Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Training and the Alter G

So my training, or what you can call "training", started last week. I was allowed to run one mile. Yes, just one mile. And not even when or where I would usually run, nope, I had to schedule my run at my PT's office to use a treadmill I had never used before.

The Alter G.

What is the Alter G, you ask?

According to the Alter G website:

Thanks to its precise unweighting technology, the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill® allows you to push your training and physical therapy rehabilitation further than ever before. You can:
  • Reduce gravity’s impact by selecting any weight between 20% and 100% of your body weight by 1% increments
  • Rehabilitate lower extremity injuries with less pain and less impact
  • Improve mobility, strength and safety for those with neurological conditions
  • Provide a safe way to lose weight and exercise more intensively while unweighted
  • Train without pain and reduce the stress to joints and muscles
  • Recover effectively and with less pain after training or competition
The treadmill actually lifts you up and can let you run or walk with as little or as much of your body weight as you choose, therefore reducing impact and strain on your body.

So on Wednesday, I had a date with my new running buddy, Alter G.

So I got fitted with my shorts, zipped myself into that little black hole in the middle of the blue bars, brought the bars up so that they were at about hip height, locked it into place and turned it on. The machine calibrated my weight and we were ready to go.

I punched the percentage of body weight I needed to have lifted off and the plastic area began filling with air and the blowers made it sound like I was going to lift off into the air like a helicopter! I was lifted up slightly to help counter my weight and that was it, I was ready to run! 

Or at least attempt to.

My first thoughts were:

- Holy shit, this thing is awkward. I'm walking like I've just ridden a horse for 4 days straight.

- I'm so glad that the plastic in the area around my waist isn't clear because HOLY COW is this thing giving me a huge camel toe!

- ::looking down at the zippered area around my waist:: Good lord almighty, how is it possible to have this large of a muffin top!?! Costco muffins are jealous of my skills.

- ::looking behind me at the inflated plastic area:: HELL YEAH! I look like a centaur in this thing!!!

I eventually got the mechanics down and was able to walk with a normal stride and then easing into running. But once I started it was SO. EASY! There was not nearly the impact I was used to feeling and with the way the machine is engineered it positions you into the correct form to maximize your stride. I think I felt how I'm supposed to be running in that machine and it was an enlightening experience.

I also saw that I was FLYING! I was able to kick up the pace on the belt because I didn't have nearly the weight I usually run with (now I know how all you skinny minnie's feel, and damn, it felt awesome!). But I also knew that I couldn't keep running fast because my intent was not time, it was to run without pain. Well, I failed with that. Don't get me wrong, I felt great during, but after I got off the Alter G, my heels were still in pain.

Heels: 1, Running: 0

All in all, the experience was actually quite fun and I was bummed that the mile was over so quickly. Also the fact that I was only running one mile for the WHOLE WEEK was making me insane, so there was also that. However I get two free Alter G sessions a week, so I'm hoping that as my mileage ramps up (maybe in the next year or so (I kid...hopefully)) I can enjoy this machine a bit more.

Afterwards I had a nice (see: painful) foam rolling session and I was out the door. Start to finish it took me 40 minutes (partly because I was learning how to use it for the first time). My PT was there and she told me she was proud of my work (and the fact that I was foam rolling afterwards).

So I had my PT session this Monday and we discussed how the training run on the Alter G went and she was happy that it felt good during, but not happy that my heels were hurting afterwards. Again, the whole idea of this training plan is to get me running without pain, during and afterwards. Le sigh...

So what does that mean? It means, I'm on another one mile running week. UGH! Yes, this week I get to run only one mile and again only on the Alter G. SO...that means I get to go in on Saturday, zip myself back into the Alter G and channel my inner centaur for a mile. It wouldn't bother so much if I didn't live so far away from my PT office (30+ minute drive one way). I'm thinking I might try to catch a yoga class afterwards to stretch out and get myself a bit centered, I've been feeling off for quite a while and maybe I'm ready to spend some quiet time in reflection.

So that's my update, compelling I know, but you have to start somewhere, right?

Now it's your turn: Are you training for anything? How is it going?


  1. Wow that sounds difficult. Good for you for getting out there and listening to your PT. I will be running the Chicago Marathon on the 12th! I'm trying to enjoy the taper.

  2. Marathon Training is kicking my butt - but my husband keeps me motivated. Even when i just wanna whine and cry. Keep up the good work with the PT, can't wait to see you in January!!