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Can you use an elliptical to train for a race?

NOV 16, 2022

Minute 1: How effective is elliptical training for runners?

How little running can you do and still compete at the elite level? You may want to ask Parker Valby, a freshman at the University of Florida. She placed 2nd last year at the NCAA 5K championships despite battling a calcaneal stress fracture, and she credits her success to an unconventional approach. You may never underestimate cardio gym equipment again after reading “Yes, The Elliptical Can Create Champions. Here’s How.” The lead up to Parker’s race involved only about 2 runs a week for 4 weeks. The rest of the time was spent on an elliptical, in the pool, or other low impact activity that would allow the stress fracture in her heel to get better. Lots of coaches agree, the elliptical is a good way for runners to add aerobic volume. They have a lower likelihood of causing injuries common among runners like twisted ankles and plantar fasciitis. Studies show that as long as you use these machines with a similar intensity as your runs, you should see athletic improvement, according to “Cardio Machines That Improve Running (That Aren’t the Treadmill).” The article notes that ellipticals can be especially useful for runners looking to improve their posture, since it activates your core and arms as you move and promotes an upright stance. If you want to dive deeper into the subject, Healthline provides this analysis: “Elliptical vs. Treadmill: Which Cardio Machine Is Better?” In addition to the elliptical, Parker also relied on an arc trainer. If you’re wondered how that compares to an elliptical, check out: “How Is the Arc Trainer Different froman Elliptical?

Minute 2: Is it time to get back in the gym?

For once, it was gym owners, not their visitors, who were sweating it out. That’s because social distancing and at-home fitness trends caused a huge dip in membership through the duration of the pandemic. The bricks and mortar fitness industry lost billions in market value as a whole, but things are finally starting to turn around, according to this new piece: “Gyms are back, and landlords love it.” As the risk of Covid continues to trend downward, monthly gym visits have increased 18% from 2019 levels. Gyms are getting safer, but understanding how they can be a hotspot for spreading illness is important for keeping yourself healthy. Take a look at “A New Study Explores Why the Gym Can Be a COVID-19 Spreading Hotspot.” High intensity exercise causes us to cycle lots of air in and out of our bodies. With that comes a large transfer of airborne particles, like the viral material that can spread Covid. What’s the best defense against that? Finding a gym with favorable conditions to limit the spread. That means a big room that isn’t crowded, high ceilings to prevent dense buildups of particles, and a solid air filtration system. Once you’ve found a suitable gym, you’ll want to read “Welcome Back! Safely Reintroduce Yourself to the Gym Class.” Coming back to the gym after a long layoff can increase your likelihood of injury, so caution is warranted. #BreathOfFreshAir

Minute 3: Fat bikes balloon in popularity

If you think that cycling across the United States is a little too crazy for you, consider the audacity of this trek: “Italian ultra-cyclist aims to complete first coast-to-coast crossing of Antarctica by bike.” You read that right. Omar Di Felice aims to make the 2000 km journey through frozen tundra thanks to the capability of a fat bike. If you’re not familiar with this version of two-wheeled transportation, they’re a lot more agile than their name implies. Fat bikes are built quite similar to a mountain bike, except the tires are far wider. That allows them to traverse snow, assuming you’ve dialed in your tire pressure correctly. For tips on how to do that, as well as some other useful pointers for beginners, check out “A complete guide to fat-biking basics.” While Omar may be trailblazing across the Antarctic, most of us will be better off taking groomed and packed trails, at least until we’ve built up some experience. There are a few rules to follow that will keep your and your fellow bikers’ experience running smoothly, so familiarize yourself with “Fat Bike Etiquette: 10 Dos and Don’ts for Riding in the Snow.”

Minute 4: This is why your neck hurts as you age

There are times when aging can be a real pain in the neck. We don’t mean that idiomatically, we’re talking about the all too real sensation of frequent neck pain that occurs in older adults. If you’ve experienced what we’re talking about, you’re not alone. Researchers have identified the causes of neck pain along with some practical solutions: “Why Neck Pain Worsens With Age and What to Do About It.” The first reason for increased aches is degeneration of cartilage in your spine and joints. Also known as osteoarthritis, cartilage can dry out, causing it to become brittle and provide us with less cushioning. If that sounds like something you’ve experienced, you should consider these “7 Foods that Help Rebuild Cartilage.” These foods pack a 1-2 punch of anti-inflammatory nutrients and high collagen levels that give your aching neck exactly what it needs. Neck pain can be brought on partly by diet, and partly by your exercise habits. Use these “6 Neck Mobility Exercises That Will Change Your Life” to loosen things up and maintain your full range of motion. There’s also myofascial release therapy techniques worth trying as well, and they can help your neck and full body alike. Here is: “Heat, Soften, Hydrate, and Move: The Future of Performance Mobility Is Fascial.”

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • We love exercises that can be performed anywhere, and despite their name, mountain climbers don’t require a hill or even access to the outdoors. They’re a cross between planking and high knees, and as you might expect, they’ll target your core and quads for one heck of a HIIT workout. There are plenty of variations you can try based on mountain climbers to mix up your approach and hit different muscle groups, according to this new story: “5 Mountain Climber Variations That Work for Every Fitness Level and Goal.”

  • For trail runners, cyclists, and hikers, a good sense of balance can be the difference between a fun outing and a trip to the doctor’s office. Despite what you may have heard, balance can be trained and improved like any other physical attribute, provided you take the right approach. If you’ve ever taken a balance test (like the one we featured in Minute 6 of this issue) and didn’t like the result, you may want to take a look at these 3 tips for improving balance: “I’m a Trainer, and This Is Why Your Balance Isn’t Improving Over Time.”

  • When it comes to diet, sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. In the case of white rice, for example, there are a few pros and a few cons you’ll hear about in these “7 Surprising Side Effects of Eating White Rice.” On one hand, they’re a great source of carbs and B-vitamins, which can improve your energy levels significantly if you’re deficient. However, excessive consumption of white rice was associated with higher rates of metabolic syndrome. It’s all about finding a balance, so take a look at the article to figure out how much rice is right for you.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Sometimes as a runner, you’ll get the picture-perfect finish to your race. Other times, fate has different plans in store and you’ll have to take on one last challenge before the fight is over. We hate to see a runner stumble just before the timing mats, but it sure is inspiring when they manage to pull themselves together and gut it out to the finish. Michael Kunyuga did just that at the Hanover Marathon in Germany. He was one his way to a second place finish when he tripped and fell only a few feet from the finish line. With another runner fast approaching behind him, Michael was at risk of losing money, a higher spot on the podium and a marathon PR. He wasted no time crawling toward the line so that he could hold on to his hard-earned silver medal position by a mere 3 seconds. Take a look back at this dramatic moment in the link below.


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