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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June Running Recap: 80 Miles

June has come and gone already. This month got unexpectedly busy. I wasn’t expecting to get as busy as I did in June, but life happens!  With a husband in the military, sometimes you have no idea what to expect and everything changes within the blink of an eye.

Back to Running:

Miles Run: 80
Alter G Miles Run (included in total): 20
Range of Pace: 6:07-11:20-untimed
Races:
Westside 5k (21:00)
HT 3.9 Miler (26:17)
Strength Classes: 5
Core Classes: 6
This month brought change from not running, to running, then finally deciding training for anything wasn’t going to be an option.

When I actually ran, it felt decent.  As I mentioned a week ago, I didn’t feel great but I also wasn’t injured.  It’s been an interesting come back from basically nothing. When I’ve come back from an injury, I’ve had some sort of limitation.  Whatever body part I damaged, dictates how training will go.  Just starting to run again after a burnout, you don’t really have that.  You just slowly ease back into it.  I wasn’t the best at easing back last month and just dove in headfirst.  Luckily got injured before I had to dial back training regardless.

Towards the middle of the month, I found out I was needed during my personal running time for the next month (from 6-9:30 am).  Typically I run in the morning before working at the running store, however, now that time frame is blocked off for me.  On days I’m busy in the morning and then work from at the running store from 10-7 pm, running won’t happen.  I don’t want to exhaust myself squeezing in training when I wasn’t in any sort of shape or training for anything.

This schedule should only hold until early to mid-August. In short until then, I’ll run when I can but you won’t see huge miles from me.  A lot of running will be done on the Alter G treadmill or shorter miles outside when I can squeeze them in.

On a life note, July is one of my favorite months of the year.  I love the warmth so I’m looking forward to a fun month!  I would rather spend the month hiking and enjoying the outdoors when I can!

Posts from June:

What to Do Between Training Cycles
When You’re Body Physically and Mentally Match
The Importance of Easing Back into Training
Benefits of Adding Protein Back after Running

Westside 5k (21:00)
HT 3.9 Miler Race Recap

Saucony Triumph ISO 3 Shoe Review
Brooks Pureflow 6 Shoe Review

Questions for you:
How do you squeeze in runs during a busy day?
How was your month of June?

Training: Alter G and Short Runs

As far as staying busy, my personal last week definitely picked up.  I was able to get a few sporadic running miles in but I didn’t do anything crazy. Like I mentioned last week, the rest of July and part of August will be busy.  I have ultimately decided to spend more time on the antigravity treadmill and run when I can.  As someone who is so injury prone, training, and running sporadically would probably create an injury.  Plus, I don’t care to run in the middle of the day outside.

It’s weird to be a fitness and running blogger, but not train for anything.  Ultimately, I have to do what is best for me, not what is most interesting. I’ll probably be able to consistently run again in the fall and then look for a goal race after that.  I’ll still workout, but nothing aggressive training wise.

For the next few weeks, I plan to cross train, run easy, or on the treadmill. Between the Alter G and a normal treadmill, I believe the Alter-G is a better fit for me so I don’t overstress my feet (my feet are extremely injury prone based on my form).  Here is a video of operating it, but I’ll have a full post later in the week…

Running inconsistently has created half of my injuries so I would prefer not to go that route. Instead, I will wait until the time is right to train for anything serious.  It’s not a huge deal and my body could use most rest.  I personally believe runners make too much of a deal of not training for anything or resting.  The world moves on…it’s just running.  But that is just my two cents.

Log:

Monday: 30 minutes running outside
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 60 minutes AlterG with 60% body weight
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 30 minutes running outside
Saturday: 60 minutes running outside
Sunday 1 hour strength class

Running Posts from the week:
When Your Body Physically and Mentally Match
Saucony ISO 3 Shoe Review
Training: More Reflecting than Running

What are your plans for the Fourth of July?
Are you training for anything?

When Your Body Physically and Mentally Match

As most people know, I took a 6-week break after the Atlantic City Half Marathon.  It’s been the topic of discussion on this blog because it’s the only thing I’ve done running related.  I was not injured, but both physically and mentally exhausted.

I asked myself: at what point do I just mentally rest and refocus?

On the drive home from the race, I knew I was at that point.  Thinking out loud, I never anticipated taking as much time off from running as I did but my body did not recover well from a season of hard training or even the race itself.  One week turned to two, then three to six.  As I continued to rest, I was still burnt out and in no mood to run.

After a while, the running bug bit me again and I decided I wanted (key word: wanted) to get back into running again.  Along with beginning to run again, I decided to get my blood analyzed again with Insidetracker.

Recently, InsideTracker has been a popular topic amongst running blogs.  As someone who graduated with a health degree, I do believe blood tests and results should be more accessible to those who would like the information. Another aspect people don’t realize, is you can send your Insidetracker results to your doctor as well.  Instead of making multiple appointments, you can come in with bloodwork results in hand.

