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Workout of the Week: Deep Water Running at Swim Seventy, Norwalk

Back in March of this year, a much younger friend from my running club had an injury that prevented her from being able to run.  Being the resourceful and determined person she is, she found the Swim Seventy deep water running program to cross train and maintain her current level of fitness.  She more than praised the workout and its results and I admit that she tried for months to get me into the pool but I came up with excuse after excuse as to why I couldn’t participate.  I don’t like being wet, I didn’t want to put on a bathing suit, I prefer to sweat and pound the pavement, etc.  Fast forward four months to my current situation: creaky knees from 20 years of constant running, a sore achilles from tennis and a fall marathon looming – Swim 70’s flyer ended up in my inbox I knew it was a sign and time to give it a try.

deep water running 1

The olympic sized Swim Seventy pool in Norwalk.

I arrived at the Swim 70 pool and was handed a belt-like flotation device for my waist.  After a brief tutorial and demonstration from instructor Leslie Krichko (who happens to be masters rower and was an Olympic cross country skier in the 80s), we jumped into the deep end and started class.  Leslie taught us that it important to remain completely upright as the goal is to be most inefficient in the water.  When we swim laps we put our face down and become horizontal to be efficient – you don’t want to do that in deep water running.  Instead you want to be completely vertical to have the most resistance with the water.  In this class we ‘ran’, using our legs and arms, many, many laps in the water while chatting with our classmates (I admit I would get bored by myself – like running on a treadmill without music or a tv).  At times we picked up the pace and sprinted and at the end she handed us barbells and we did some killer abdominal exercises like ‘walking the wall’.

Bottom line: this was a refreshing alternative to running.  Two long term studies show that deep water running burns up to 40% more calories than running on land while at the same time takes pressure off your joints so you can avoid overuse injuries.  This is also a great way to maintain your current fitness level while recovering from an injury.  In the class I took there were several collegiate rowers who were cross training over the summer break in addition to a quite speedy collegiate soccer player who was nursing an ankle injury.  Note:  you do not need to be a college athlete or former Olympian to take this clinic!  No experience or high level of fitness required.

Leslie (far right) and some serious athletes in the pool.

Leslie (far right) and some serious athletes in the pool.

The deep water running clinics are free for Swim 70’s members and $15 for non-members.

Leslie will be running one hour clinics Mondays at 10am and Thursdays at 7pm from now until August 31 (no clinic August 13).  No reservations are necessary – just stop in to one of the clinics.

Swim Seventy

8 Willard Road, Norwalk, CT

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