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WATER RUNNING – Liquid Stairs

Our drill this week is two different �water strides,� taken from the Go Swim DVD Water Running for the Serious Athlete. If you think water running is strictly for the blue-haired set, you�re in for a surprise when you try this. It�s great cross training for runners AND for swimmers (this drill will help you develop strength for pulling your knees up when you do turns).

I�m doing a lot of these two strides right now to prepare for the annual Empire State Building Run Up, which takes place in NYC on February 3rd. The race is 86 flights and 1576 steps. Each flight of stairs is roughly 22 steps, and there�s a long landing between each flight. The first stride simulates climbing the stairs; the second stride simulates running the landing.

Why Do It:

Because there are no tall buildings in Vermont where I can train. And because it�s hard to run outside when it�s 15 below zero and your car looks like THIS. Time to go to the pool and run in your bathing suit!

If you�re a swimmer, the first stride will help you get into a tighter, faster tuck when you do turns. The second stride will help stretch your hamstrings. Both strides help you learn to hold on to the water with your hands.

DESCRIBE THE IMAGE How To Do It:

1. Use a flotation device. They may look clunky, but you need one to maintain correct stair-climbing posture and help you focus on your legs rather than on getting AIR. Make sure to pull it TIGHT.

2. Start with an EZ 5-minute warmup, Maintain an erect posture, and move you legs as if you were running on land. Use your hands and arms for balance and to keep you from moving all over the pool.

3. Maintain your erect posture, but now imagine you are running with long, smooth, powerful strides up a steep hill. Or� imagine you�re climbing stairs, taking two at a time. Pump the knees and legs as if they were powerful pistons. Keep the elbows bent and work the arms and hands up and down as forcefully as you�re working your legs.

4. Take about 30 �Hill Strides� (I�ve gradually worked up to 50 strides or 30 seconds), and segue immediately to �Hurdles.�

5. For Hurdles, imagine you�re moving in slow, fluid, continuous motion over one hurdle after another. Extend the front leg far in front of you and the rear leg far in back. The arms should extend far forward and then push back, to balance each kick. Imagine that you�re using each hand to grab a post that�s in front of you in the water, then pull your body past the post.

6. Take 11 Hurdle strides, and segue immediately into another 30 Hill Strides. Keep alternating 30 Hill Strides and 11 Hurdle Strides for 10 minutes (gradually work up to 15 or even 20 minutes).

7. Finish with 2-3 minutes of EZ water running for warmdown.

How To Do It Really Well (The Fine Points):

1. Maintain good running form � try not to lean forward.

2. Don�t �bicycle.� Lift the knees, then send your feet straight down and back.

3. Try it more than once. It takes a couple sessions to get your balance and get your legs in shape for water running.