Today's workouts (treadmill): 1 mile plus (elliptical): 20 minutes
I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a test of fitness machines that mimic the motion of running. Unfortunately, I can't share the brands or models until after the study is completed. At this point I'm thinking that the only fitness machine that actually makes you feel like you're running is a treadmill. However, if you keep an open mind, these machines can provide a great workout.
The concept of running comes up a lot in discussions about the test subjects. It's probably more accurate to look at these fitness machines as variations on an elliptical trainer. If you don't like ellipticals, your opinion won't change much when using this new design. Runners who do like elliptical machines will probably appreciate the key differentiator: user controllable stride length.
I've had orientation sessions using three different machines that have provided distinctly different experiences. On the positive side, the lack of impact produces a pain-free workout. Each machine approaches the motion of running differently and my acclimation to the "running" process varied greatly, based on the design. Not so positively, I've noticed a slight pain in one heel and at the side of one knee, although this may not be related to testing. I had a stand up desk installed in my office and have been on my feet a lot more this week.
I decided to test the waters with a one mile treadmill run this morning. The forgiving and flat surface provided the best possible scenario for protecting my injured disc. I feared that the pain in my upper thigh that made Saturday's run a torture session would reappear. The pain didn't return, but my gait felt awkward throughout the entire session. I followed the treadmill run with 20 minutes on the elliptical, making it a well balanced, moderate workout. I may hit the road tomorrow and I hope it doesn't hit back.