It is not a replacement for a doctor, and they don’t claim to be. The biomarkers tested are endurance athlete focused.  For the average person, results might seem extremely high in a routine blood test.  Endurance athletes typically have skewed results.  Depending on your lifestyle, individual blood results can always be skewed.  For instance, people in upstate NY might have a Vitamin D deficiency, where those living in Florida might not have that issue.  Physical Environment plays a key role in results.

InsideTracker gives simple recommendations that anyone can benefit from.  If a result needs medical attention, they tell you and highly recommend you see a doctor.

It was my third time getting Insidetracker done.  Each time, I chose to pay extra and get the entire process done at my home.  First, I’m not the best with needles. Second, driving into Philadelphia during rush hour, after fasting for 12 hours isn’t a situation I’m comfortable with.  It’s the best situation for me!

Just as the previous sessions, the process went smoothly.  After a few days, I received my results which confirmed everything I felt.

My blood indicated I was both physically and mentally fatigued.

There were a few things that popped up that directly matched how I was feeling.  It was “nice” that my blood confirmed I was mentally and physically fatigued.  (So I didn’t feel like it was “all in my head”)

All three of my AST/ALT/GGT liver enzymes were elevated.

So what does this mean?

One enzyme elevated could mean you were tired but the fact that all three were up meant by muscles were extremely fatigued.  My blood essentially showed that no wonder I was exhausted.  It was overtrained and fatigued.  Before getting the blood work done, I had thought that it was possible I was overtrained, but I didn’t think results would be as high as they were.’

I don’t have a liver disease, but all three remained elevated due to the stress training caused to my body over the past year.  Like most things, it takes time to recover!

How Have I Been Fixing the Problem?

Are having elevated enzymes, the worst thing in the world?  No.  In fact, it justifies why I felt the way I did.

After getting the test, I waited another two weeks and decided to slowly start running again.

I’m not running every day and I’m not running nearly the volume I was previously.  Right now, I can truly say I enjoy each run.  I don’t run for pace, time or speed (unless it’s a race), but just run.  As I mentioned on Monday, I’ve ultimately decided to use the summer as down time too.

With my schedule, running is taking a backseat.  It’s allowing my body to relax even more.  I’m doing many of my runs mid day on the antigravity treadmill at work.  My options are outdoors in 85 degrees, indoors on a treadmill, or indoors on the antigravity treadmill.  If I’m not training hard for anything, why stress my body hard during this period?

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your body doesn’t heal overnight.  Using the summer to run casually, will allow my body to continue to physically and mentally recover.

I’m also taking both a probiotic and liver enzyme which I feel has been working well for me.  It’s only been 4 weeks since starting to take the enzyme but once I go through the entire bottle I’ll discuss it more.

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is I am also striving to eat proper recovery foods.  As my husband trains for another marathon, we’ve made it a focus to work on both proper recovery foods for both of us.  Neither of us has a terrible diet, but we do treat ourselves a few times a week or go out to eat more than the average couple.  For now, we limited eating out (our budget has also thanked us) and focused on cooking more foods together.

Nutrition wise, another aspect I appreciate about InsideTracker is they give personal food recommendations for your own needs.  A few recommendations including peanut butter, wheat germ, and eel.  (I don‘t know if I’ve mentioned but I really enjoy eel, octopus, and squid ;).

Eel tubes

I’ve been incorporating several of these foods into my diet and I’ve felt better and stronger because of it.

I do plan to get my blood tested again sometime in late July or August to see how I’ve progressed. I’m happy to have gotten the test done.  It’s a good feeling when both your mental and physical mindset line up.  When I scheduled InsideTracker, I wasn’t sure what it would show but I’m relieved that it provided answers and is allowing me to recover even more.

I would consider this time for myself, the off season.  Or maybe even the off year.  Relaxing, recovering well and building for a better training cycle is going to allow me to PR at a later time when I’m ready to train again.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten bloodwork done?

What are some of your favorite foods?

The Importance of Easing Back into Training

Whether you are coming back from an injury or just time off, getting back into shape isn’t always the most enjoyable thing.  I like running. However, the feeling of being out of shape and always tired isn’t pleasant.

This particular return, it’s also been incredibly hot.  Thinking out loud, when I left running a few short months ago, most of my runs were in pouring rain and the cold.  Now it’s hot and humid.  To be honest, during my break I also didn’t do a lot of cross-training, so I did also lose quite a bit of fitness.  My first 5k back, I ran at a pace slower than the half marathon I consider to be unsuccessful.  My second 5k I got lost, but I do think I made some sort of improvement.  When I left running, I could run 18:30-18:40 5ks like no big deal.  Currently, I believe I could push myself as hard as possible for a 20:00 5k (but it probably would need to be a flat, fast and ideal day).

But like anything in life, it’s important not to compare yourself to anyone, including yourself.  Some people can jump right into training and never lose fitness.  I’m definitely not one of those people.  

During my run, I didn’t run, I didn’t cross train much and gained a little bit of weight.  I also didn’t care about any of these things.  That just makes getting back into shape harder.

