By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Photo by Troy Harvey/Ventura County Star

Injured runners take to the water

October 20, 2014

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. - An avid runner with osteoarthritis in her knees and two previously broken ankles, Lucy Leyda found a safer way to get her fix through a zero impact workout called aqua running.

“This is good training if I’m injured to keep the cardio up,” said Leyda, 46, of Simi Valley. Leyda said the water workout has increased her speed and endurance on the ground. “It improved my running form because you have to really think about your form in the water and it transfers over to actual running.”

Leyda was among nine individuals who recently participated in aqua running at the community pool at Rancho Simi Community Park.

Randy and Sarita Shoemaker, founders of 805 Boot Camp, offered the event.

The couple discovered aqua running after they suffered injuries.

“Both of my knees were jacked up and my doctor said no more running, Sarita Shoemaker, 46, recalled. “The feeling I get from running has been part of staying sane in an insane world. Imagine being told ‘that’s it.’ So I was pretty depressed.”

Her husband tried to help by facilitating kettle bell workouts at home.

“Then he broke his toe,” Sarita Shoemaker recalled. “After the broken toe Randy got serious about aqua running. Putting our heads together we have now successfully made aqua running part of our lives.”

Running in the water creates even pressure and resistance training, she continued.

“The technology behind the water has been what we’ve gotten so much out of,” said Sarita Shoemaker, adding she no longer has pain in her knees. “It has enabled some of the athletic friends … that have serious injuries to get back into exercising despite their injury.”

Randy Shoemaker said the biggest advantage of aqua running is the activity evens the playing field.

“There are so many workouts that you cannot do with 40- to 50-year-old adults — specifically advanced running exercises,” he said. “In the pool everybody’s the same; we can do these fun advanced workouts because we’re all floating.”

At the recent event, the Shoemakers led a session in the deep end of an Olympic size pool with Sarita in the water helping participants and Randy on the ground calling cues.

Each participant was required to wear a flotation device around their waist called an “aqua jogger belt”.

“This keeps your head above water,” explained Randy Shoemaker, who led the group through exercises including numerous sets of 45- and 60-second sprints.

Participants were encouraged to replicate their running form with strict attention to arm motion while resisting the urge to swim or doggy paddle.

“This is not swimming,” Sarita Shoemaker said. “We’re trying to not swim. We’re trying to stay upright.”

Participant Angie Liston admitted the challenge of mimicking running in the water.

“It’s hard … because you want to swim when you’re in there,” said Liston, 56, of Simi Valley. “So I close my eyes and imagine I’m running because I have a tendency to bend forward.”

Missy Kilpatrick came to find a way to prevent the shin splints she typically endures from running on the pavement.

“This is so awesome because you don’t feel the impact on your body,” said Kilpatrick, 52, of Simi Valley. “It doesn’t hurt. And it’s fun.”

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