Being a runner I love running, it’s what I do and cross training has never been high on my agenda. I use to enjoy a weekly circuit class but that was a ‘freebie’ in the works building gym. Once I moved buildings my circuit class career stopped abruptly. Of course I could have joined a gym and paid for a circuit class but I could run for free and running is my thing, not sweating in-front of mirrors. Another reason I always avoided cross training was I managed to avoid injury for so long. Over the last 7 -8 years I reckon I’ve missed about 4-6 weeks due to a couple of calf knots and/or a small calf tear. If you ain’t getting injured why cross train ? Of course you could say that cross training helps in injury avoidance or prevention but I go back to my earlier point, I’m a runner and faced with option of a cross training session or a run I’ll always ‘lace-up’.
This all changed earlier in the year when I managed to tear my calf and was faced with a 2-3 month period without running. My options were ‘don the lycra’ and get on the bike, join a gym or stop eating (to avoid putting on weight, I’m pretty sure this was unachievable over a 3 month period ?) None of these options inspired me but then I found the Elliptigo ( http://www.elliptigo.com ) and I had an outlet for my exercise addiction. I wrote a post on said item below :-
Just after I brought the Elliptigo, assuming it was the only product available, I found out about an Australian version which seems is cheaper and more suited to running. Always the way, I find out after I ‘splashed the cash’ of course. This Australian product it seems is certainly more running inspired that the Elliptigo (which is more Elliptical based) and built to provide a more ‘running experience’. The Bionic or Predator Plus is available at Run4.com ( http://www.run4.com).
The Bionic was invented in a dusty tin shed in regional Australia which sounds very Australian of course, probably the same shed they invented Holden, Castlemaine XXXX and Ugg boots. Steve Cranitch, the inventor, had noticed in his early 40’s that many of his avid running friends were being forced to give up running due to injuries. The alternatives , as I have already mentioned in this post earlier, just didn’t feel like running. Thus the non-impact running trainer was born.
The Bionic is built to mimic, as close as possible, the running stride and give you the same workout you would expect from a run. I have tested the Bionic and can concur it does work the same muscles, more so than the Elliptigo but both have their place. To me the Bionic is more for a good workout akin to a tempo or interval session, while the Elliptigo is more suited to a long run, of course both can be tailored to your needs with the gears and terrain but personally this is how I would see you justifying both products.
Can I justify both products ? I can yes, my Wife, no and as we are happily married (or that is what I have been trained to say if anybody asks ?) my Wife opinion over rides mine. This is a small price to pay for my ‘running tokens’.
So how would you use the Elliptigo or Bionic as part of your training schedule. I’d swap out a couple of sessions a week initially , to get use to the different training method and then also when you’re tapering, or even ramping-up, use this either as a ‘second run’ option or instead of a run if you are tapering but still need that exercise fix. They can be tailored to everybodies training and the best part is they really are fun. I used my Elliptigo over the weekend as I pulled up sore after the 14k progressive pain train on Thursday. It has been a few months since I rode it as, already mentioned in this post, I love running and given the choice will always choose a second run over all alternatives. Injury , or possible injury, forced me to the Elliptigo over the weekend and I must admit to yet again being pleasantly surprised at the workout the Elliptigo gives you and the general ‘fun factor’. When you ride an Elliptigo it really does put a smile on your face, it is serious fun people and this is the reason why it is my weapon of choice for cross training. It is cross training while still working the running muscles and you don’t have to go to a sweaty gym full of mirrors and ‘wanna-be’ body builders strutting around like ‘preaming peacocks’ .
I surprised myself how much I enjoyed the Elliptigo experience and I made a promise to spend more time aboard the product starting with commuting to work over Summer. If nothing else it’ll give me 3-4 hours a week of extra cardio-training compared to sitting on a train glued to my kindle or iphone. So cross training really can be running, working all the major running muscle groups without the impact , thanks to a dusty tin shed in regional Australia.
After running two races in my Nike Vaporflys 4% and being blown away both times…
Although runners have less opportunities to increase pace without actually putting in the hard yards…