Deep Water Running – Try it – You’ll like it!

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:

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.”

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!



About Lynn Kanuka

Olympian, Coach, StreetStrider, Corporate Challenge Coach, Event Organizer, Deep Water Runner, Motivational Speaker, Nordic Walking Coach.... My days as a serious athlete are long past, but I'll always be a runner. I love its simplicity. I'd love to help you discover how easy running can be: Walk — Jog — Run or Stride. I know you can do it.
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