“Fluid Running is the perfect supplemental tool to add in the extra cardio work without impact. I plan to continue to use it 2-3 times per week even when I am completely healthy again.“Vanessa Fraser
Jennifer had the great pleasure and honor of working with Vanessa Fraser, a Nike Bowerman Track Club Professional Runner. World Class does not just describe her running, it describes her as a person. Vanessa graduated from Stanford University with two degrees and 10 All- American honors. Her story is one of determination, grit and effort. After a few disappointing races, her perseverance and hard work landed her on the podium. On February 27, 2020, she ran an astounding 14:48.51 for her 5,000 meter race not only besting her last time by 19 seconds but securing a place in history as the 2nd U.S. all-time fastest woman in the in-door 5,000 meter (5k) race. Her next big race would have been the Olympic Trials. But, rather than wallow in disappointment over the Olympic postponement, Vanessa took advantage of the time to find a solution for her chronic bilateral heel pain she had suffered over the past 3 years. For anyone, but especially for a professional runner, choosing to undergo a procedure that means weeks of recovery and no running is traumatic. But in Vanessa fashion, she approached the situation with her typical tenacity, determination and good humor. It was during this time that Jennifer had the pleasure of connecting with Vanessa via email and helping her with her recovery by means of Fluid Running. Not only did Jennifer get the chance to introduce her to the Fluid Running method and provide her with tips on form, she got the amazing privilege of creating a workout geared especially for her. Vanessa has kindly agreed to let us share that workout. “Run with a Pro” is now available in the Fluid Running Workout Store. But, best of all, she agreed to let Jennifer interview her. As the owner of a small business and an immense admirer of the passion and dedication of professional athletes, Jennifer was elated to get the chance to ask Vanessa how Fluid Running helped in her recovery. We hope you’ll take a moment to read through the interview. Her hard work sets an example for all of us – regardless of our fitness level or athletic abilities. We’ll be cheering for her in 2021 wherever that takes her. Thanks Vanessa!
What brought you to Fluid Running?
I started aqua jogging the “old-fashioned” way once I was cleared to get in the pool after surgery. My hip flexor got really irritated after the first two days of doing that, so I started looking up youtube videos about how to properly run in the water. That is how I came across fluid running and discovered that there is an entire science to properly running in the pool! I’m so glad I stumbled upon it, and that Jennifer was so willing to help me and share fluid running with me when I reached out to her!
Did you have any preconceived ideas about aqua jogging? How did Fluid Running change that?
I thought that the “old-fashioned” marching style was the only way to aqua jog. I also thought that it wasn’t really possible to get a good workout or to get your heart rate very high. When I learned the Fluid Running technique, I found that you can actually get a good workout, get your heart rate up, AND it doesn’t strain your hip flexors the way the other style does!
How have you used it as part of your recovery training program?
I have used it extensively in my recovery program. Before I was able to start running on the ground, I used it as one of my cross training sessions almost daily. Now that I am slowly starting to build back mileage on the land, I am still using fluid running as an important supplemental tool for strength and cardio. I use it as a double session in the afternoon about twice a week, and on Saturdays it is my only workout – I like to have one completely non-impact day but still get good aerobic work in – and fluid running is the perfect option for that!
Do you think it has helped you? If so, how?
It has definitely helped me strengthen muscles in my legs that I didn’t really use much before yet I think that the strengthening of these muscles will translate well to running on the ground. It has also helped me keep up my aerobic fitness without putting any stress on my recovering achilles.
How many times a week are you doing it?
See above – 2 times per week as a double session and another day per week as my sole workout for the day.
Why do you like Fluid Running?
I love that there are so many different options for guided workouts! It makes the time fly by, keeps it interesting, and helps get my heart rate up in a way that wouldn’t be as easy to do if I was just trying to do it completely on my own. It makes a huge difference mentally to have Jennifer guiding you through each step and helping you visualize as if you are really outside running!
What’s your favorite workout? Why?
I have to say that Run with a Pro is my favorite workout 🙂 It mimics the kind of training I do on land so it’s really helpful to feel like I can replicate that without having to put my body through any impact. My other favorite workout would be the Trifecta – it’s super fun to mix things up with different movements and I have found this one to get my heart rate up nice and high!
Do you plan to continue to Fluid Run once you are all recovered? If so, please tell us why.
I definitely plan to continue to Fluid Run even when I am completely recovered. I think it’s important for me to continue to develop my aerobic capacity as a runner, but I don’t necessarily want to add a ton more mileage to my training regimen because I want to continue to mitigate injury risk. Fluid Running is the perfect supplemental tool to add in the extra cardio work without impact. I plan to continue to use it 2-3 times per week even when I am completely healthy again.
Be sure to follow Vanessa, as she is on the road to greatness in whatever path she chooses!
There is so much more to deep water running (and Fluid Running), than just injury rehab, which is why you see an athlete like Vanessa planning to incorporate it into her training. Read our post, “Stronger after Injury“, to hear stories about other athletes that incorporated both Fluid Running and deep water running in their training for some amazing results. If you’re an elite athlete or coach, reach out to us to see how our Fluid Running Elite Program might be able to help you!