Marathon Mom Krista DuChene on a New Way to Train

Krista DuChene on a New Way to Train


I’ve incorporated water activity in my marathon training for nearly as long as I’ve been racing marathons. The first time I went to our local Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre to use the pool was in 2004 when I had my first injury. I had debuted in Niagara Falls in 2002 in 3:28 and completed my second marathon in Ottawa in 2003 in 3:09. Up next on the list was the famous Boston Marathon in 2004. But instead, I found myself off the roads and in the water, learning how to properly use a swim cap and goggles, breathe between strokes, and pool run up and down the lanes.

Boston would come the following year. I distinctly remember how humbling it was—I could effortlessly run for hours but swimming one lap was an entirely different game. I was completely gassed but up for a new challenge. Between the bike and the elliptical machine, I made the water part of my recovery plan. I had heard the stories of how injured runners painfully agonized over seemingly never-ending pool running sessions, desperate to heal and return to the road or track. I, however, decided that once I was able to run again, I would continue to use the water because of its many benefits—and I didn’t want to only use it, resentfully, when I couldn’t run.

Over the next sixteen years I would continue to use any pool, lake, ocean or other available source of water to pool run, tread water, complete various exercises, and swim laps. I even completed a few triathlons. I found the water particularly beneficial when I was rehabilitating after my surgery to repair my fractured femur in 2014. I remember how accurate my physiotherapist was in saying how good it would feel for my legs to hang in the water. I’ve also had many other feelings of exhilaration upon entering the water over the years. Most notable is the summer of 2016 when I was heat-training in preparation for the Rio Olympics. After running with several layers of clothing at noon on hot and humid July days in Southwestern Ontario and sitting in the sauna, nothing felt as good as jumping into cool water and instantly feeling my body shift to recovery mode. Throughout the years I’ve also enjoyed using water to complete the many exercises I’ve been prescribed by my physiotherapist. There are countless benefits to using water.

Jonathan DuChene: 2020 will almost certainly be a year that we don’t soon forget. It reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day because in some ways every day feels a bit like the day before. Like many families, we have stayed closer to home and have somewhat exhausted the things ‘to-do’ here. We completed many miscellaneous tasks and projects—even cutting down a tree, cleaning up the brush and removing the stump! When the weather turned very warm in June and July, we thought about a pool and initially planned to pick up an Easy Set pool like we have had in the past. We quickly learned that they are virtually impossible to find. Our conversations turned to things more permanent and since we wanted to get the best value for our family we began to research Swim Spas. If you are unfamiliar with a Swim Spa think of a hot tub…now stretch out the length to between 13 to 19’, make it a bit deeper, and you have a Swim Spa.  Our search initially took us online to manufacturers’ websites and eventually to our local stores to see if any had a Swim Spa that we could view. On a very hot June afternoon in Brantford, we got in line at Hooton Pools and Spas and heard the same message—pools are not available. However, we could speak with Mike about our options. Since COVID precautions were in place, we waited our turn to enter the store to meet with Mike who gave us the run-down on their Swim Spas. There would be a lead time of 10-12 weeks so we did not rush to make a decision. We left that day with plans to do more research. 

Krista DuChene: When our family started discussing the purchase of a pool for our own personal use at home, I knew I could make anything work—I’m always happy in water. After much family discussion and research by my husband, we were quite excited to use some saved money to commit to purchasing a “Coast Spas 1302 Bench Performance Series” Swim Spa from the Swim Collection.  And even better, we would be purchasing it through Mike Carey at Hooton Pools and Spas, a local business established in 1977 (the year my husband and I were born!) Mike’s service has been excellent. He has personally and professionally impressed us since the first day we started researching Swim Spas. We look forward to using our Coast Spa for so many reasons: pool or hot tub benefits, water therapy and health benefits, year-round use, convenience, and social get-togethers with family and friends. 

Jonathan DuChene: After looking at more brands and visiting more stores we found ourselves back at Hooton’s speaking with Mike about a Coast Spa. We were very pleased with his service and knowledge, and placed our custom order – the DuChenes are getting a Swim Spa!!  

Our back yard does not leave much room for a conventional pool and there are pools around we can use if we need to dive but the Swim Spa offers us something that we can use for 12 months of the year. It occupies a footprint that fits our space and we are pleased to choose the Coast Spas brand as they are a Canadian Company that understands our climate. Additionally, we are happy to “Buy Local” at Hooton Pools and Spas. As we wait for the Swim Spa to arrive, we can get our concrete pad poured and the electrical work completed in preparation for installation. 

Krista DuChene: The Coast Spa 1302 comes with swim resistant jets, a swim tether, exercise bands and row bars. I will be able to routinely hop into it to cool down after warm summer runs or warm up after cold winter runs. I can use it to cross-train on easy or recovery days, to prevent or heal injuries, and spend quality time with my family. Lastly, as someone in her 40’s aiming to maintain competing at a professional level, this just might help extend my career a bit longer.