Two years ago, at age 45, a running injury brought me to my first Fluid Running class (slightly skeptical, I must admit). Looking back, I am so very grateful for that injury. Since that initial pool run, I have completed three marathons and multiple half marathons, creating and breaking personal records along the way. This amazing workout has been instrumental in both improving my performance as a runner and helping in my recovery from injury. I think of it as the “Fountain of Youth” for runners as it has not only kept me running, but has continued to make me stronger and faster.
An overtraining injury to my hip flexors prevented me from “land” running just three months prior to my first marathon at Walt Disney World. Inspired by Jennifer Conroyd’s story and encouraged by my Physical Therapist, I gave Fluid Running (FR) a try. I was shocked at the cardiac intensity of the workout, as well as the incredible resistance training the water provided without the impact on my joints and muscles. While working out in a pain-free zone, I could not only make great cardiac gains, but also strengthen even the muscles affected by my injury. Quickly realizing that this workout would be key in my training, I continued the FR workouts two or three times a week with some occasional short runs on a gravity-assisted treadmill. Finally, about six weeks prior to race day, I was able to begin longer land runs, but kept up my water runs twice a week. By the time race day arrived, I was pain-free and ready to run. I finished with a respectable 4:06, was injury-free, and fully able to enjoy the magic!
Although I continued the Fluid Running classes, I also (as many runners do) continued to push my land running even during pain. No surprise that I sustained yet another overuse injury, this time to my Achilles, and on a similar timeline, about three months prior to Marathon #2. My training would be almost identical to the first marathon, and Fluid Running once again prepared me for the 26.2 miles. To top it all off, I finished with a PR of 4:04.
Finally able to train without injury, I was determined to go for a sub-4-hour time in my 3rd and most recent marathon. Being mindful of my previous overuse injuries, my program consisted of two FR’s a week and just one long land run. As part of my Fluid Runs, I added Jennifer’s Athletics class to my regimen, and I immediately loved the intensity of it. This incredible “track workout” in the pool continued to raise the bar on my max heart rate without the forces on my joints that land running produces. Quickly, I began noticing pace time improvements in my land runs. This was reaffirmed when I ran the Chicago Half Marathon during this training period with a PR of 1:41, which was 7 minutes faster than my previous PR. Needing a quick recovery to return to my marathon training, I resumed my Fluid Running just 1 day post-race. I entered the pool sore and stiff, and exited forgetting that I had even run a 13.1 one day prior. The cool water temperature and its pressure around my lower extremities had a significant effect on reducing the swelling and inflammation that I was experiencing. Yet another great benefit of Fluid Running! With only four training weeks left to go, I added Jennifer’s H2Go program to the end of each Athletics class in hopes of improving my endurance. The many hours in the pool were not in vain. I finished the Marine Corps Marathon in 3:42, which was not only a PR for me (by 22 minutes!), but also a Boston Marathon Qualifying time. As shocking as it may seem to runners (including myself), this was accomplished with only one land run per week!
I have personally experienced amazing results thanks to Jennifer Conroyd and her Fluid Running program. Just two years ago, I feared that I would need to quit running all together. Now, I am planning to run the Boston Marathon in 2020. In sharing my story and passion for Fluid Running, I hope to inspire both runners and non-runners alike to give this workout a try! It is truly my running “Fountain of Youth”.
– Jen Govostis