Tag: ElliptiGo

Injured Again

Activities to Keep You Fit

By Dave Dunham

Being injured sucks! I’ve found that just as there is no secret to training (train harder and you’ll get better), there is no secret to avoiding injury. As depressing as it sounds, if you run enough you will mostly likely get injured. I’ve been running for over 35 years and have accumulated more than 800 injuries and missed 1,600 days along the way. I can’t say I’ve learned much from all of those lost days other than I hate missing even one of them.

Being injured is a lonely proposition. Most, if not all, of my friends are runners and it just isn’t comfortable talking about running with an injured comrade. Most of my “social” time is during a training run so without the daily fix I find that I end up being stuck talking to myself a lot. This double-whammy of not getting out running and also being cut-off from a part of my life adds gloominess to my day. One way around this would be getting others to join me in alternative exercise (not easy to do). Another would be to bike alongside my running buddies. It wouldn’t be a workout but it would fulfill the missing social interaction.

I’ve found that almost always there is some kind of alternative exercise that can be used to stay fit during downtime. Each of them has pros and cons and all require MUCH more mental focus and time to get the equivalent of a normal running workout. For me the best plan has been to mix multiple alternative exercises and split them up during the day. That way I can maintain the high focus needed to get a “real” workout during the mindless hours on a stationary bike or running in the water for hours and not really getting anywhere. If you enjoy running on a treadmill then you already have the mental capability to do most alternative exercises. The ones I’ve found most effective are water running, biking, ElliptiGo, rowing, Nordic track, and Elliptical.

Water running is the closest thing to real running without the impact of it. I only do this outdoors now as doing this in a pool is just torture. Although saying that, at one point I was putting in two 90 minute sessions in a pool that was so small a “lap” took less than one minute. I use an Aqua Jogger belt which helps you float in a running position.

You have to be in water deep enough that you are not touching bottom and just run like you would on dry land. I use a wet suit for warmth (October in Stiles Pond can be downright uncomfortable), special water running shoes that add resistance, and webbed gloves to add arm resistance. With all that in place you can manage a fairly decent workout. I’ve got two extra Aqua Joggers and once in a while have been able to con others into a long water run with me. One time Dan Verrington and the Quintal Brothers (Dave and Mike) joined me for a 3 hour run at Stiles. We broke it up with “sprints” to some of the docks and a lot of chatter along the way. It was almost like a regular Sunday run!

The author on the EliptiGo. Photo by Rose Washak.

The author on the EliptiGo. Photo by Rose Washak.

Stationary bike is my “go to” alternative training. I have an excellent old Tunturi bike in my basement which means I can ride any time I want. Having the bike so easily available makes it convenient to just jump on at all hours of the day with weather never being a factor. I also prefer the indoor bike because I can read at the same time. I’ve set up a book stand on the bike and plunked it down in front of the TV/DVD player; that way I can keep distracted during long rides. I’ve also got a road bike and a mountain bike which gets me outside when the mood strikes and the weather is decent.

ElliptiGo is my latest training tool; I just acquired one at the beginning of September. The ElliptiGo (or Go) is a real head turner. It is a cross between a bike and an elliptical trainer. Being able to workout outside is a major attraction of this device that also makes the rider stand out in a crowd. The Go gives a great cardio workout with a motion similar to running but it also works on your core as you have to balance. If you can bike you can ride the Go and the learning curve is short. Within ten days of purchase I was up to doing a 26 mile ride at 15+ miles per hour. What a blast!

Concept 2 rowing machine is a long time alternative I’ve used since back in the late 80’s. The Concept 2 is a great upper body workout and also works your core and legs while having no impact. I have never been able to do more than 15 minutes at any time on this device. The hard plastic seat is very rough on this bony runner’s bum. I like to mix rowing with indoor biking; it breaks up the monotony.

Nordic Track Classic Skier can be a solid workout, again with no impact. I’ve got one but it mostly is just used as a drying rack for my wet biking gear. The few times I used it I found it to be very difficult to put in enough time to get any benefit. It was just too boring.

Elliptical machine is the final item in my workout room, and it is the one I’ve used the least. It is a relatively cheap model which may be why I’ve avoided it, no bells nor whistles make it mind-numbing to use for any length of time. It is good to have as many weapons in your arsenal as possible, so if it came down to it and the elliptical was the best workout for whatever the current injury was I’d use it. I might look more closely at using it more now with the added incentive of keeping “ElliptiGo” fit for racing on the Go in the spring.

I encourage everyone to get out there and always “Be careful out there.” Be especially careful if you are outside biking or Go-ing. It’s been an eye opener to see the number of people out there who aren’t wearing a helmet. Be smart; be safe; live to run another day.

Despite his injuries Dave Dunham has run well over 100,000 miles. This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).

