A few years ago, when I was working as a trainer at Equinox in NYC, a representative from Octane Fitness came by to give all of the trainers a demonstration of their new elliptical, which was designed to better mimic a runner’s stride. I was sold – the machine was great and I would often ‘prescribe’ it as part of a cardio plan for my runner clients.
So, I was super excited to be previewing the brand-new Zero Runner by Octane Fitness this past week. This is not an elliptical. It’s not a treadmill. But it’s probably the best cross-training machine for runners you can find on the market.
There are a few important reasons this is such a great tool for runners.
- Look in the image above – see how the leg attachments are hinged? That’s designed so that both your hip and knee hinge as you ‘run’ on the Zero Runner.
- You WILL feel like you’re running – you’re using the same muscles, the same range of motion that you would if you were running outside, at the same pace.
- The Zero Runner eradicates all of the downsides to a treadmill for indoor use. Now, you know I’m not the biggest treadmill fan in the world, but even if you love the mill, think about this: the Zero Runner does not have a motor. You know what makes it work? You do. Since you’re the only way this equipment gets moving, it’s practically silent. If you’re a parent and you’re trying to sneak in a workout at naptime, this is a game changer.
- With the Octane Fitness Smart Link app, you have an awesome feature of gait analysis – you can check your gait at mile 3 versus mile 6 of a workout, for example, to make sure you’re running strong and efficiently throughout your workout.
- Speaking of gait, the Zero Runner also targets your cadence – the way it’s designed is to put more emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes and you get more of a butt-kick effect compared to running on a treadmill. It’s that kickback that can increase your stride turnover, so it makes sense that this could affect your overall cadence.
At the event to tell us more about the Zero Runner were two brand ambassadors. One was Olympic runner Carrie Tollefson. Yeah, you know, just hanging with an Olympian talking about running. You may also recognize her from one of her 4 covers of Runner’s World, or as a TV analyst covering this year’s NYC Marathon. #iwasalittlebitstarstruck
Carrie trained hard during her running career. After qualifying for the 2004 Olympics for the 1500 meters, she was running between 90 and 100 miles per week. When she competed in that Olympics, she was suffering a pubic fracture, caused by hernia. In retrospect, she told us if she could do it all over again, it would be with the view that more isn’t better and cross training is vital for runners. Because the Zero Runner is a no-impact workout, but mainly because to her it actually feels like she is running, Carrie thinks it would have been a game changer for her career.
With two children and hoping to have more, Carrie also discussed training during pregnancy, which was of course something I loved hearing about. While she was pregnant, Carrie lifted weights and ran, then switched to doing interval training on an underwater treadmill. Obviously not every motherrunner has an underwater treadmill in their spare room (let’s be real – I don’t even have a spare room!), so Carrie can’t wait to use the Zero Runner during her next pregnancy.
The other brand ambassador who spoke to us was the charismatic, passionate runner, Larry Schmidt. I don’t know if it was when he told us he was a grandfather of two with two more “in the hopper,” or if it was when he showed us a photo of him and his wife of 38 years side-by-side on Zero Runners, with the caption “Running with my best friend,” or when he told us how he and his daughter ran every step of her first Boston marathon together, with ‘Dad’ and ‘Daughter’ painted on their legs, but I decided pretty quickly that I adored him.
This is a man who, in his own words, is addicted to running. You can see from the stats in the image above that his addiction has led to some impressive achievements. Of course, like any athlete, Larry has dealt with injury as well. He qualified for the Kona Ironman (after only two years of being a triathlete!) and it was after Kona that he was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his hip. It’s telling of Larry’s dedication to the sport of running that when that diagnosis meant his pace went from a 7 minute mile to a 16 minute mile, he came up with a new goal of maintaining a 16 mile pace for the next 20 years so he can win the 80 – 84 year age group in a marathon. With the quote of the night, Larry told us,
“Runners never give up. We just change the rules.”
Larry became a Zero Runner brand ambassador after trying it out at a Boston Marathon expo. He was impressed. So impressed, in fact, that he quit his job to become a brand ambassador. He proudly holds the record for longest run on a Zero Runner, clocking 33 miles in 5.5 hours, noting that at this point in his life and running career, there is no way he would be able to do that same workout on a treadmill. Without hesitation, Larry told us this machine has changed his life.
As well as hearing from these two brand ambassadors, I had the pleasure of catching up with some of my favorite NYC blogger friends!
Who is the target market for the Zero Runner?
- Beginning runners - by replacing junk miles or easy/recovery runs with a workout on the Zero Runner, new runners can conceivably extend their running career and avoid injury.
- Aging or injured runners – this machine offers these runners the chance to maintain cardio fitness without losing the training effect of actually running. It can get you racing or running outside again sooner.
- Elite runners – cross training is much more prescribed in elite training plans than in decades past, as a way of limiting overuse injuries common in professional runners. The Zero Runner is a great cross-training tool because it so closely mimics actual running stride.
Want more details? Octane Fitness is marketing the Zero Runner for home use. It’s priced at $3,299, so it’s comparable to investing in a high-end treadmill. It’s the same width as a treadmill, but not as long and it weighs approximately 200 lbs. The retailer will deliver and assemble the Zero Runner and assembly takes about half an hour. Since it is only powered by the user, it doesn’t need to be near a power source.
This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Octane Fitness.