Running on an AntiGravity Treadmill

Since posting on Instagram about running on the anti-gravity treadmill, better known as the Alter-G, many people have asked to write about my experience on there!

The Alter-G is a great tool that I am fortunate to have access too.  You can see a full list of Alter-Gs near you or in your area.  If you’re Philadelphia or Southern New Jersey local, the one I’ve been using is it at RunningCo. Of Haddonfield.

Alter G is not paying me or sponsoring this post is anyway.

Like many runners, when I have the time I like to run outside. I’m no stranger to the Alter-G and have used it recovering from a few injuries. Injury recovery is probably the most well-known reason to use it, but it’s not the reason I’m using it now.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m busy for a few weeks and running outside is not always an option unless I want to run in midday in 90 degrees.  Since I don’t, my choices are run on a regular treadmill, run on the Alter-G or don’t run. Because I also don’t know what each day is going to bring, my training could also be all over the place.  One week, I could have time for 70 miles.  The next week, only 20.  Drastic changes in mileage would create an injury.   So, I settled on running on the Alter-G.  I’ll still get a workout in and retain muscle memory.  However, I won’t put as much stress as my body.

As I mentioned, many people use the Alter-G to run while recovering from an injury.  There are a few great articles and case studies of how elite runners have trained on the Alter-G during recovery.   Many professional runners also use the Alter-G to keep stress off their bodies, so they are less injury prone.

You can run anywhere between 20% body weight and 100% body weight.

Here are just a few benefits with the anti-gravity treadmill for runners:

  • Physical therapy following an injury to a lower extremity (like the feet or legs)
  • Prolong your running career by building leg strength without the full impact on your body
  • Maintain and develop cardiovascular fitness while injured or away from sports.
  • Run longer and recover faster with less pain
  • Gradually progress and easily adjust the intensity of your workout
  • Change your running form without becoming more injury prone.

So What Exactly Happens?

You put on a pair of specialty pants, step into the Alter-G and allow it to calibrate to your body weight.  From there you can adjust to how much weight you would like to run at.  You can run anywhere from 20% body weight to 100%.

Right now, I feel between 60-70% is a good number for me.  After the machine calibrates, you just run.  You can do anything that you do on a normal treadmill including hills or speed.  I have seen several local elite runners do workouts on it and some people (like myself) just prefer to Netflix and run.

So Why Have I Chosen to Go This Route This Summer?

It’s not a secret I’m injury prone.  Due to my form, I stress my metatarsals more than the average person.  When my training becomes inconsistent, I get injured. As I mentioned, since I am busy this summer, I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to consistently run.

That isn’t because I don’t want to run but because I don’t have the time.  For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been out of the house from 6 am-7 pm.  Sometimes I have a couple of empty hours in the middle of the day, but at that point, it’s 90+ degrees.  I would prefer to run inside anyways.  Thinking out loud, it just makes the most sense right now to use the Alter-G and not overly stress my body.

Incase you missed Monday’s training log, I posted a short video about going through the process.  (And yes, I do make random comments like that frequently)…

Related Posts:

NonRunning Workout Ideas

I don’t hate the treadmill

Questions for you:

Have you ever used an Alter G treadmill?

What are your tips for getting workouts in while busy?  (I could use some!)

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I Don’t Hate the Treadmill

After careful thinking about a title, I realized honesty is the best policy and truth be told:

I don’t hate the treadmill.

Thinking out loud, I’ve spent plenty of winters training almost exclusively on the treadmill.  Before you say: “just get out there and run outside,” I’ll also let you know that I’ve slipped on ice and broken my arm just “running outside.”

While New Jersey is a lot easier to run outdoors year round, some places such as Upstate New York are not.  Some winters it has been -30 outside and you’re so bundled up you can’t get more than a speed waddle outside.

I love running, but I’m not going to run outside only to be miserable or be unsafe while doing so.

In fact, I don’t mind running on the treadmill.  I’m able to put in a certain pace, zone out and go.  There was a significant ice storm the night before my last my last twenty miler before Phoenix.  It was either run 20 miles on a treadmill or miss the run.  I watched 3 hours of Say Yes to the Dress, and it wasn’t bad.

But how do you run on the treadmill if you actually hate it?

First, change your mindset. 

If you call it the “dreadmill,” of course, you aren’t going to enjoy it. I should take this mentality with shopping and call it dreading…maybe I wouldn’t like that too.

