Dozens of elite runners who used the ElliptiGO while recovering from severe injuries were able to successfully return to competitive running. Learn more about these runners and their experiences with the ElliptiGO:
Lauren Fleshman, two-time U.S. National Champion in the 5,000 meters, reached a turning point in 2010 when recurring injuries threatened to drive her away from competitive running. Unwilling to let dreams of running in the 2012 Olympics slip away, she added workouts on the ElliptiGO and radically changed up her training regimen to outsmart chronic injuries. After a year of using the ElliptiGO in place of 2-3 hours of running per week, Fleshman returned to top form in the 5,000 meters and matched the highest finish ever by an American woman at the 2011 IAAF World Championships.
Injuries have been Fleshman’s nemesis since graduating from Stanford in 2003 as a 15-time All-American. “After college I broke my left foot four times during training. I realized that I had to get smart and do something different or I would never compete again,” Fleshman recalls. “I had to face the fact that I had limitations and that I couldn’t train like everyone else with high-mileage weeks.” When she found the ElliptiGO in 2010, Fleshman knew that she had the solution to her problem. She could continue to build cardiovascular endurance as she ran on the ElliptiGO, but she could do it without the jarring impact associated with her regular runs.
“I knew my body couldn’t tolerate running more than 80 miles per week, so I fill in gaps with the ElliptiGO,” Lauren explained. “Instead of going out and putting the additional volume on my legs and joints, I ride it for the equivalent amount of time that I would be running, replacing some of my key training and recovery workouts, and I try to mimic the same heart-rate zones I would have done in the runs I’m replacing. It’s been an effective way to incorporate more training and recovery workouts into my regimen. I’m able to keep my fitness level on par with my competitors while putting in fewer miles, which greatly reduces the likelihood of injury.”
By letting go of the constraints of traditional training, Fleshman created a whole new way to compete on the world stage. She proved this by being the top American finisher in the 5,000 meter event at the IAAF World Championships in September and the second American woman to cross the finish line at the 2011 New York Marathon in November. “It’s been my best year ever and I’ve been able to stay healthy enough to race in my debut marathon in New York City.” Fleshman said. You can read more about how Lauren uses the ElliptiGO on The ElliptiGO Project website.
She will compete next in the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon in June 2012.
Brian Pilcher exploded onto the Masters running scene just a few years ago and was named USATF and Running Times 2009 Runner of the Year for Men 50-54. His meteoric rise came to a screeching halt in March of 2010 when pain in his hips stopped him from running at all. Doctors determined that Brian had lost the cartilage in his hip and his pain was coming from the bones rubbing together. He underwent surgery to shave down the bones in both hips and anchor the labrum back in place. It was a success, but knee issues soon followed and Brian found himself unable to run for even five minutes. Frustrated with this new reality, Brian searched for alternatives and discovered the ElliptiGO.
For Brian, the key was that he didn’t feel his hip or knee pain when he rode the ElliptiGO, so he could get his training done even while injured. “I refused to sit and wait for fate to heal my knee - to run again,” he explains. “I enjoyed riding the ElliptiGO and it kept me healthy psychologically because I was able to get in a solid workout. That’s key for any athlete suffering from an injury.”
After thousands of miles on the ElliptiGO, Brian began to work running back into his life and the results were remarkable. Only nine weeks after being cleared to run again, he finished third overall in the Dipsea Race, one the nation’s most grueling trail races. The following month, Brian went on to earn three medals at the World Masters Athletics Track and Field Championships and became the 2011 U.S. National Track Champion in the 5K and 10K for men 55 - 59. “I had a huge base of miles on the ElliptiGO, which really helped maintain my fitness until I could heal enough to run competitively again.”
in November 2011, Brian ran a 1:12:52 half-marathon, entering the record books with the 10th fastest half-marathon ever run by a 55-year old and in April 2012, he set a new American Record for Men 55-59 with a 16:05:12 in the 5K. You can read more about how Brian uses the ElliptiGO on The ElliptiGO Project website.
A native of Ireland, Christine was inspired to start running at 27 years old after watching the Dublin Marathon. When she announced to her family that she was going to train for a marathon and win one day, they thought she was joking. But their disbelief only fueled the fire and five years later she did win the Dublin Marathon and never looked back.
