Water-jogging and other vacation workouts 

I’m back on the boat for a couple of weeks. Sometimes it doesn’t interrupt my running training, like when we are in Fort Lauderdale or Annapolis or Newport or anywhere with safe running routes. But Georgetown and Stocking Island in the Bahamas is a different story because there are no safe roads to run any distance on and the beach is too soft for running. 

Since Anita and I are training for a half marathon on May 27th, I had to ask Linda to make some suggestions for the interrupted training. Usually I just muddle through with yoga, kayaking, vigorous walks on the beach and hiking up to the Monument, and some body weight or elastic band resistance training. And yesterday I did have quite the workout on the beach, with push-ups, ballistic squats, ab work, yoga flows, and topped off with body surfing in fairly strong seas. We kayaked over in a head wind, giving me an upper body workout too. And we walked briskly in the sand, getting the heart rate up and working the legs at the same time. 

The beach on the open water side of Stocking Island in the Bahamas, taken from the sandy path that you walk to get from the sheltered side to the big beach. Tall grass in the foreground. White sand and blue water beyond.

Today it was time to experiment with Linda’s surprising suggestion: water or aqua jogging. I shouldn’t have been surprised but I’ve never thought of it before. I usually associate water jogging with rehab from an injury. If you can’t run, you aqua jog. But I never thought of it as a part of training when land running isn’t a live option. In “The Benefits of Aqua Jogging,” Elizabeth Kelsey suggests that it’s not just for the injured and it’s not necessarily a lesser workout. She even says it could be good for speed training. 

I didn’t need a belt to keep me upright but some do. Here’s what you do: 

Once you find a pool and a belt, the rest is cake. Simply use the same running form as you would on land to propel yourself forward through the water. You’ll move much slower than on land, so measure your workout by time, not distance. The difficulty of the workout will depend on leg turnover rather than speed. “To raise your heart rate, increase your cadence,” explains Souther. The faster you move your arms and legs in the water, the harder the workout and the greater your strength gain will be. Stay conscious of your form and be careful to mimic your on-land stride, not the doggy paddle.

I skipped the pool and the belt and just dove off the back of our catamaran. It’s 50 feet long and 27 feet wide and we are anchored about 300 or so feet off the beach in around 15 feet of beautiful turquoise water in a sheltered area between Stocking Island and Great Exuma. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to sea life. I’ve seen sea turtles and dolphins in the anchorage already and that makes me wonder what else could be swimming around. That’s why I don’t swim far enough to get a workout when I’m here. Also, there is a lot of boat action in an anchorage, with people going back and forth from their sailboats in their motorized dinghies. I worry about not being seen. So I decided to play it safe and do my intervals across the back of the boat, about 35 feet because I went a little past in each side. 

You don’t travel far or fast when water jogging but it’s pretty exerting. I was definitely working hard for about 20 minutes. That’s about all I had the patience for but I could build to half an hour if I played some music off the back of the boat. I’ll do that next time. 

Tracy water jogging with blue goggles atop her head.

I travel a lot and it’s always a highlight that tests my creativity to find ways of sticking workouts when away from home. Water jogging is a keeper for the boat when regular land running isn’t an option. But I doubt I’ll be replacing my regular runs with it when I get home. If I’m going to the pool, I’d rather swim. 

Meanwhile, I’ve got a few more water jogging sessions lined up over the next ten days and some yoga, kayaking, walking, and resistance training. Oh, and some rest and relaxation! Have you ever tried water jogging? 

Selfie of Tracy, short blond wet hair and smiling, blue microfibre towel around neck, bottom of inflatable kayak visible just behind and blue water behind that. Taken from the back of the catamaran.
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