If water-running is not an option, then aim for the next best thing!
Ask any of my athletes. As soon as there is a chance of an injury or they are training for a half or full marathon and don’t want the constant pounding or want to get that extra “run”, the first step is “Are you cleared to or okay to use the Elliptical?”.
Now don’t think I’m talking about going to the gym with your favourite book and being able to have a chance to read it, or the ability to chat with your neighbour about the latest reality episode of “Surviving X-Race with your Bachelor Idol”. I’m talking about going in with a plan, that will replicate your run workout for that day. It could be a steady run, intervals or hill repeats. Generally, if I’m going to get an athlete to do an elliptical workout, it will be intervals – relieves the mind-numb of the elliptical and being indoors and gets a great sweat on.
The reason the elliptical is a good option if you can’t run or want to get that extra session, is the fact that you can replicate the running motion, it’s readily available (unlike deep water running) at most gyms, it’s low impact and you can easily control the intensity and cadence.
TIPS ON USING THE ELLIPTICAL
- Try to keep a consistent cadence -180 spm (strides per minute) is the equivalent of 90 foot strides per minute (per side) in running – which in many professional circles in considered optimum stride rate
- Work within the correct resistance and incline for your specific workout – don’t sit at zero resistance and zip through your workout – use the equivalent to your run pace or effort level.
- Avoid using the swing arms, use the small, stationary ones – this will help keep your body in a more natural and upright running position. Better yet, once you become comfortable, try to start swinging your arms, as if running.
- Have your feet “land” under your body, just like in running
With this workout, set the intensity to a level that will elevate your HR to the same point as your 5k or 10k race pace, while trying to match it to your regular cadence. As you would do your repeats on the track, think quick and light feet landing under you – don’t bounce on the pedals, as if trying to push them down.
WARM UP – 10 minutes building your heart rate and cadence up, followed up with 5x (30 seconds at hard intensity and 30 seconds easy) – think accelerations
MAIN SET – 5-8 sets of (3 minutes @5k or 10k intensity/cadence with 2 minutes easy)
COOL DOWN – 5-10 minutes at easy intensity with comfortable cadence
Not being able to run or trying to get that extra mileage in on the elliptical, is not going to be as fun as being outdoors but it will keep your fitness up and help you towards your running goals.