So What are Important Aspects to Remember?

Easy Runs are Important:

You don’t have to run fast at all.  Whether they are coming back from an injury, a rest period of anything else, too many people makes the mistake of running too fast.  It doesn’t matter if you are in shape or not, if you train fast all of the time, you will set yourself up for an injury.  In fact, running too fast all of the time is how I got my first tibia stress fracture.  Easy runs are what build you stronger.  It’s especially important for me, this time because I’m not coming back from anything broken and don’t have something especially suspectable to breaking by doing too much.

Don’t Compare Yourself:

As humans, there is always something to compare ourselves too.  Every article or blog I’ve ever read always says “don’t compare yourself”, but that is so much easier said than done.Whether it’s while running or not.  Don’t compare yourself to yourself either.

With fitness, you are always at a different point journey.  We are never in the exact same fitness level all of the time, and it’s important to recognize that.   Don’t train how you once trained.  You have to build up to the fitness you were once at.  Determine your paces and realistic goals from where you are right now, not 3 months ago.

Slow and Steady Wins the Base Race:

Many times, after I begin running again, I want to go as fast or run as much as possible all of the time.  That is unintelligent and going to result in an injury.  Ease into training and allow yourself to slowly build your base.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is fitness.

No matter where you left, getting back into shape is challenging.  It’s not effortless or streamline.  Perhaps a better reminder for myself more than anything!

Other posts:

What to do Between Training Cycles

NonRunning Workout Ideas

Question for you: Have you ever taken time off of fitness entirely?

 

Training: Sunny Weeks and 20 Miles

My workouts last week included running!  I guess that deserves an exclamation point right?  In the last week, I have felt a lot more motivated to run.  More importantly, I’ve enjoyed running.

Monday: 4 miles with my brother
Tuesday: Strength workout
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 5 miles with my friend Julie
Sunday: 4 miles and Core Workout
Toal: 20 miles

So how was it? 

I’ve been feeling good running.   To be honest, this is the best I’ve felt running in awhile.  Yes, I’m running far less miles but I’m enjoying miles.  There isn’t a lot to say as I continue to build my base back.  Since I took a lot of time completely off, my running fitness has decreased but I know it will come back.

I want to keep doing strength and core workouts.  Like many runners, I often “say” I will but don’t commit to the little extras.  I personally like the Nike Training Club and strength classes at my local gym.

For the next few weeks, I plan to keep doing what I’m doing.  I’ll gradually increase mileage but I’m not going to go crazy.  I do plan to jump into a few local races soon and get a feel for where I’m at fitness-wise.

Posts from the week:

May Training Log: 7 miles

What to Do Between Training Cycles:

Questions for you:

How was your week of workouts?

What is your favorite strength workout?

Training Update: Physical and Mental

Last week was the first time in a while, I had any inclination to run. As I’ve mentioned, the last few weeks have been extremely busy for me (outside of working out).  In anti-runner blogger form, I didn’t miss running in the slightest.

In Early May, my in-laws and parents came up.  Then my husband came home.  Finally, last week I got to see my brother, Matt, who I haven’t seen in two years due to him being overseas.

Working out has been anything but at the top of my mind lately.  Yet, I’ve gone to the gym a few times, and somehow I have found time to maintain a running blog while not running.  Oddly enough, I still enjoy blogging.

Due to the nature of how busy I’ve been this month, I’ve been out of the running store for most of May too.  Mentally, it was probably good to be out of the store although I do miss my friends and coworkers.

Anyways, back to workouts! To be honest, I had to look back on my Instagram this week and remember exactly which days I did what.

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  Short Core workout
Wednesday:  Short Core Workout
 Thursday:  1 Hour Strength Class
 Friday:  Rest
 Saturday:  1 Hour Strength Class
 Sunday:  1 Hour Elliptical

Yesterday, I ran 4 miles with my brother.  No watch, but probably around 10 min pace.  I felt okay.  Is it the start of running again?  Maybe, maybe not but he asked if I wanted to run and I said ok.

Throughout the years, this blog has taken many different turns. 

I’ve swam…

I’ve run…

I’ve blogged through college…

I’ve blogged through working in a public health office…

Most recently, I’ve blogged about working in a running store and well, running!

As my life and interests evolve, so does blogging!  I’m not saying I’m giving up running competitively and I’m not giving up blogging, but it’s important (for me) to take a step back and say: I need to do this for myself, not how those on social media want/need.  Fueledbylolz is a journey of my life and training.  I originally started my blog to reflect upon my journey not to make a career or please readers (although it’s great to find people who share similar interests!)

With all of this rambling, this turned out to be more of a mental update than a training update but we need those too.

In short, last week was a good workout week for where I’m at in life.  I’ve already run this week and it was ok.

Posts from the Week:

26 Pairs of Running Shoes Later

Visiting New York City

Questions for you:

How many years have been blogging?  I’m coming up on 6 in August!  :O

What was your best workout last week?