On Thursday, November 20, I was one of the FitFluential Ambassadors selected to attend the Zero Runner Event held at Gym Source in Manhattan by Octane Fitness. As an injury-prone runner (don’t ask me about my knees!), I am very, very interested in ways to train smarter. The Zero Runner is definitely one of those ways.
The Zero Runner looks like an elliptical or an arc trainer, but it’s not. It’s much more than that. Because it offers Zero Impact Running (TM), it’s completely unique from other machines you’d find in gyms or stores. The Zero Runner actually replicates how you run, but without the impact of pounding the pavement/track/treadmill/trail, so you’re able to reduce the risk of common overuse injuries. The bionic legs on the Zero Runner have these interesting hip and knee joints, so you’re free to move and are using the same muscles you’d use when running outdoors and at your own pace.
What it all means is that you get to extend your running career, whether you’re an Olympian like Carrie Tollefson, who was there to talk about the benefits of cross-training (which enhances performance by helping to address the weak links in running and build strength and endurance), an ultra-runner and Ironman finisher like Larry Schmidt, who was also speaking, a newbie to running, or a long-time athlete who qualifies for Boston effortlessly.
The speakers explained that the Zero Runner as a great replacement for “recovery runs” and for some longer training runs, as well as a great alternative to a treadmill on a bad weather day (of which we are very familiar with in New England). And this all came from their own experience, as Larry has injured himself running but has put in 33 miles at once on the Zero Runner, and Carrie wished she had a Zero Runner when she was training so that she could have extended her career. Treadmills do a lot of the work for you, but on the Zero Runner, you’re working. It’s all you. And unlike a treadmill, the Zero Runner is quiet – for a few moments, the room was absolutely silent as we listened to the Zero Runner make its whoosh-whoosh sound that would lull a casual observer to sleep. There’s no cord, either, so you don’t have to stick it near an outlet. It would fit perfectly in my basement.
One of the things that intrigued me the most about the Zero Runner is that it has an app that will trace the health of your stride while you’re running so that you can concentrate on form. My underpronating self’s ears perked up at this. I do form drills and stretches and wear cushioned neutral shoes, but at the end of my last half marathon, my calves were weeping from the way I was running. I’d definitely be interested in integrating some Zero Runner time into my next half marathon training plan.
At the event, Octane Fitness gave a Zero Runner to a lucky attendee in a random drawing. Adina Zilberman won, but the rest of the attendees were treated very nicely, too: swag bags chock-full of goodies that included ear buds, a travel-size foam roller, protein bars, and a Garmin VivoFit, as well as some tasty sandwiches from Subway.
And yes, I got to test out the Zero Runner in my business casual best. After a few fits and starts (and form corrections), I was off, and I definitely felt like I was running. I was working on that thing! Considering that I had dashed from a software conference in the West Village to make this event (in low-heeled ankle boots), I was pretty exhausted.
The verdict? I think I’m going to save up for one. I like the fact that the Zero Runner offers that full range of motion and is quiet enough so I can watch TV while I’m putting in my miles, and I definitely feel like I’d be getting a workout and training smarter.
This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Octane Fitness.