very evident in the videos. When I watched the videos, I just kept thinking that I looked like a basset hound--like my skin was made for someone twice my size! My form wasn't all that great, either, because I was still learning. So maybe I'll do another video soon, and just post it, regardless of the loose skin issue. I already posted a picture of my thighs somewhere on my blog, and it doesn't look any worse than that. ;)
Anyway, I only lasted 60 minutes before I was just bored. I realized I was going to have to go into the "runs" with a plan--intervals or something to keep me from being bored. On Sunday, I took the kids and one of their friends to the pool, and I planned out short intervals:
5 minute warm-up
25 x 1:30 hard with 30 second recovery jog
5 minute cool down
(Total of 60 minutes)
Instead of measuring intervals by distance, like I do normally, I have to do it by time while running in the pool (because running a quarter mile in deep water would take a hundred years. Minimum.) I set my Garmin to do all the counting for me, so I just had to switch speeds whenever I felt my watch vibrate on my wrist.
Running hard in the deep water is... well, HARD. It was really tough making it through the 90 second intervals; and then 30 seconds flew by as I recovered. I checked my pulse several times during the workout (my heart rate strap doesn't work in the water, unfortunately), and was surprised how high my heart rate got. The intervals got my HR up to 160-ish. That's 85% of my maximum--what it would be during a tough outdoor run.
Something I learned in all the reading I've done is that your heart rate is aways going to be lower in the water than it would be out of the water. Here is a quick blurb about it:
"A useful rule of thumb is that heart rates during water running are about 10% lower than during land running. If you get your heart rate up to 140 beats per minute in the water, that is roughly equal to 154 beats per minute during normal running. The temperature of the water affects your heart rate during deep water running. Your heart rate will be lower in cool water and higher in warm water. In addition, two studies have found that women have slightly lower heart rates and oxygen consumption than men during deep water running. This is thought to be due to women’s generally higher bodyfat content and resultant greater buoyancy than men." (source)So my heart rate of 160 would have been equivalent to 172 bpm, which is about 5K race pace for me! After that workout, I realized that you really get out of the deep water running what you put into it. If you run hard, it's going to be a HARD workout; if you just "jog", it's more like an easy neighborhood stroll. This is nice, because that means anyone can do it.
When I got home, I started reading everything I could find about deep water running, and I was thrilled to find a Nine-Week Water Running Schedule from Running Times! I'm going to loosely follow that plan until my ankle is better. The one thing I want to include, however, is a long run--so on Wednesday's steady run, I'm going to go much longer than the time listed. Preferably 90-120 minutes.
Yesterday, I went to the pool by myself after the kids were in school, and did the first Tuesday workout.
Because the workout was only 28 minutes, I decided to give it my all. Holy hell, that was HARD! Those 2:30 intervals were killer--the muscles in my legs were screaming during each interval. My "recovery" consisted of pretty much just floating there, trying to catch my breath before the next interval. Thirty seconds flies by when you're recovering!
My legs were actually shaky as I walked to the locker room. I felt amazing. And I truly believe that I earned every single one of the 5 PointsPlus Weight Watchers gave me for that short workout. That nine-week plan consists of a ton of intervals, so I am going to try and make each workout count by putting in good effort.
I'm going to the rec center tonight for a "long run", and Jerry is going to come keep me company. I just ordered his Aqua Jogger belt two days ago, and it already arrived today! I had to wait 10 days for mine to arrive. I'm glad I had Jerry try out my belt at the pool, because we discovered that he's a "sinker". Jerry has a pretty low body fat percentage (anywhere from 6-10%, depending on his weight at the time)--and according to the Aqua Jogger website, if your body fat is low, you may sink while wearing the classic belt. So we had to order the "Pro Plus" belt for Jerry, which will hopefully hold him up! ;)