Woman Doing Water Aerobics In An Outdoor Swimming Pool: Rear View

Why You Should Consider Adding Aqua Jogging to Your Training

BY Mary Timoney

You might view aqua jogging as a low-intensity activity best reserved for rehabbing injury—but there's good reason to add it into your training.

Aqua jogging simulates the real motion of running without the impact of hard surfaces. If you’re like me, you’ve likely considered it, at best, as a rehab tool for injured runners—but after doing the research and finally trying it myself, I think aqua jogging can have some significant fitness benefits, even for healthy runners. 

Aqua jogging is usually done in the pool, with the motion of your legs working to keep you floating. Position in the water should be very similar to that of running on land; your head, shoulders and hips should be in alignment, with a slight forward lean. To jog, simply mimic the motion as you would on land. This can be done with or without pool aids, but it can be beneficial to use a weighted belt to help you maintain your position in the water.

Why aqua jog in the first place? The effects of pounding on the feet and joints can be profound, and most runners will have a running-related injury at some point in their career. Water can provide just enough resistance to help you develop proper neuromuscular pathways while eliminating the wear and tear on your joints. It’s not going to give you the same speed boost as intervals around the track, but it can help you keep what you’ve got, especially your cardiovascular endurance.

So how should an aqua jogging workout go down? It depends on your training goals of course, but here is a little set I created with a few harder efforts at a faster pace with rest 30-second rest intervals in between. This workout will increase your anaerobic capacity and build muscular endurance, without the impact of standard running.

Warm-up: 3 minutes easy jogging low to moderate pace, gradually increasing range of motion.

Main Set: 20-40 minutes of work. Ladder interval workout. The hard efforts should be somewhere around the Z4 HR Zone.

  • 30 sec fast, 30-sec recovery
  • 1 min fast, 30-sec recovery
  • 2 min fast, 30-second recovery
  • 3 min fast, 30-second recovery
  • 2 min fast, 30-second recovery
  • 1 min fast, 30-second recovery

Repeat 2X.

Have fun with aqua jogging, and try incorporating it into your triathlon swim program for great cross-discipline results.

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About Mary Timoney

Mary Timoney is a USA Triathlon Level 1 Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and ACSM Personal Trainer. Want to improve your race times? Work toward a podium finish? Complete an Ironman? You can message her HERE