When the mind has an appointment the body can't keep

When the mind has an appointment the body can't keep

I'm not sure who it was that said that but I know I've heard that quote somewhere. It was an ex-athlete or ex-sports person talking about getting older, feeling as though he could still go out and perform at the same level but physically was unable.

I'm sure that many of us over 40s have related to this at times, especially if we have had a long (or short) lay off. We set off on our training run, or in a race, at the pace that we think we can sustain. It's the pace we've always run at so what's the problem? Well the problem is that the lay off combined with being a little bit older results in hitting that lactate threshold sooner and a rapid slowing of pace.

The other problem we find as we get older is that we don't recover as quickly from our training sessions. Where we used to train hard one day and easy the next before going hard again. We're now finding that we need two easy days after a hard session or even a complete rest day followed by an easy day after a hard session!

That's okay though. We can ease off a little can't we? Well we can but I actually enjoy running in the fresh air and I miss it if I can't go. There's nothing quite like taking yourself off and stretching out over a few miles. It gives you time to think, sort everything out in your head and generally de-stress.

Over the last few weeks I've been able to get out as often and for as long as I did when I was at my peak. This is all thanks to the ElliptiGO bike. The ElliptiGO is like a cross trainer on wheels. It's fantastic for a runner because she (or he!) has to use a running-type of action to power the bike. Rather than your legs using a cyclic action they work like pistons, as they do when you run, so the activity is more specific to running. For me, this is great. It means that when I substitute a running session for an Elliptigo session I get to do all the things that I love about running. I get out in the fresh air, give my heart and lungs a good work out and the same muscles that I need to condition for running, without the impact of running. I was reading an article about Lauren Fleshman who used an ElliptiGO to allow her to do extra mileage in order to train for the New York Marathon last week. Lauren is an elite 5000m specialist but decided she wanted to have a go at the marathon. She had also had some pretty bad injuries and so had to be careful. She used an ElliptiGO to reach the volume of training that she needed to prepare for her debut that she completed in 2:37!

The great thing about the ElliptiGO is that it allows you to cross train in a way that is very close to running. Yesterday (14.11.11) I put an article in the news "Specificity v cross-training" outlining the benefits of cross-training but warning that in order to train for a running event almost all of your training needs to be in running. The ElliptiGO comes close to giving you the best of both worlds. It's not a bike that gets you from A to B quickly, although it's pretty rapid when you're on the flat with the wind behind you and in 8th gear! Try riding into the wind or up a hill though and you work a lot harder than you do when you are just putting one foot in front of the other.

I also came across this article about George Watkins who rode his ElliptiGO from John o' Groats to Lands End this summer. Have a read and you will see that it is by no means an easy ride!

I wonder if he got the same looks and comments that I get as he made his journey from north to south. When I went for my test ride in Milton Keynes I didn't notice anyone taking very much notice at all but up here, in the Manchester suburbs, I am the centre of attention when I go out for a ride. I've had people pull me over so they can get a closer look, I've had people filming me out of car windows on their mobile phones and hear lots of shrieks of wonder and disbelief along with "Wow! What's that?!" as I fly by. Could it be that the people of the south are more accepting of such unusual practices or more accustomed to folk engaging in unusual behaviour? Perhaps so! I wouldn't be surprised if I start to see a lot more of them popping up though. They are pretty big in America. It's only a matter of time before injured or older runners discover the joy of the ElliptiGO.