- Waterproof Ipod Case. This is essential. I use my iPod Nano, and this case. With this as my trusty pool-running partner, my "runs" become an opportunity to catch up on podcasts. I'm particularly fond of This American Life, as well as running-related podcasts like Endurance Planet and some of the podcasts that Julie T has done (I've listened to the Houston Hopefuls podcast a few times). I also crank up the music for my intervals, or catch up on the local radio news via the Nano's radio.
- Logs. I've concocted a formula for converting pool running to land running, and I log my workouts as both time and mileage. Yes, it's a white lie -- pool running ain't running. But anything that keeps me motivated and feeling like I am progressing is a good thing.
- Multiple pools. I'm fortunate that I have four different indoor pools within easy driving distance (heck, one is within air-cast hobbling distance). I try not to run at the same pool more than 3 times in a row -- I find that a different set of walls to stare at can be amazingly refreshing.
- Friends. Pool-running buddies are the best. A 90 minute "run" with a friend goes by twice as fast as a 90 minute solo venture, iPod Nano or no. Friends are so helpful that I will go a fair bit out of my way if it means I have company (and I'm normally a pretty solitary person, who has happily done 20 mile runs solo without music).
- Intervals. Doing a workout that shifts between hard and easy segments is much easily, mentally, than a constant slog. For this reason, I'll toss in occasional segments of high intensity into my longer "easy runs" -- it gives me something to simultaneously dread and look forward to.
- Form drills. During my "easy runs", I add in segments of 5-10 minutes where I hold my arms in a loop in front of my body with hands clasped, or tuck my thumbs into the running belt (so I look like an underwater chicken). It looks even stupider than normal pool running, but it forces me to engage my abs and push off with both legs equally, lest I start circling. And mixing in these segments makes the times go faster.
- Other activity in the pool. One pool has a synchronized swimming program for kids -- it's a real treat when this is going on, as I can watch how they train (it's a pretty demanding sport, from what I can see). The one downside is that I'm getting really sick of the music they use for their routine, though probably not as sick of it as they are.
- Vaseline. Coated on one's face prior to pool entry. Makes a huge difference in avoiding the sandpaper feel of one's face after a pool long run.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tricks of pool running
So, I'm now entering my fourth week of a pool running only existence, and third week of 80-90 "miles" in the pool -- roughly 13-14 hours per week. That's a lot of time doing something that's pretty tedious, and I've learned some tricks to make it a bit easier.