DD Takes on Monadnock

Guest blog by Dave Dunham

Day two of the Government shutdown was also day two of my attempt to ElliptiGo and bike up the paved mountains in New England. This time Pack Monadnock was my goal.

http://www.mapmyrun.com/us/mont-vernon-nh/pack-monadnock-10-mile-race-route-301074147

I was up at 4 am and off for Wilton NH, the early hour meant little traffic on my rides but also meant starting in the dark. I put on a bunch of reflective gear and wore a headlamp as I headed off on the 10 miles of the Pack Monadnock race course. The first mile was tough with a steady climb but after that it would be rolling until five miles. From 5 to 8 miles the climb was tough but then it really got tough with the last 1.5 miles climbing 900’ (total climb 2,500’). The hardest part of the first 5 was the unpaved section, which I bounced along without really being able to see where I was going.

dunham PICT0040
I hit five miles in 27:01, about what I’ve raced it in, and then the grind started. I had trouble with the steeper parts on dirt road with the back tire slipping a bit. I got to 8 miles in 44:46 and knew it’d be a real grind from that point. The next .7 on Route 101 wasn’t too bad and I hit the gate into Miller State park in 50:42. Wow, the next 1.3 was tough. There was a guy walking his dog and it took me forever to catch him. I grunted and sputtered to the top in 1:05:03. I’ll claim a PR and maybe a first ever ascent on the Go?

I spent 7 minutes on top getting pictures, checking out the fire tower, and chatting with some of the hikers. The trip down the mountain was wild, my hands got sore very fast from gripping the brakes. I reached the gate in 5:06 (15 mph average). Then it was off to Route 101 and the 9 mile descent back to Wilton. That was a blast. I worked it the entire way and the miles zipped by. Not that I wasn’t aided by the 1,100’ of descent. I covered the 9 miles on 101 in 27:05 (20 MPH).

It took me about 5 minutes to lock up the Go and transition to the mountain bike. I pumped the tire pressure up to see if this’d improve my riding on roads. My legs were already a bit trashed from the 1:47 I’d already spent on them. The first mile again kicked my butt, but then I enjoyed the next four miles. I hit the 5 mile mark in 25:49 which put me up over a minute on the earlier ride. I really felt it during the next three miles which took me 17:30 to cover (on the Go I’d done it in 17:39). I lost ground on the climb to the gate (a MINUTE slower than I’d gone on the Go and that was only 7/10ths of a mile!) it was getting ugly.

I kept it going despite my brain continually asking me “why are you doing this”. I gasped to the summit in 16:18 (almost 2 minutes slower than on the Go) and a total of 65:50. I spent no time on the top and zipped back to the gate in 3:51 (20.5 MPH). Then it was off to the races back down Route 101 pedaling like mad the entire way and watching the 2/10th mile markers as they zipped by. I covered the last 9 miles in 26:48 (20 MPH) and got off the bike all wobbly legged, a sure sign of a good workout J

I finished the day with a 5 mile run in the woods with Dan. I don’t know if I’ve ever done a harder workout (the double Pack ascents, not the run with Dan).

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The ElliptiGo is gaining popularity and we’re curious to see how members of Level Legion embrace it and utilize it. More to come from Dave on this topic, but in the mean time you can follow his running and ElliptiGo adventures on his blog.

Dunham ElliptiGoes Up Wachusett

Wachusett Mountain

Guest blog by Dave Dunham

Since getting my new workout tool, the ElliptiGo, I’ve started to seriously look at not just biking up the paved summit of New England but now also going up them all on the Go!

I biked up Kearsarge a few weeks back and that got me fired up for doing the original three USATF NE mountain series races (Kearsarge, Wachusett, and Pack Monadnock). The Government shut down on Tuesday morning and I took full advantage and headed off to bag Mt Wachusett.

Wachusett Mountain:
http://www.mapmyrun.com/us/westminster-ma/wachusett-mountain-climb-route-300943551

I got up at 4am and did my morning row, bike, row, then headed off to Princeton, MA. I first ran up Wachusett back in 1996, this would be my first time up on either the Go or the bike. I used the “new” version of the course, which started at the base of Mile Road and went to the summit via the “down” road. I got on the Go and headed up the road in a pretty low gear. I knew the first mile would be tough, but it was REALLY tough. I got a bit of a break as you enter the park and drop down a bit. After that it was back to the grind (pretty much a steady 7% grade). I found a decent rhythm and worked right to the top. It took me 24:13 to reach the tower. During the running race back in May I’d run up in 24:04.

I hit the summit just after sunrise and got a few pictures and checked out the new fire tower on the summit. Zoom! Off I went down the mountain the fastest I’ve ever gone on the Go. It was a blast. I was down in 7:32, which is an average of 24 MPH including the uphill stretch leaving the park.

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I quickly locked up the Go and was off again, this time on my Mountain Bike. My tire pressure was a bit low (set more for off-road) but I wasn’t racing or anything, just out enjoying the morning. I hit the top in 22:46 and came down in 6:35 (average 27 MPH). After the ride it was off to the River for an easy 4 mile run then back home for another row, bike, row. Day One of the shutdown in the books!

The ElliptiGo is gaining popularity and we’re curious to see how members of Level Legion embrace it and utilize it. More to come from Dave on this topic, but in the mean time you can follow his running and ElliptiGo adventures on his blog.

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