General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running Rss Feed  
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2013-10-28 6:11 PM

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Master
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Subject: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running
I'm a committed indoor biker -- love my KK trainer to death -- but I've never run on a treadmill, and the elliptical has seemed like a step too far for this old school runner. Anyway, today I broke down and did an elliptical session for the first time. I'm traveling in Germany right now, can't run on the roads because of an achilles problem, and the tiny hotel gym had no bike and one treadmill that was already taken. So I swallowed my pride and hopped on the elliptical. I got my HR up to the level of a steady run on a hot day, and went at it for 45 minutes. I was able to get into a gait that approximated running reasonably well. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that "running" for that time took less out of me than a run on the roads would; same as it's easier to do a 90-minute hard ride than a 90-minute hard run. The pounding of running really does make a difference.

So my question is this: instead of my normal practice of just biking more when I'm recovering from a running injury, would it be beneficial to instead spend time "running" on the elliptical. And even when I'm back into running (hopefully soon!) would it be useful to get some extra "mileage" in by adding elliptical workouts. The rationale would be that the muscle engagement is more similar to running. Or is the pounding such an essential part of run conditioning that it wouldn't much help to add the no-impact variant of running? (Of course, I'm not sure that I could bring myself to actually carry this out, even if it was a good idea. But I am curious.)


2013-10-28 6:18 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running

You need the gazelle!

 

I honestly have no clue if the elliptical can offer any benefit but if the majority of the benefit was in the impact then things like aqua jogging and various anti gravity treadmills (Alter G) wouldn't work so well.  

2013-10-28 6:21 PM
in reply to: thebigb

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Sin City
Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running

I'm not sure if it directly relates to running or cycling BUT fitness in general crosses over.  So if you are getting your HR up, it's a positive.  Period.  But, obviously, you can't become a great runner by doing elliptical - it's about sport specific training.

2013-10-28 6:28 PM
in reply to: thebigb

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running

Originally posted by thebigb

You need the gazelle!

 

I honestly have no clue if the elliptical can offer any benefit but if the majority of the benefit was in the impact then things like aqua jogging and various anti gravity treadmills (Alter G) wouldn't work so well.  

Yeah, that is kind of what I was thinking. I think, like alterG, bike and aqua jogging you can certainly keep up your aerobic base. But I wonder if it mimics the muscle movement of running enough? Or if this even matters? 

Colin, can we expect to see you at the Elliptigo World Championships?

 

Just teasing! 

2013-10-28 6:36 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running
Originally posted by Asalzwed
Colin, can we expect to see you at the Elliptigo World Championships?



Ouch! That's a low blow.

The sad thing is, given the combination of (i) running action, (ii) bike climbing, and (iii) no care for how ridiculous I look, that would probably be my ideal sport. It's the logical next step after the Hokas.
2013-10-28 6:39 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running

Originally posted by colinphillips
Originally posted by Asalzwed Colin, can we expect to see you at the Elliptigo World Championships?
Ouch! That's a low blow. The sad thing is, given the combination of (i) running action, (ii) bike climbing, and (iii) no care for how ridiculous I look, that would probably be my ideal sport. It's the logical next step after the Hokas.

Actually, you are 100% correct. You'd kill it.

It's good to see you  btw, sorry to hear you are injured though!



2013-10-28 6:43 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running
Originally posted by Asalzwed
It's good to see you  btw, sorry to hear you are injured though!


It's kind of a "scheduled outage". Trying to repair the body ahead of a build for the 2014 London Marathon.
2013-10-28 6:43 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running

Actually, you wouldn't be alone on the Ellipti-Go. Currently rehabbing from surgery, it is a go to for Pro Jesse Thomas. He posts them on his Strava feed. 

I think it would be beneficial from a few standpoints, but I wouldn't think it translates 100%. But anything that keeps you going, keeps you active, and interested can't be that bad, can it?

2013-10-28 7:06 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running

Best substitute for running when injured is a water running.



Edited by KathyG 2013-10-28 7:06 PM
2013-10-28 7:08 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running
For years the elliptical was my only cardio training. One of my friends convinced me to run a 5k which I did, off zero, and I mean absolutely zero! running, in 22ish minutes. And so began my endurance odyssey.

I believe that hard elliptical training can be a good stand-in for running if you want to reduce the wear and tear. With that being said, currently 95% of my run training is running and less than 5% is elliptical.
2013-10-28 7:09 PM
in reply to: KathyG

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running

Originally posted by KathyG

Best substitute for running when injured is a water running.

Better than an AlterG? 



2013-10-28 7:40 PM
in reply to: cdban66

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Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running

I've only been Tri training for 1 year. When I first started I did my very best to ignore running as I used to hate it. I did a lot of spin classes/strength workouts and swimming. I did include elliptical workouts for aerobic base. After 3 months I finally stopped procrastinating and started a couch to 5k run/walk type of thing. Even though I had the leg strength and aerobic fitness to run I couldn't do it because my ankles hurt too much. The elliptical cushions your stride so much you don't stress some ankle/kneee ligaments. Its good for people who just want a workout or for those who have injuries, but bad if you mostly plan on running on the ground.

Even so, I think it depends on what you want out of it and also what type of machine it is. The open stride elliptical machines are pretty good at mimicking your natural running stride. http://www.precor.com/en-us/precor-amt-open-stride   You can really crank up the tension on the machines so it feels like you are rock climbing.

I view it like spin classes. It will never replace the real thing, but I see no reason why you can't mix things up a bit especially with machines that have good interval options and tension controls.

2013-10-28 9:23 PM
in reply to: LPJmom

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Subject: RE: Never thought I'd ask this -- elliptical and running

I've used the elliptical extensively when recovering from injuries where real running would be impossible or just make it worse.  It was great for maintaining aerobic conditioning and I feel for keeping many of the running muscles active, engaged and healthy.  For one of my marathons, I probably did a third of the total training on the elliptical.  Yeah, an AlterG would be ideal (I've used one and it is both great and cool!) but they are not readily available to all and will be much more costly than using the elliptical at your local gym.  The only caveat I would put out there is that there are injuries that WILL be aggravated by using the elliptical, so do your homework before jumping on.

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