Friday, February 01, 2013
Thanks to an interesting article that Slenderella61 sent me, I spent this week honing my aqua jogging routine. I'm not a land jogger due to 2 knee replacements but I can jog in the water. The article about water jogging stresses the importance of body position and stride when jogging in the water. I had the vertical body position down pat but my stride needed work. The first time I tried doing long intervals, I extended my legs too much and irritated my hamstring muscle and achilles area. I asked my physical therapist what to do and he suggested that I do a series of regular runner's stretches throughout the day until the tightness loosened. The stretches helped quite a bit but what really helped was the recommendations for body posture and stride in Slenderella61's article. I shortened my leg extension so that my leg motion mimics that of bicycling instead of actual land jogging. My pain went away almost immediately!
The next area of focus was on the intensity of my jogging and the length of my intervals and recovery periods. I started off by jogging at a medium speed for 5 minute intervals with a one minute recovery period. I did a warm up followed by 14 intervals. I allowed one minute of rest between the intervals and during the rest time, I also did some counter exercises. The counter exercises stretched out my muscles and helped me to prevent cramping and muscles soreness. I was not sore after this workout but I felt that I hadn't really pushed myself.
The next time I jogged, the area of focus was on the length and intensity of my intervals. This time I attempted to do 10 minutes intervals at a very fast pace with a 2-3 minute recovery time of slower jogging after every interval. After I completed the second 10 minute interval, I knew that this approach wasn't going to work for me. I finished my workout that day with a series of controlled but strenuous counter exercises. The result was that I got a good workout and I didn't have to be constantly watching the time clock.
Today, I returned to the 5 minutes intervals but picked up the pace significantly. Every interval was followed by a one minute recovery time of either slower jogging or counter exercises. I completed 12 fast paced intervals followed by a one minute recovery. Once again the counter exercises eliminated cramping and helped me fight muscle fatigue. I also made a point of drinking fluids throughout my workout. I was careful to warm up, cool down with counter exercises and follow my workout with gentle stretches. I felt tired (I had exercised for one hour and 50 minutes) but energized! I think I may have found a routine that will work for me.
I think one important lesson that I learned throughout this whole process is that body position and form are very important in preventing injury. I also found that experimenting with your workout to find what works for you, is the key to sticking with exercising. Once I found my pace, the workout moved smoothly. As you can see, I had to try several different combinations before I got it right. Aqua jogging is my primary method of working out while my shoulder heals. However, even when I am able to go back to my regular water aerobics classes, I think I will continue to do aqua jogging as a way to enhance my regular workouts. Once I found my "groove" , what I once thought of as boring and a form of punishment actually became challenging and enjoyable.