Do a Workout You Couldn’t Normally Do:

Is your area hilly?  Use the treadmill to get a flat run in.  Or use the treadmill to run a more hilly run.  You can get a run that you aren’t normally able too.

Find a Friend:

Most runners aren’t the same pace.  With a treadmill, you can both run at your respected pace but still run together.  It’s a great tool to catch up with friends.

Netflix and Run:

I won’t tell you how many TV shows or series I’ve binge watched while running.  You can catch up on TV, the news or whatever and still get a run.  It’s a lot harder to do that outside.

The treadmill isn’t a bad training device.  Sadly, it does get a bad rep.

Questions for you:

Do you run on the treadmill?

What is your favorite treadmill workout?

Training: Blizzards and Treadmills

Running this week was cold.  It seems to be the theme of the week, but that’s what happens when you run in February.  To be honest, once I got below 20 degrees, I opted for the treadmill.  I would rather run in the warm gym and catch up on trashy TV versus freeze outdoors and be miserable.

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday; Easy Run
Wednesday; 6X1 mile repeats (6:36 pace)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Treadmill easy
Saturday: Treadmill Progression
Sunday: Treadmill
Total: 71 miles

My easy runs outdoors were boring and easy.  I didn’t run with a watch.

Workout Wednesday: 6X1 hill mile repeats (6:36 pace)

About 1 mile into my run it started snowing out.  The roads were slushy, and the snow melted through my shoes, but I made it through the workout so I can’t complain.

Was it my fastest?  No.  Did I feel the greatest?  No, but I made it through injury free. 

snow type a6 shoes

I spent this weekend running on the treadmill.  As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have an interest running outdoors when it’s freezing.  I would prefer to run inside when it’s warmer.  To be honest, I feel more miserable than I do badass so for the most part, I don’t mind the treadmill.  I just watch the TV and just zone out.

I also don’t like to do treadmill workouts.  Having a weekend of no workouts and no races was fun.  As I said in my January recap, February is more of a step-down month for me.  There aren’t a lot of races this month, and I have no interest to freeze at races.  I would rather take the time just to relax.

stop running treadmill

We only have two more weeks of February and hopefully a warmer March.  It looks as if next week will be warmer and I can get outside.  I’m taking the month with a grain of salt.  I can’t say it will be my most exciting month of training but no excitement is better than injury excitement.

My goals for February are to run consistently and make it out injury free.

Questions for you:
Do you like the treadmill?
How has the weather been in your area?

Training with No Gravity Part 2

A few people asked me to write a bit more about my experience with the Alter G.  I’ve run on it 5 times now (so I’m not any sort of expert).  I do know I have not regretted a single run.  I haven’t felt pain during or after run, so I’m honestly glad I’ve started using it.  I actually think my recovery is starting to go really well (but I also feel extremely jaded because my last run was at 77% body weight).

Before last week, I had heard about an Alter G treadmill but never used it for myself.  I had seen it downstairs but never used it.  I had seen one of my elite coworkers use it but seeing someone run 5 min miles like no big deal….well you don’t stop to chat while they are doing workouts.

I honestly hadn’t even done that much research about it prior to last week. I was letting an extremely useful training tool pass by me.  After my doctor said I could use the alter G, I did more research and decided to give it a go.

I knew we had one at Haddonfield Running Company to rent and use.  Finding one would have probably been the hardest hurdle.  Life granted me a ray on sunshine though.

So last week I went in to do my 20 minutes.  I knew nothing and once again I had done very little research until about an hour prior.  70% seemed to be the optimal starting point in beginning to run post stress fracture.

You wear a pair of party pants that essentially zip you into the machine.  As it calibrates, you stand completely still with you arms crossed.  It’s a lot easier said then done.   The chamber where you will run fills with air.  The gravity almost feels as if it’s lifting you off the ground. It’s a strange and indescribable feeling. I felt like I was running in the pool but with no resistance.

alter G treadmill pantsSo with that I ran for 20 minutes at 6.5 pace and 70% body weight.  I didn’t listen to music because I wanted to be hyper aware of my foot.  During the run it felt as if there was no pain or pressure on it.  It felt fine.  I honestly wasn’t surprised since it was putting very little pressure on my foot.

After I made it through my 20 minutes completely pain free, it was more the afterwords I was worried about. The next few minutes I felt fine. I chatted with my coworkers. I drove home and felt fine afterwords. I haven’t had any extra aches, pains or problems since adding these Alter G runs. I’ve started to slowly up my body weight use from 70% body weight to 77%. My plan is to keep slowly upping my body weight until I feel good running at 95%, then I will try running outdoors.

