If you're a committed runner, you know that a serious leg injury (such as a stress fracture or shin splints) can keep you off the track for several weeks which can cause setbacks in training.

However, there is a way to continue running while your injury heals: running in a pool.

"Water running" enables you to exercise the same muscles as road running -- but without the impact you get on hard surfaces. What's more, even though you run at a much slower pace than on dry land (due to resistance from the water), you can get a cardiovascular workout close to your current level of intensity.

Here are some water-running basics:

  • You'll need a flotation belt; this keeps your head above water.
  • Run in the deep end of the pool.
  • In terms of form, run exactly as you do on dry land: same posture, arm swing, stride.
  • Run at an intensity that feels comparable to what you do on the road. And run for the same amount of time as in your typical workouts.
  • Vary your speed in water. For example, you can start off "jogging" for 15 minutes before picking up the pace, or you can do sporadic one-minute sprints throughout the run.