From non-runner to running-addicted

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Injury Recovery and Water Running

floating_belt_01The most important lesson that I learned from my first marathon training experience was that easy runs are crucial, and they really need to be easy. My new motto became Menly Men Go Slow.

As I started training for the Warsaw Marathon (my second) I promised myself I wasn’t to make the same old mistakes and I was going to run my easy runs slowly.
I eventually did, but then I got injured again, this time while playing football (as in soccer). I fractured my toe with a tackle and was given a 4-week stop to sports activities.
It was time to put to practice what I had learned so far!

A small flashback…

After my last injury, and only e few weeks away from my first marathon, I was desperately seeking advice. After listening to a podcast from Matt at Runner Academy I decided to write an email to Matt’s guest for that episode, former Marathon Champion Jacqueline Hansen.
Jacqueline has won her first marathon the year I was born, 1972, then she went on to win the Boston Marathon the year after that, only to go and set two marathon world records in 1974 and 1975! She is now coaching, and overall involved with the sport.

Photo by Bill Leung

Jacqueline Hansen in 1974. Photo by Bill Leung

Jacqueline was very polite and answered with a lengthy explanation on why I should run only half marathon that time, together with more precious pieces of advice. She also said that if only I had contacted here before she would have suggested for me to do pool running (or aqua jogging, or water running).
Put simply water running means to do running movements in the deep end of a swimming pool while wearing a floating belt (like I’m demonstrating in the video).

After my second injury I contacted Jacqueline again and she told me a bit more about the workout I was supposed to do. I had already bought my floating belt so I started my pool workouts straight away.

Unfortunately the pool I have access to is very shallow, which defies the purpose of deep water running (it’s not the same pool of the video above). Unable to replicate the complete running movement I settled for a high-knee, bent leg, high cadence movement.

I could not complete the whole training schedule mainly for two reasons: long “runs” in the pool can become terribly boring, so that I never reached a 2-hour run, and also because it’s harder to fit the swimming pool into my weekly schedule, as opposed to just go out and run (2-3 times a week vs 4-5 when I was running). And it is hard.

Nonetheless my experience with water running was amazing. After 4 weeks I tried running again and I can safely say I retained most of the aerobic fitness I had at the time of injury.
I am now a big fan of pool running.

Jacqueline even mentioned me on her latest blog post. I’m humbly honored to say the least! :)

If you wanna know more head over to for great advice on running, marathon training and cross-training, including pool running (check out the Coaching section!).

Here’s my average water running workout:

  • Warmup 10 mins
  • Intervals: 1:30 mins hard with 1 min active recovery. Repeated 12 to 15 times. The hard parts were performed at 180 bpm cadence.
  • Cooldown: 10 mins

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180 bpm – Part II

metronome_01This is a follow-up to my previous post about 180 bpm cadence, here’s the link to Part 1

I usually listen to drum’n’bass mixes during my runs, but I found a couple of alternatives for running to the music beat (and as close as possible to 180 bpm). Those alternatives come in the form of two smartphone apps, namely Spotify and Temporun. Continue reading


Paris Marathon Dress Rehearsal

paris_marathon_outfitSo here we are, only 2 days to the Paris Marathon. If I think back to my 7 months of training I remember one particular Sunday run at 6 am under the pouring rain. During that run I doubted my sanity more than once, but I enjoyed it. And I was thinking that all those efforts were to be channeled into one very moment. It feels odd to think that moment is now. Continue reading


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