by Kristen Marchant
Given that running is the highest-risk sport of swim/bike/run, I am always looking for ways to increase run fitness and speed in a low-risk manner. I heard about the ElliptiGo through social media and talked to a few people who had used it, all who gave positive reviews. This led me to contact the company so that I could take one for a test ride, keeping an open mind that this could be a gimmick and not really a valuable training tool. However, I was very impressed with how similar the ElliptiGo was to running in terms of the muscles used, and the ability to get my heart rate up, which is not as easy to do with other cross-training methods such as a regular elliptical or stair climber.
(My elliptigo shadow)
We were able to get a loaner down in Arizona and I have now been able to use the ElliptiGo consistently for 7 weeks. This is one of the best locations to use the ElliptiGo, as I have easy access to a paved, multi-use path that goes for over 50km, as well as there being bike lanes on almost every road. Because the ElliptiGo can get up to comparable speeds as a bike, it is appropriate to take on roads as well. Myself and elite Masters triathlete Bob Knuckey have been using the ElliptiGo to extend runs (for example, 75 minute run + 30min on the ElliptiGo), as well as instead of running if an injury pops up. It is also possible to do interval workouts on it. The model that we have (the 8C) has 8 gears, which means that you can tackle fairly steep hills as well, which is extremely challenging and provides for an excellent workout.
The ElliptiGo, as one can guess from the name, is very similar to an elliptical, but combines a sort of cycling motion as well, which is a double-bonus for triathletes. Much like the difference between riding a bike indoors versus outdoors, there is more upper-body and core requirement to be outside than you would experience on an elliptical in the gym. As a weight-bearing but low/non-impact movement it provides the cardiovascular and muscular benefit of running, but is easy on the back, knees, feet, hips and legs. The best part of course, is that it is fun and can go outdoors. However, it can also be hooked up to a bike trainer for use indoors when the weather is not ideal.
Overall I think it is a very beneficial tool to becoming a better, faster, and fitter runner. You can check out their website for more information and find a place to take one for a test ride.