Water zorbing

Hip, hip, hooray? Pool running for injury.

It’s been two weeks since an ill-advised dash between train platforms elicited the first of many painful yelps and stopped my training dead in its tracks. Monitoring the progression of my injury has been interesting from a physiotherapy student’s perspective – no doubt about that – but it’s been really frustrating in terms of my training. I have wanted to be running, a lot, but had to accept the fact that some days it was often a struggle to walk.

The good news is that 12 days on, my hip feels well on the way to recovery. I went to see Ali at Mills Physiotherapy this week and it was clear during the assessment that the initial pain I was feeling is well on the way out. In fact, it was hard to replicate at all, apart from a residual tenderness in the area. It’s likely that I pulled rectus femoris, part of the quadriceps muscle. Indeed, my quads proved to be really, really, tight in the exam. I’ve known that for a while, but this is the first time I’ve got to the stage where I am committed to rectifying the problem. I was given some quads stretches to do daily and glute strengthening exercises like the Glute Bridge pictured below to help me balance out. When I’m able to hit the gym again, I’m going to actually start paying attention to my glutes and hamstrings as well as my quads, because being injured is pretty boring and I’d like to avoid it if it’s in my power. Plus, I’m starting to understand how bodies work, and I think it will stand me in good stead to put some of my learning into practice on myself.

Glute Bridge


I’m going to try some runs if I’m able from next week. I was quite nervous about doing anything in the way of exercise as I was desperate to avoid the intense ‘catching’ type pain my hip injury brought on sometimes when walking. Now that seems to be on the way out (if not gone already), I feel confident of giving running a go. I think I might have been a bit too cautious in avoiding other types of exercise but I wasn’t sure what might have replicated the pain or not, and I didn’t fancy hitting the gym without a proper cardiovascular warmup.

On the advice of one of my lecturers, I did get myself an aqua belt and tried out some pool running! This enabled me to replicate the running motion as much as possible without having to bear weight. I did a bit of research on pool running for injury and drew up a little ladder session, as I’d read that as pool running can be very boring, intervals were a great way to spice things up a bit. I was also unconvinced that I’d be able to get my heart rate up enough to call it an effective work out.

The session I did entailed:

10 min warm up (easy ‘running’)

30s hard / 30s easy
60s hard / 60s easy
90s hard / 90s easy
120s hard / 120s easy
180s hard / 120s easy
120s hard / 120s easy
90s hard / 90s easy
60s hard / 60s easy
30s hard / 30s easy

10 min warm down

The recoveries felt a bit long. I should have reduced them as I increased the hard intervals but I got a bit lost counting and just resigned myself to it being my first time. It wasn’t as boring as I feared, although it was nothing near as exciting as water zorbing. I mean, racing around in an inflatable ball on the surface of water has to be good for you. It has to!

I am convinced that anyone that swam in the pool during my pool running session thought I was doing doggy paddle. My head was the only really visible part of my body as I tried to run upright in the pool as if I was running on land, concentrating on keeping good form. I must have been going about 2cm per hour, which only added to the ‘doggy paddle’ illusion. Still, I can swallow my pride for a good session while injured. In fact, I’m going to try incorporating aqua jogging into my normal training week as a way to increase ‘mileage’ with reduced injury risk. For the moment, I’m still looking to the Manchester Marathon in April 2016. There’s no reason why it can’t be possible if I’m careful not to exacerbate my hip and diligent with my strength and conditioning. Hopefully, working on my imbalances will only aid my preparation. Out of every cloud, a silver lining. And a new PB for 26.2 miles.


Image credits:
Water Zorbing by Lynne Hand  [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Glute bridge by Everkinetic [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Category: BlogRunningTraining


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Article by: Vee Uye