As runners we don’t get many toys to play with. Most of the new technology in running shoes offers slight, if any, improvement. Occasionally there will be a heart rate monitor or GPS unit that offers something new. Overall, though, runners are doing a lot of the same things in the same ways as we were twenty years ago.
So I was excited to go over to Georgia Sports Chiropractic to meet with Dr. Josh Glass and try out their AlterG treadmill. Here was a new piece of equipment that held the promise to bring back that “Christmas morning” feeling (“built on NASA technology!”) and give us runners something new and cool to play with.
The AlterG is a treadmill that allows high-level training at a fraction of your body weight. The base model allows you to run at as little as 20% of your body weight (the equivalent of running on the moon!), and will go as fast as 5-minute mile pace. The idea is to let you train and build fitness while reducing the impact on your joints.
This has obvious benefits for athletes who are injured and still need to train. When I spoke with Dr. Glass he said they had several athletes with upcoming races who were battling plantar or IT band issues that had been getting good results by running on the AlterG.
But it can also be beneficial for healthy athletes. I brought two of my athletes (Greg and Paul) who were a week away from a big 10k race. The goal for us was to get a high-quality tempo run in with less pounding and a quicker recovery time before the race.
From the minute they were zipped into place it was playtime. They were having so much fun adjusting the pace and the percentage of their body weight that I was worried they wouldn’t be able to settle down and focus and get their workout done.
Eventually they knocked out 5 miles at 5-minute mile pace (Greg — “felt like a joke!”) at 90% body weight (Paul — “man, I feel completely obese now running on the ground!”), and everyone enjoyed the experience.
But did it help their race? Obviously it’s impossible to know how they would have run if we’d done the tempo run on the track. But they both said they felt very fresh the next morning, and they both raced great.
So if you’re looking to train harder with less impact, or just looking to have some fun with your running, I definitely recommend checking it out. You can get a partial list of locations (including several in Georgia) here: http://www.alter-g.com/alter-g/customers