A friend of mine recently wrote an article on the Benefits of Water Running – Christine Blanchette – Check it out here in the Vancouver Courier at: https://www.vancouver.com/news/Pool+running+paves+fitness/6083399/story.html
Meantime Christine’s interview with me has spurred me on to sharing part of an article I wrote for Runners World back in the day… I’m hoping it’ll inspire you to give water running a try as a fantastic way to compliment your running without any impact.
POOLING YOUR TALENTS – taken from an article I wrote many moons ago for Runners’ World Magazine (which still gets passed around in running circles today!)
Float through Tough Workouts by Running in Water. By Lynn Kanuka-Williams (1985)
“My history of running injuries is as long as my running career. First came iliotibial-band syndrome in the spring of 1980. The only treatment prescribed was rest. So rest I did. Three months and ten pounds later, it was like starting all over when I was finally able to run again.
Then I got stress fractures, three years in a row. To maintain my fitness while injured, I tried swimming, cycling and a combination of the two. But while these alternative activities kept me aerobically strong, they exercised muscles different from those I need for running. Each time I began running again I felt awkward, muscle-bound and very frustrated.
While training for the L.A. Olympic Games, though, I found a much better way to stay fit while injured. It was February 1984. I’d been running fine throughout the fall and winter, but with the Olympics only months away, I developed another stress fracture. I was devastated.
Dr. Doug Clement, head of the Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where I was living at the time, suggested that I try running in water – keeping afloat in deep water by using my arms and legs the way I do when I run. He recommended that I follow a program of workouts in the water similar to my normal running routine.
With my sights set on the Olympic Games and keeping an optimistic attitude, I was determined this new form of training would work. I found it hard to adapt at first, but after a few weeks I developed a comfortable, effective technique.
The second week of April, after eight weeks of water-running, I was able to begin running on land again. Over two weeks’ time I built up to a 40-nunute run every other day while continuing to run in the water in between. I was able to run my distances quite comfortably.
Four weeks later I had one remarkable interval session on the track (4 x 800, averaging 2:12) that told me I was, in fact, fitter than I had ever been. I was so excited! Eight days later, in my first race, I ran a personal best in the 3000 meters and set a new Canadian record.
To many, my performance seemed unexplainable, but I knew exactly what accounted for it – running in the water. That summer I went on to win a bronze medal in the L.A. Olympic Games and improved all my times in distances from 800 to 5000 meters.
After the Olympics, I continued to be hampered by injuries, but when they came, I was ready with my water training. I set more Canadian records on the track and had great success in road-mile racing. All of this took place on an average of 30 miles per week, but with a consistent program of running in the water.”
BACK TO THE PRESENT:
I have found water-running so effective that I personally enjoy it on a regular basis along with my StreetStriding because I simply cannot tolerate running more than once or twice a week. I incorporate deep water running for my athletes twice a week as part of their program, and I know at the same time it makes them stronger specifically for running, the water provides a fantastic massage effect. If you decide to give water-running a try, start out very gradually, and give me a call if you’d like expert advice from one whose probably logged more miles in the water than on land!