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Training & advice

Need time out from running – take to the ElliptiGO!

Are you injured and frustrated with not getting into the outdoors for the fresh air that you take for granted as a runner? You could go to the gym but do you really want to exercise indoors? If one of your motivations for running is to get outside and feel ‘at one with nature’ you may want to meet thee ElliptiGO bike, a cross trainer that takes you out and about.

The Elliptigo was born in the United States and has been doing very well there, since 2009. One of its creators was frustrated that he could not run anymore and so considered cycling but found the bike uncomfortable and alsofound that workouts were time-consuming. It takes a lot more time to get your heart rate up and work the energy systems on a bike than it does running. He started using the indoor elliptical trainer but although he liked the exercise, he hated being locked in a gym. To solve this problem, he decided to buy a low-impact running device he could ride on the street. Then he found that there was no such device. He got in touch with a running friend who was also a mechanical engineer and the two of them set about creating the ElliptiGO.

When the ElliptiGO was introduced to the UK, I was one of the first to trial it and I saw immediately how I could benefit along with the runners that I work with. The ElliptiGO has not been designed to get you from A to B quickly but to give you a good workout. I don’t run as much as I used to because now that I am older I find that I am constantly battling niggles, if I try to do too many miles, so I go out on the ElliptiGO, approximately three times per week and get a great work out on it. It is also great for the younger runners when they have a niggle or injury or to use on a day off running, for cross-training. The action is more like running than cycling and so the muscles and movements used are those that you use for running. This means you stay fit for running and it is quicker to get back after a ‘lay-off’. There is no saddle, so there is no sitting down and it doesn't free-wheel to the extent that a cycle does so you can get your heart rate up pretty easily. We are lucky to have two of them so we can go out in pairs and enjoy each other’s company. I also sometimes go out on it when the running group are on a ‘pack run’. It enables me to keep up and watch how they run their session. However, I have to beware of the hills as uphill ElliptiGOing gives you a particularly tough work out! It does have gears and I certainly use the full range in the area we live as there is no shortage of hills.

Over the past few weeks I have done a few sessions with another runner who is using the ElliptiGO as part of her rehabilitation back from injury. We have become quite bold lately and moved away from our usual routes through the local parks and out onto the country lanes, uphill and down dale! We get some great comments as we go sailing past: we hear children asking their parents “Wow! What is that? Can I have one?” We also get some strange looks from dogs who are out walking with their owners and can’t quite fathom what it is that is cruising by. We have also experienced people leaning out of their car windows and taking photographs with their phones! It’s one way to get attention!

By altering the routes we are also going further and the last session was 80 minutes during which time I think we covered around twelve miles. I have learnt not to wear too many clothes as I get warm pretty quickly although more wind resistance is needed than in running because you move pretty quickly if the terrain is flat or downhill. At this time of year, in the autumn I find running tights, long sleeved top and windproof jacket is ideal.

For more information on the ElliptiGO go to

By Jackie Newton, former international marathon runner and UKA level 3 coach