Alter G Treadmill

(I’m not being payed to be injured and review an Alter G)

Questions for you:
Have you tried an Alter G?
How do you come back post injury?

 

Base Building Week 2 (60ish miles)

This could be the first time in a while that I chose to take two days off of running this week instead of one.  I don’t regret that decision because I had a pretty solid week.

Monday: 12.2 outdoors (8:13 overall pace) P90x Ab ripper
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 11.55 Treadmill (8:23 overall pace) Nike Training Club Alpha Abs
Thursday: 12.3 outdoors fast finish (7:43 overall pace) P90X
Friday: Cross train
Saturday: 12 miles easy (untimed, recovery) P90X
Sunday: 4 mile race

Each run I had this past week has been productive.  I cannot complain about any of them.  My body recovered really well.  I blame part of that on good nutrition and part of it on sleeping inside because it’s so cold.  It was very hard for me to take two days completely off of running.  My “junk/easy” miles were just completely removed from this situation which resulted in much lower mileage.

On Monday, I was able to get outdoors for a warm run.  Warm! I was wearing shorts.  I honestly didn’t believe the weather man when he said it was supposed to be zero the next day…

rundrawing
Incase you wondered those are large snowflakes

He wasn’t lying though and it was too cold to run outdoors on Tuesday.  I didn’t sleep well and felt really tired and sluggish.  I was a bit upset but knew that it wouldn’t be beneficial for me to run.  I talked about that being a top reason I like rest days here.

Then Wednesday I ran on the treadmill.  I didn’t feel bad nor did I feel great.  I felt bored.  After spending all of last winter logging 70 mile treadmill weeks,  I’m tired of the treadmill.  It has been boring lately.  Not even the Beibs, the Maury show or Ellen can keep me entertained right now.

Thursday I decided I would get outside.  I was not taking no for answer. I started off around 8:50 pace.  I had hoped for a faster paced run this week to work on my turnover.  I can’t really explain it but around mile 7 I just took a leap of faith and decided to push down from an 8:30 mile to 7:30 and hope I could keep it going.  After a 7:30 mile felt good I pushed further and ended up running the last four miles at 6:49, 6:44, 6:49 and 6:42).  I was really proud of this run and couldn’t be happier.   This is my favorite run of this training cycle.

Friday I decided to do easy cross training.  I had been back and forth about it because I knew taking 2 days off would equate to not running a 70 mile week but decided it was okay because I was hoping for faster runs. Then Saturday was easy to stretch out the legs, nothing remotely exciting.

Today (Sunday) I am doing a 4 mile race so I’m hoping it goes well!  It’s rather hill so anything under 6:30 pace will be good with me.   Although the race is hilly, it will serve as a nice baseline.

Finally please don’t forget to vote for me for Napa.  Enjoy the Superbowl!

Questions for you:

How many rest days do you take weekly? 

I normally either take one complete rest day or cross train for one day…but this week I did both.

Which team are you going for in the Super Bowl? 

Treadmill Base Building (70 miles)

This week has been a proud moment in my training.  This week fueledbyfuel told me that I look stronger (and not like an awkward flailing ostrich while I’m running).  I have been doing a little bit of core work (a few times a week) but I have never had someone tell me I was ripped or looked strong.

I’m not going to be posting photos of me half naked on the internet but just know my core is getting stronger for two reasons.  One you probably couldn’t tell anything of it and two, I don’t post half naked photos of me on the internet.  Like running your miles actually equates into faster training…who knew.

Since my last training post two weeks ago, I had made a lot of strides towards getting back to where I want to be.  I’m feeling a lot more confident in my training and life in general.  It’s honestly quite the improvement from my last Debbie Downer training post.  I think there could be a chance for a PR at the New Jersey Half Marathon April 27, but I am hoping to change my goal race to Napa Valley, CA .

As most of the East Coast has been hit by a winter storm, NJ was not excluded.   Most of my runs had to be done on the treadmill.  I struggled a bit with it this week and found myself getting more bored than usual.  My main was focus was to get these runs in and get good quality miles.  Something that is personally different for me on the treadmill is that I know the times I’m supposed to hit and can hit them without worry.  I cannot slog slower miles like I find myself doing running outdoors.  I’ve always believed that winter should be a base building and mile logging time period.  Unless you are training for a specific race during the winter, my primary goal is to come out injury free.