Now a U.S. citizen, Christine continues to have success as a stellar Masters runner. Her remarkable versatility as a runner led her to victories in events ranging from the 5,000 meters to the marathon distance in 2011. She won titles in the 5K, 10K and 15K at the USA Masters and then two more in the 5K and the marathon at the World Masters Athletics Championships, leading USATF to name her the 2011 Masters Athlete of the Year.
“I was so honored to receive that award and I feel very grateful to still be running competitively,” stated Kennedy. Five years ago she suffered two herniated disks in her back, which made it impossible to get in all of the workouts she wanted. Over the last two years she also suffered a small calf injury that flares up from time to time. Though her body has healed well, it was the mental side of being unable to train as she wanted to that posed her biggest challenge.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to have to back off your training, knowing the miles you’re supposed to be putting in,” remarked Kennedy. “Even when you’re healthy, like I am now, it’s still difficult to take it easy on those recovery days and be happy with a workout where you don’t push yourself. As a Masters runner, I know how important cross-training is, but it’s easier said than done. That’s why I love the ElliptiGO. It keeps me fit, it doesn’t aggravate my previous injuries, and I don’t feel guilty about taking a recovery day. I still spare my body but my fitness only grows, and mentally I feel great about each workout,” said Christine.
Christine uses the ElliptiGO to replace three running workouts a week and believes that it gives her an extra edge. “I feel you have to take advantage of everything you can in order to continue competing at this level. When other runners see me on my ElliptiGO, they say, ‘So THAT’S your secret!’ And they’re right. It’s what’s keeping me mentally and physically at the top of my game, and I intend to use it to repeat my victories in 2012 and beyond.”
So far in 2012, Christine has captured both the 8K and 10K US Masters Championship titles and seems poised to repeat her stellar 2011 performances.
Top U.S. Mountain Runner, Simon Gutierrez, has an exceptional mountain running career that includes winning both the Mount Washington Road Race and the Pikes Peak Ascent three times each. His inspiring career came to a screeching halt in February 2010, however, when a common knee surgery went terribly wrong. He nearly lost his leg and was told he would never run again.
“I had a medial meniscus tear in my knee from slipping in a cross-country race,” said Gutierrez. “I decided to have it taken care of with surgery, and unfortunately an everyday procedure went very wrong.” After seeking several medical opinions, it was determined he had necrosis and the bone in his thigh was slowly dying. Simon's first concern became saving his leg.
Defying the odds, several months later doctors determined that Simon’s leg was healthy enough to begin exercising again. “That’s when I started using the elliptical machine because it allowed me to perform weight-bearing activity without any impact on my knee,” said Gutierrez. “Six weeks later I learned about the ElliptiGO and went for a ride. I couldn’t believe it – I could push myself but had no pain at all. I thought to myself, I love this so much I won’t even miss running if I can ride this. It was a truly magical moment because I felt like I was running, something I never imagined I’d do again.”
Only a few weeks later, he began to push the intensity on the ElliptiGO but kept the running at a very easy effort. “I wasn’t doing any hard running, just jogging,” recalls Gutierrez. “I’d push on the ElliptiGO, jog in between, and I noticed that my fitness just kept coming back.” Amazingly, when he tested his speed, he could run a sub-6 minute pace without much effort.
“It was a miracle,” declared Gutierrez. “I thought to myself, I’ve found a secret formula back to running again. If I could do this, maybe I could race again.” And that is exactly what the U.S. Mountain Running champion did. Last summer, only 18 months after his catastrophic surgery, he returned to the racing circuit and astounded everyone with a fifth-place finish at the Mount Washington Road Race followed by a third-place finish at the Pikes Peak Ascent.
The 45-year old Gutierrez’s comeback performances are made even more impressive by the fact that he was at least a decade older than any other top-five finisher in either race. Equally surprising is that his recovery and rehabilitation strategy with ElliptiGO actually improved his running times, even though he hadn’t competed for nearly two years. His time at the 2011 Mount Washington Road Race was almost identical to his time in 2009 and at the 2011 Pikes Peak Ascent, he bested his previous time by more than 3 minutes. You can read more about how Simon uses the ElliptiGO on The ElliptiGO Project website.
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