In The Pool

I personally am not big on cross training.

I think cross training has a purpose, is important, and can be vital for some runners. I, however, prefer to run. And, having been largely injury free, and having run for over 600 days in a row, I have not had any desire or need to do any major cross training.

However, my perspective changed yesterday.

I take my high school runners to the pool once a week for a cross training day. Typically we aqua jog, maybe swim some relays, and have a good time while (maybe) getting in a bit of a workout.

Being our last day of the season in the pool, I got in the water and challenged my runners to an aqua jogging competition. We would aqua jog for 40 minutes. Anyone who could go that whole time with good form (they typically struggle with the form part of this exercise) would get a burrito hand delivered for lunch the following week.

I was confident I could aqua jog with good form for 40 minutes. I am a good aqua jogger. We used to swim weekly when I was in high school, and on occasion in college I would do pool workouts.

So, I wasn't surprised when I made it 40 minutes. I wasn't surprised that none of my runners did, either (no burritos--bummer).

I was surprised how hard I felt like I had worked after the 40 minutes were over.

It wasn't that I expected it to be easy. And it wasn't that I was maxed out. Rather, I felt like I got a really good workout in those 40 minutes. My heart rate was up, I was using some different muscles, and I had no impact on my legs.

As my current goal is to spend the next 2 months preparing for a half marathon and, weather permitting, run a PR in said half marathon; and as I am still a bit concerned about another relapse of my ankle injury, I am now considering whether I should incorporate aqua jogging as a part of my weekly schedule. Of course I would still run on aqua jog days. But, aqua jogging might allow me to build my aerobic system without stressing my body.

Which is, after all, the entire point of cross training.

It's just a point that has been largely lost on me personally.

Until now.