Is the ElliptiGO the Best Cross-Training Tool for Runners?

Climbing hills also provides an additional challenge, and you can substitute the ElliptiGO for running any hill workout that's on your training plan.

"I've simulated mile repeats up a really steep hill ... and my heart rate would get a lot higher [using the ElliptiGO] than it would have in regular mile repeats," says Adam Goucher, a now retired pro runner, co-founder of Run the Edge and ElliptiGO Project athlete. "I also found that I could do more repeats. Once you get used to the neuromuscular specificity of the ElliptiGO, then you just gauge your effort off your cardiovascular system [with a heart rate monitor], and you can do a lot more."

Fleshman echoes Goucher's sentiment about completing more reps on the ElliptiGO versus on foot: "If I would normally do 8 x half-mile on land, I could do 12 x half-mile on the ElliptiGO because you don't have the pounding."

More: How to Burn Calories Fast With Interval Training Workouts

If you're just starting out on the ElliptiGO, get comfortable with it first and try the number of reps and effort level prescribed by your training plan or coach first before you experiment with adding reps.

You'll also want to match your cadence and turnover to the desired intensity of your workout. For the eight-speed models, ElliptiGO recommends using gears 1 to 3 for climbing and inclines, 4 to 6 for normal rides on flats, and 7 to 8 for downhill or high-intensity efforts on flats. For the three-speed models, ElliptiGO recommends using gear 1 for moderate inclines, 2 for normal rides on flats, and 3 for downhill or high-intensity efforts on flats.

More: Get More Out of High Intensity Training by Doing Less

ElliptiGO Quick Facts

-Combines running, cycling and an elliptical trainer into a portable elliptical bicycle
-Mimics running outdoors without the impact
-More comfortable than sitting, hunched over, on a bike
-The ElliptiGO is a weight-bearing exercise; this helps maintain bone density
-Requires the same amount of balance as riding a bike
-Cruising speed is 12 to 16 mph; strong riders can achieve 20 to 25 mph
-Ride the ElliptiGO anywhere you can ride a bike
-Riders use their weight to power every stride
-Adjustable handlebars, stride length and foot position; can accommodate riders from 5'0" to 6'8" and weighing up to 250 pounds
-Mounts to stationary trainers when the weather doesn't cooperate

More: Indoor Circuit Workouts for Runners

Three models:

1. Recreational riders: 3C model has three gears and is ideal for riding on flats, rolling hills and moderate inclines of up to 5 percent grade ($1,799 plus tax)
2. Athletic riders: 8C has eight gears and allows riders to tackle inclines between 20 to 30 percent grade ($2,499 plus tax)
3. Competitive racers: 11R has 11 speeds and carbon fiber components designed for racing ($3,499 plus tax)

How to test the ElliptiGO:

1. There are more than 250 dealers across the country that give free test rides from their retail locations, with some extended rentals
2. Several hotels and bike rental shops rent the ElliptiGO on an hourly or daily basis in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Miami and San Diego
3. Test rides are available at large running events, such as the New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon, Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon, Bolder Boulder and others.
4. If you live in New York City or plan to visit, check out the Bike 'n' Roll program, a membership option where people can have unlimited access to ElliptiGOs in Central Park for a monthly fee. The project launches in April 2014; email for more information.

More: 7 Ways to Become a Better Runner Without Running

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