Are “elliptical” machines at the gym useful for runners? Do you personally work-out on ellipticals? If so, what do you do on them? Or is it better to just stick to the treadmill?
I frequently use elliptical trainers to supplement my running. When I’m injured I use them all the time, and when I’m healthy, the elliptical makes a good substitute on the days I don’t want to run twice.
Out of all the cross training methods, I find elliptical most complementary to running, and the most fun to do. Some will say aqua jogging is better, but if you aren’t injured with a stress fracture that prevents weight-bearing exercise, why torture yourself in the pool? I don’t know, that’s just how I look at it, but I’m not exactly a lover of water.
On the elliptical, a resistance setting between 6 and 8 while maintaining a quick cadence mimics the effort of running pretty well for me. I keep the ramp low because I’m a wuss and don’t want burning quads for 45 minutes straight.
If you are training for fitness and recreational road races, then swapping out a run for elliptical twice a week is a great idea. It takes the load off your legs and helps prevent over-use injuries. You have to be careful though because, unlike the treadmill, its easy to cruise through an elliptical trainer workout without breaking a sweat.
When I get on an elliptical, I do intervals almost every time. Try a 10 minute warm up, and 8 sets of 90 seconds steady/hard, 90 seconds easy, and a 10 minute cool down. Another option: 6x 1min steady/hard, 1min easy; take a 3 minute easy break; 6x 1min steady/hard, 1min easy.
I like to get on one of the ellipticals next to someone reading a magazine who is so relaxed she isn’t even mouth-breathing, and proceed to work myself into a sweaty mess, drops flicking off my elbows onto the floor forming a puddle while I huff and puff, inevitably scaring her to death. Its a little hobby of mine. Kind of like one of those jokes where you walk into a crowded elevator and proceed to the very back corner where you face the wall for the remainder of the ride up. Freaks people out every time. Have fun with it