Monday: 11.25 mile run easy outside P90x Ab Ripper
Tuesday: 10.25 mile run progressive (8:16 overall pace)
Wednesday: 10.75 hills on the treadmill (2.0-8.0 incline) 8:50 pace Personal Core work
Thursday: 11.55 treadmill progressive run (6.7 pace-10.0 pace) P90X
Friday: AMT Cross training
Saturday: 11.23 miles treadmill (8:28 pace) P90X
Sunday: Tentative: 15 miles Nike training club abs
Total: Total: 70 miles And lots of core

My goal this week was to have one progressive run (Thursday) as well as one hill simulation run.  Running hills on the treadmill has become my staple treadmill workout.  The amount of sweat and accomplishment after 90 minutes is boarderline gross but I’m always glad I actually do it.

Where I live in NJ has no hills and is pretty flat so logging hilly miles is a challenge.  With treadmill workouts at least I can get some solid inclines in.  I’ve been doing set programs which have gone from 2.0-8.0 several times.  It seems to be working well for me.

My progressive run of the week was a 95 minute run (90+5 minutes of cooldown).  I always log a 6.7-7.0 for 45 minutes then just start increasing the pace from there for the next 45 minutes.  Eventually (for 1 whole minute) found myself at 10.0.  That was enough of that and after nearly flying off the back I went into cooldown (#selfie) mode.

So I have nothing bad to say about this week of base building.  Honestly it was awesome!  I was supposed to run a 5k today (Sunday) but it was cancelled again for ice.  This has not been my month with races but as long as I make it through this season injury free I will come back for a strong Spring season.

OH and Please please take a minute to vote.  I am only 200 votes away from first place.  Winning this ZOOMA trip means so much to me and I’ve never wanted to win anything more.  If you want to link it to your blog, retweet, share to friends facebooks I wouldn’t mind at all.  I’ve never been so close to winning something so amazing.   I’ll continue with daily memes.

Questions for you:

Have you ever had 4 races cancelled in a month?

What was your best workout of the week?  

Diary of Gym Goer Part 2

Last week I posted some gym favorites that I have in my two gyms.  This week I’ll continue the trend.  Please don’t post a comment that you hope you aren’t one of these people.  Unless you come to my gym I can guarantee you aren’t.  We all have strange quirks and this isn’t meant for anyone to get their panties in a bunch.

Moving on, first to some fun facts I learned this week while mindlessly watching the TV on the treadmill.

  1. There was some sort of big McDonalds or Burger King twitter hack…I told you I was mindless.
  2. They use real life clinical psychologists for the show hoarders.
  3. There is going to be a new season of my a favorite show of mine, Awkward (ie never leaving the gym)
  4. Nutmeg is dangerous if you shoot it up in your vein.  (why was this a top news story?)

Pretty boring week if you ask me.

People I saw in the gym this week:

Chatty McPhee Clone: This girl was screaming on the treadmill on her phone while I was trying to elliptical to Cake Boss.  I could physically here her over the volume in my headphones and I’m pretty sure I’m partially deaf.  At least she left early.

Muscle Quenching Meat Heads: I chose an elliptical near the water fountain (for no reason I just did).  These two bro’s came and got water, made eye contact and left 9 times in an hour (I counted).  Does weight lifting require that much water and making eye contact with me? I wasn’t even wearing booty spanx (because I don’t at the gym).

What What in the Butt of the week:  Let’s be honest here, we could have a different person each week.  This week’s winner I could see bottom booty crack.  What an erm…glorious sight the entire time…not.

Dayumm Bitches Love Me…man: Stared at himself at the mirror the entire time he was on the elliptical.  Keep in mind there are 5 machines between him in the mirror and of course I was the one next to him so it felt like he was staring at me.

They see me smelling…they hating: Yes because you smell like cologne and I wanted to vomit.

Potsdam Undergrad: Someone that went to my undergraduate school when I did.  I think we will become good friends and I have nothing snarky to say I just thought it was worth noting people do exist from there.  She is at graduate school now.

Tanning Flashlight: I think I could get a tan just by using the machine next to her.  I understand planet fitness has tanning beds, but I think you are supposed to work out at the gym more than actually use them.   **I don’t use tanning beds at all…never will and never have.

Question for you:  Any life lessons from the gym this week?  Any noticeable characters?