Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gear: The Elliptigo

I heard about this when I read Kara Goucher's latest blog entry on Competitor. Apparently her husband is training through an injury on it.

I give you: The Elliptigo
I...don't know what to say.  I've always seen the elliptical machine as a training time-out;  it is for recovery work.  Yes, you can get a good work out on it, but...90% of the people who use it just don't.  People who talk on their cell phones during a workout use it.  It has a damn MAGAZINE RACK.  Its not a bad workout, but its fans have made it kind of...lame.

So the idea of bringing it out into the world as a bike/running hybrid sounds...good.  Ish.  Again, it really is a good workout when done correctly. Maybe this will take it back from the Juicy Track Suits who leave their muffin crumbs and Jamba Juice buckets in the cup holders for me to stare at while I try to get a few miles done without dying of boredom.  I wonder how it looks?  Hey, Dean Karnazes - show us how its done:

I....just don't know if I can get on board with this.  It is another way to get outside, and you get a better work out on varied terrain, but this just looks weird.  I kind of want to try it, but I think I'd be laughed out of Central Park on that thing.  Seriously, every tri, running and cycling club in the city would beat me up and take my lunch money.  I don't think even the recumbent bikers and running jugglers would hang out with me.

I think elliptical training culture may be too strong to overcome.  This is a shot of Dean training for an ultra a few weeks after he shot his promo video:

I guess we can only sit back and wait for the novelty to wear off.  Snowboarding was considered strange when it was first getting off the ground - many ski resorts wouldn't even allow boarders to use their slopes.  Barefoot runners were a fringe hippie group until a year ago, when this book brought it into the mainstream.  Marathon running only became popular in the 70's, and even then it was a very specific group of loners and misfits who were drawn to it.  Maybe the Elliptigo will make it through its growing pains and become a popular sport as well as an effective way to cross train.  Cycling managed to do it.


  1. DMC,

    Really appreciate the candid review and a pretty even-handed look at the pros and cons of what the ElliptiGO could be - either a joke or a revolution. I noticed you're recovering from an injury and training for the NYC marathon. You're the kind of person for whom we built the ElliptiGO. The proof is in the pudding, so if you're at all interested, I recommend signing up for a test ride. That way, you can at least answer your question of whether you'll be laughed out of Central Park, and, more importantly, you'll get to evaluate whether this is a tool that can help you reach the starting line of the NYC injury free and in shape to set your marathon PR. Having done hill repeats there with the NYC Cycling Club I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy the ride around Central Park. Obviously, I have no idea whether the ElliptiGO is right for you. You noted that Adam Goucher trains on it - so do several other competitive marathoners, so it works for some people. As a former marathoner and Ironman triathlete who had to give up running because of injuries, I believe it's the closest I'll ever get to running again. But come see for yourself - just sign up through the website: Thanks again, Bryan

  2. Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for checking in! I actually DO want to see what it is all about, because it does sound like a great training option. Joking about magazine racks aside, I think it is a great idea to get it out of the gym. I was able to use an elliptical machine towards the end of my injury recovery and my only (real, non-jokey) complaint was that I was gym bound for all of my cardio.

    I will indeed take it for a test drive in the next few weeks. Thanks for taking my jokes in good humor, and I will definitely write a follow up post after I give it a try.

  3. Great post!...Very candid pictures...
    --Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds.~Albert Einstein

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