Injury, recover, run, repeat. Unfortunately, this was the story for Patrick Russell, a competitive runner out of St. Paul, Minnesota. Russell used to put in 100-120 mile running weeks, and reaped the rewards – until he got caught in an injury cycle. Russell, who holds a marathon personal record of 2:25, is a two-time winner of the Edmund Fitzgerald 100k and competed at the 2006 IAU World Championships, got to the point where he couldn’t run or cross train for long periods of time. Last year, he even began to consider whether he would be able to run competitively anymore. That’s when he gave serious thought to the ElliptiGO.
“I had been aware of ElliptiGO’s existence for a while, but my prolonged injury cycle pushed me into looking at it seriously,” Russell said. “After researching it on the web, I decided to take it for a test ride one at the local Erik’s Bike. I was hooked immediately. Besides what it could do for me fitness-wise, it was much easier and fun to ride that I expected.”
Russell had to decide whether he was going to purchase an ElliptiGO bike or treadmill, and then he had to “sell” his choice to his spouse (partners, take note!). He soon discovered why an ElliptiGO bike was a no-brainer:
- He would only use the treadmill during the winter months and only for hard workouts, since he loved running outside. After seeing that the ElliptiGO bike worked with the standard bike trainer, he would be able to get year-round use.
- He realized that his history of injury made the treadmill less useful – if he was injured, he wouldn’t be able to use it at all. The ElliptiGO bike was effective as a cross-training tool both when he was healthy and when he was injured.
- As he’s aged and dealt with the injuries, Russell saw that he wasn’t going to get back to high mileage safely. The ElliptiGO bike would allow him to get in more aerobic work and hill work safely. Keeping those “junk” miles off his legs would allow him to focus on quality in the running workouts.
Russell’s “pitch” worked and he is now a proud owner of an 8C. A typical training week includes 80-100 miles on the ElliptiGO bike in addition to his running. If he is injured, Russell will get in 150-200 miles per week on the ElliptiGO bike. The elliptical bike has become a critical part of his training regimen. “When I initially got the GO, I was focused on what it could do for me in the short-term as a cross-training tool while injured. Now I look at it more as a regular part of my training, especially as I move back toward ultra-distances. I’ve done some workouts where I’ll ride out an hour or so out to some trails, run an hour or more on the trails and then ride back,” he said.
And, the ElliptiGO bike provides a mental reassurance as well. “I’m type-A in running and often when faced with some soreness or borderline fatigue or over-training, I would push through it to stay on ‘schedule’ or because I was too insecure that I would somehow lose fitness if I took a day off. The ElliptiGO bike has eased some of that tension for me. I feel like I can back off and cross-train a day or two – or three!” Russell shared.
Thanks to the ElliptiGO bike, Russell is running well and planning on competing in the Twin Cities Marathon in October as a training race. His ultimate goal is to be competitive in the master’s running scene over the next couple of years and return to some big ultra-races, with an eye on competing in his first 100-miler. Follow Russell on Strava.