Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 1, 2015
Love affair on the run
I am so in love. A new love for sure. My love affair began back in December when my running buddy found out he could not run on a treadmill or elip on an elliptical without pain. He was rehabbing from an issue with his back that impacted his hip that impacted his knee. With winter snows making cross training on a bike very unpleasant, or on a stationary bike slightly more unpleasant, there had to be an alternative.
Of yes, he could use the stair stepper, but how long does anyone want to go stepping? The rowing machine was out as his therapist said it would interfere with his rehab.
From my perspective it was only a matter of time when the first snows fell and I would be dealing with the same indoor machines. Yes, I was OK on the elliptical and I could row, row, row, but stepping is boring and treadmilling is – well it’s dangerous. Run on terra firma and you are in control. On a treadmill the machine is in control. Stop paying attention or stumble and you get shot off the back end by the dern thing. Who wants to be a spectacle on American’s funniest home videos?
That’s when I found my new love. It began at the hotel health club while at the USATF annual convention in Anaheim in early December. A woman was using a crazy looking machine and she looked like she was running. Hmmm. USATF conventions are jam packed with meetings, and more meetings. I never got back to the health club to look into this new thing.
Then, with the crush of Christmas over, I managed to flip through the latest running magazines that had piled up in my in-box. And there it was – a machine that defies gravity and lets you run with no impact and at your own speed. You can go as fast or as slow as you want and you won’t get bucked off the thing.
I had to have it. With a machine so new I was sure there would be none to be found in New Jersey, but I was wrong. In less than an hour I was staring at my new love. * Not that it seemed to love me back at first. The salesman demonstrated the ease of using it, but he noted that it took him some time before he got the hang of it.
Good thing too, because the first time I put my feet in the stirrups and attempted to run I might as well have been on that America’s funniest home video! It does take some practice – a learning curve as they say.
My pal had the same difficulty getting into the rhythm. The bigger question was the effect on the injured knee. Once he mastered the running technique his knee was just fine. Unlike the elliptical and the treadmill; there was no pain.
Online reviews had said that running on the machine had made it possible to be fit to run once an injury issue had resolved. Users were able to go out and run as if they had not been in rehab, and were fit and ready to compete.
What about the boredom factor? Yes, some people can stay on a treadmill or elliptical for an hour or even longer. But most of us, even watching television, still can’t wait to get off the machines. Not so with my new love. I am building my “mileage” back up. On Friday I ran with my new love for nearly an hour.
* Zero Runner is available at Gym Source of Short Hills, 740 Morris Turnpike. Ask for John.
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at firstname.lastname@example.org.