Get Ready for Race Day with the Precor EFX®
See how elliptical training can offset some of the long miles in your training plan to reduce joint stress without compromising your cardiovascular fitness.
by Erica Tillinghast, MS, cPT
It’s no secret: to be a great runner, you need to run! Experienced runners rely on endurance, mental stamina, in-race decision-making skills, confidence, sleep and nutrition to perform on race day. With miles of pavement covered during training and in races, athletes learn how to manage pace and dietary intake, and how to detect when something feels “off” or painful in their stride. Properly accelerating mileage accumulation and managing overall volume is crucial for success and reducing risks of injury. Gradually loading fascia and preparing muscles for higher mileage demands should be the cornerstone of every runner’s training plan.
All that said, the miles on the road only get you so far. While running and race experience are crucial for developing skilled runners and preparing the body for the loading demands of the sport, cross-training, strength training and flexibility are other critical aspects for injury reduction. Cross-training with other aerobic activities will help athletes maintain their cardiorespiratory preparation, whereas strength training and flexibility will ensure muscles properly activate and lengthen in time with the demands of the sport.
Here is an overview of common running injuries and how the Precor EFX can be used to unload the body on cross-conditioning days so you keep on pace for your next race:
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (“Runner’s Knee”)
- What it feels like: Knee pain radiating from the patella
- Causes: Weakened hamstrings or quadriceps
- Why runners experience it: Repetitive eccentric loading, downhill running
- How the EFX helps: Gradually introducing intervals in the reverse direction on the EFX will more directly target the quadriceps and better prepare them for demands of downhill running.
- What it feels like: Pain or stiffness in the Achilles tendon pain
- Causes: Inflammation in tendon or tendon sheath
- Why runners experience it: Repetitive eccentric loading, uphill running
- How the EFX helps: Gradually introducing intervals in the reverse direction on the EFX will more directly target the gastrocnemius and better prepare them for demands of uphill running.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
- What it feels like: Sharp or shooting pain down the iliotibial track (lateral fascial connection from the hip to the knee)
- Causes: Q-angle in women, muscular imbalances in hip complex and/or legs
- How runners experience it: May experience pain in the hip, knee or leg during training and have continued discomfort during activities of daily living and sitting
- How the EFX helps: Many runners have under-activated gluteal muscles. Set the Converging CrossRamp on the EFX between level 12 and 20 to maximize glute activation.
Lastly, the EFX provides a non-impact movement originally created as an alternative to running. The origins of the Precor EFX stride path date back to the early 1990s when an inventor videoed his daughter’s running form and mapped the path of motion of her running stride. The inventor sought a way to reduce joint stress on his daughter’s body without compromising the cardio benefits she needed to excel in her favorite sport: tennis. The non-impact platform of the EFX replicates a running motion by allowing the exerciser to transfer weight to the downward traveling leg and alleviate weight on the upward pedal during the “swing” phase. While both feet stay in contact with each pedal throughout the motion, the movement is driven by the downward leg and the other foot maintains light contact with the pedal for balance.
Check out the EFX Training Plan for Runners to see how to put this training information into action in cross-training workouts.
- Cadez-Schmidt, Adam, Taryn Cadez-Schmidt and Len Kravitz. Understanding and Preventing Common Running Injuries. IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 11, No. 6, May 2014.
- Halvorson, Ryan. Runner’s Knee and Faulty Biomechanics. IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 7, No. 3, 2010.