Just in case you haven’t noticed yet, one of the things to which I dedicate a significant portion of my life are marathons. While the sentence “you won’t know until you try it” has almost lost its meaning, it still rings true for marathons. I often like to say that it is the most extreme sport of them all. And many may well disagree at first, and mention sports like skydiving, base jumping and all that other acrobatic stuff, which I respect, because they are truly dangerous.
But, running marathons not only pushes your body to its very limit and to the verge of collapse, but also your mind and your psyche. It’s the ultimate challenge, in which your biggest rival is you.
Those 42 kilometers, however, are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s only one day of the year, or to be more exact, just a small portion of it. The rest of the year required intense preparation and lots of sacrifices – all of the hidden hard work.
I have to make sure that I have proper training, nutrition, diet, the right footwear, so on and so forth. Also, I have to be careful with my choice of training destinations, because I have to train all over the world in order to achieve better results.
But, sometimes, it’s not possible for me to travel somewhere else for some reason or another, or to even go outside, which puts a damper on my training process.
Training in Ireland throws up extra complications. Put simply, the weather is not always conducive to good training. We get very wet and relatively cold, long winters and this can play havoc with training schedules.
So, I like many Irish athletes before me learned to embrace some indoor alternatives. Thankfully today you have a lot of alternatives from gym training to home exercise equipment and from exercise bikes and free weights to my new favorite – elliptical trainers.
Is an Elliptical the Best for Cardio?
I came across the joys of elliptical machines a few years ago now, thanks to a friend and it has been an eye opener. If you need some information you can see what they are like here – that’s a great site to give you an introduction to these trainers, it also reviews the latest machines. They have many features which make them the perfect bad weather training for marathon runners.
They can provide pretty extreme cardio workouts – pushing you to your limits faster than any exercise machine I have ever tried. Top end machines use high resistance levels and automatic incline gradients to keep you pushing yourself. Another major advantage for the long distance runner is the low impact nature of the workout. We all know the stresses put on our knees and ankles from long hours pounding the roads. Ellipticals allow you to train without the same stress on your body – this also makes them ideal for recovery training.
Elliptical trainers, of course, are never going to replace your entire training process, but they should have a place in it – giving you an alternative. Not only do they give me a decent cardio workout, but they also minimize the chance of me getting injured or strained during exercising. And injuries are something that every athlete dreads, which is why I rely on an elliptical trainer to cool down my muscles after I have done my usual routine. I have also noticed that the number of those pesky, small injuries that set me back a few days, has also gone down significantly, and I attribute that to me using an elliptical trainer.
That’s one of the things you should also consider if you want to try and run marathons: an alternative in case you are not able to carry your usual plan. Of course, I’m not saying you have to get one of these, because each and every one of us has their own needs and preferences. But, I do encourage you to find something that works for you and which will help you reach your ultimate goal, or at least play a significant part in achieving it. This is one of the things I have learned along the way, and I’ll be sure to share some more, so stay tuned.