After seeing several posts from elite runner, Raychel Figurski, doing Fluid Running, we asked if she would be willing to share her story with us.Jennifer Conroyd, Founder, Fluid Running
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Raychel Figurski, and I am a high school math teacher in the Grand Rapids, MI, area. I also have been coaching high school cross country for the past six seasons! I mainly train for the marathon but will race anything from the mile up to the marathon! I run for Grand Rapids Distance Elite.
What brought you to Fluid Running?
In the fall of 2021, I was in the best shape of my life. It seemed like I was invincible and could do anything, and then suddenly, things started feeling wrong in December. It was a mystery injury that occurred out of nowhere. I had no idea what was wrong, but I could not run without pain. I went from running 70 miles a week to barely going 1 mile a day. My doctors had me do multiple MRIs, and I found out I had a lot of things that were not functioning correctly and were injured. The most prevalent injury at the time- was four slipped discs in my lumbar spine that were pinching my nerves and causing terrible leg pain. I began rehabbing my back, had to go through multiple rounds of spinal injections, and eventually got cleared to go to the pool (by March). I started just doing the “classic” (what everyone thinks as “aqua jogging”) and was getting irritated that I could spend hours in the pool and not feel any benefits. My teammate mentioned that she found Fluid Running, so I figured I would try it. I was desperate to get good cardio in and did not want to lose my fitness from Autumn, so I started Fluid Running in April. By May, my back was healed, I was running again, and I felt like I maintained a lot of fitness from being in the pool 3-4 days a week. Unfortunately, the pain came back, and I later learned that my back issues and pain from the past winter were actually caused by bilateral femoroacetabular impingement and labral tears. I got shut down from running again in June, and then in August and October had surgeries to fix both hips.
Fast forward to January 2023, and I am cleared to run again with two working hips and am totally pain-free! I am now hopping in the pool three days a week to do Fluid Running workouts to help build muscle strength and cardio as I build back up to race a fall marathon.
How did you use it and what results did you notice?
After the first Fluid Running workout (Run with a Pro), I knew this was a game changer for me. I loved that I felt like I was running (since I couldn’t run on land), and I LOVED feeling like I was working hard. I didn’t realize it during the workout, but as I climbed out of the pool, I noticed my leg muscles felt tired. I was so excited! I’ve been doing Fluid Running workouts since then!
What did you think about aqua jogging before you tried it, and how did FR change your opinion?
Fluid Running is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! I used to think aqua jogging was super boring. I would catch myself just staring at the clock, waiting for my time in the pool to be over. I did a lot of aqua jogging in the past with injuries, but it never felt like it helped me much. It was more of just a thing that I did. But with Fluid Running, I love the workouts, and they make my time in the pool fly by! They are fun, challenging, and a great way to maintain and gain fitness! I also get a good workout in and love that I can work my muscles and get my heart rate up high during these workouts. I will never go back to the old aqua jogging I used to do.
Would you recommend it to athletes, and why?
Yes, of course! There are so many different workouts to try, and they are so fun! Fluid Running is a great way for athletes to maintain fitness and strength during an injury; it can help you with injury prevention during training and is a great way to supplement your workouts on land.
As a coach, would you recommend it to coaches?
Yes! I am a high school cross-country coach, and I definitely would recommend Fluid Running to other coaches. Fluid Running is a great way to get in solid workouts without all the pounding from land running, and it is also a great tool to use on recovery days. I always feel better after getting out of the pool, and I know my athletes would also!
What are your goals/what are you training for?
I have been a runner my whole life. I ran cross country and track from middle school through college. I ran at Western Michigan University but was unfortunately plagued with injuries for most of my collegiate career. I almost gave up running after college but found my current coach, who convinced me to keep running. It started as just helping coach the high school cross country and track teams (where I teach) and then turned into deciding to run marathons. I now train for the marathon but race anything from the mile up to the marathon. I have big goals and dreams of qualifying for the US Olympic Trials Marathon one day! It would be amazing to qualify for that in less than one year after having two hip surgeries – we will see what happens, but I will definitely try it! Hopefully, I will be racing a full in the fall of 2023 and will try my best to hit the qualifying standard!
Do you plan to incorporate Fluid Running into your training? If so, how?
Yes! I am just getting back into running post surgeries. For the next few months, I plan to gradually build up mileage with all easy runs to build a base. In the meantime, I plan to be in the pool to do Fluid Running workouts 3-4 days a week to build muscle strength and cardio. As the mileage goes up, and I can start doing land workouts, I still plan on being in the pool 2-3 days a week to supplement my training on land.
What’s your favorite workout and why?
My favorite workout is probably the “Run with a Pro” workout! I love the longer sets that are focused on running, especially. As a marathoner, I love longer reps. It’s a great workout, and it feels very similar to what I do on land when training. I could do this workout all the time!