The HOKA Northern Arizona Elite Team, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, was started by Head Coach Ben Rosario who wanted to harness a culture of top distance runners in one of the biggest altitude training hubs of the country. Located at about 7,000 feet altitude, Flagstaff is significantly higher than other popular altitude hubs like Boulder, Albuquerque, or Salt Lake City that are in the 4,000-5,000’ range. Since the team originally formed in 2014, athletes in this program have been performing at the highest level of the sport at World Major Marathons and World Championship events.
ElliptiGO has always shown interest in the NAZ Elite group, starting with individual sponsorships of both Stephanie Rothstein Bruce and Matt Llano, who were two of the original team members with Coach Rosario. Now as the team continues to grow, ElliptiGO is building on these individual relationships with a team product sponsorship. With the success both Stephanie and Matt have shown through ElliptiGO training, the rest of the team has quickly embraced this added resource.
“We’ve had our ElliptiGO for a few weeks and have already put a good number of miles on it,” Coach Rosario said. “It’s been an awesome tool for athletes we want to transition into higher mileage. They can get several afternoon ElliptiGO sessions per week in place of a run. That helps the body prepare to train twice a day, every day, in a safe way. And it’s more enjoyable than other cross training we’ve tried in the past.”
As some team members will be racing on the track this winter season, a large group (including Stephanie Bruce) will prepare for the USA Cross Country Championships in February. Stephanie competed in the Championships last year and clinched a spot on the World Team representing the US in Uganda. Her story of how she returned to racing after back-to-back pregnancies has been well documented and she talked about how ElliptiGO played a major role in that return.
“I did quite a bit of cross-training following both of my pregnancies and births, especially using the ElliptiGO bike, and I saw some pretty immediate results where my cardio was way ahead of my musculoskeletal system”, Bruce said. “My body wasn’t ready to handle the increase in miles quite yet. Being on the ElliptiGO bike allowed me to build my fitness without the pounding. Six months postpartum, I ran the Olympic A standard in the 10,000.”
Being an ElliptiGO user since 2010, Bruce has integrated ElliptiGO training in many ways, but one of her staples has been the ability to add onto an existing run. “One of my favorite go-to ElliptiGO workouts is the ‘ElliptiGO Chaser’ where you go for a run, then immediately jump on the GO and your heart rate is still up from the run, so it stays elevated without much more effort on the GO.”
The NAZ Elite team joins hundreds of other professional athletes and over 200 schools that are already using ElliptiGO integrated training to perform at the highest level of the sport. As they head into the spring, we’ll see their presence at the Boston Marathon. The ElliptiGO Team is proud to support this incredible group of athletes in the 2018 season and beyond as they prepare for future World Championships and Olympic Games.
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