Use Deep Water Running to Avoid Training mistakes and Injuries
By Lew Thorne
President, Excel Sports Science/AquaJogger
I once asked renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stan James what the biggest obstacle athletes faced in achieving peak performance. His answer was short and to the point. “You first must survive your workouts. Training errors are the enemy. It’s not how much you can do to reach your goal but how little you can do and still achieve it”.
Dr. James, whose practice is in Eugene, Oregon, focused his medical career on treating running related injuries and became known around the world for his surgical procedures. It was those “training errors” that fueled his career. Being a runner himself, he understood the process that brought the patients to his office, and he provided the following advice on how you might avoid the visit.
Your body always wins and recovery is the key. You are basically training three systems and each system recovers at a different rate. If you don’t adjust your training to the system that takes the longest to recover, you are setting your body up for a break down. The physical system that recovers the quickest from training is the cardio/pulmonary , followed by the muscular and then the skeletal. Most athletes tend to adjust their training schedule to their cardio since it is easy to measure (by taking the pulse or observing breathing patterns). The muscular system also provides some cues by registering various levels of pain. The skeletal system, which often lags far behind in the recovery process, doesn’t provide much feedback until a stress fracture or joint malfunction brings running to a halt. The effects of gravity is the reverse of the recovery rates. Gravity puts the most pressure on the skeletal system, followed by the muscular system and then the cardio/pulmonary.
One of the ways you can keep training pressure on the cardio system, challenge the muscular system and give the skeletal system a day of rest, is to take your running program to the water. By paying attention to your various body systems’ recovery rates, you can use a combination of land and water training to minimize training errors and maximize progress toward your goals.