Grab a pair of foam barbells, jump in a lake and start running.
WHEN I FIRST heard about water jogging, I figured it would require some incredible, complicated contraption.
Then I saw the gear — two foam barbells. Was I about to do water aerobics in Green Lake?
Yes, with some caveats.
I met Bailey Hinckley, my water-jogging guide, at the lake. She started water jogging because injuries prevented her from running as much as she wanted. She also read an article about a woman who water jogged to train for a race, then broke a world record.
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“Who doesn’t want to break a world record?”
I’m with you, Bailey.
She got into the water with her foam barbells and talked me through the form. The goal is to stay as upright as possible, pumping with your arms while also churning your legs. When she started, she was surprised by how little forward motion she had in the water, and how hard it was. She usually plays music on a dock to keep herself entertained for her 30-minute workout.
It was my turn. I got in, and she handed me the barbells. The form itself was fairly simple, but based on every other experience I’ve had with water sports, I knew it would be tough, and it was. My heart rate went up right away, and I struggled to stay upright and keep pumping my arms. Bailey said she usually feels the workout in her upper back.
Bailey and I traded time with the barbells, with the other one treading water — or, in my case, occasionally hanging onto the dock for a break.
On my second round with the barbells, I felt more comfortable. I wasn’t nearly as breathless, and I settled into a rhythm I felt I could maintain for a while. I felt the workout in my chest, and I wondered whether I was doing it correctly.
Bailey said not to pump my arms too slowly, or it won’t be challenging. Busted.
She likes water jogging to keep up her cardio when she can’t run as much. She says she likes how limber she feels afterward, unlike running.
She also loves water jogging on a hot day. We were out on a fairly warm summer evening, and Green Lake was busy with folks running on the bleachers, kayaking or playing Pokemon Go. The water was a pleasant, less-crowded alternative.
In more than a decade in Seattle, I’ve never jumped into Green Lake. This was the best way I could dream up to get in the water without actually swimming.
During the workout, I couldn’t tell what was hardest — water jogging, treading water or talking the entire time. Probably all of the above.
We ended up staying in for 35 to 40 minutes. We were both tired, but I thought I did pretty well. Then I pulled myself out of the water onto the dock, and my arms almost gave out. I was surprised by how exhausted I was.
Like running, it’s a solo sport you can turn into a group activity. I was reminded that adding a water sport to my training would improve my fitness several times over.
When Bailey asked whether I would do it again, I said I’m not sure I would be motivated to do it on my own. But with someone else, on a hot summer day? Sure, I’m game.