Judgment day for hybrid running machines

Left to right: $2,000, $3,300, $9,300

Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles

Wednesday afternoon I participated in a debriefing session with fellow testers of the hybrid elliptical running machines. The machines had been removed from the testing lab a couple of weeks ago and I missed them. I was happy to see they were all back in place so we could refer to them in the discussion. It was interesting to hear what my my co-panelists thought about them since we were unable to share experiences during the test period. While we didn’t share the same opinions on everything, most of us agreed on the machine we liked the least.

A few young and very fit people complained that they couldn’t generate enough intensity on the machines to get a good workout. I rolled my eyes remembering my own experience unfolding myself from the units like a wet noodle after most of my testing sessions. I made the point to the group that I didn’t think any of the machines actually duplicated a real running experience. Most people seemed to agree. That isn’t to say that machines won’t provide a great workout. I personally couldn’t justify the exceedingly high cost of a fitness machine that isn’t much different from my rickety Pro Form CE 6.0.

I was so inspired by Wednesday’s discussion that I did an elliptical workout when I got home. I like ellipticals because I control them dynamically, unlike treadmills that have a mind of their own. After 30 minutes, with an outside temperature of 92°, I felt like I had all the intensity I could manage. Better still, the mild sciatica that I’d had through mid week seemed to be gone after I finished.

This morning I got out fairly early so I would beat the heat. I worked from home and needed to be back in time for a meeting that was being held using a Google Hangout. That meant I needed to look presentable even though I participated from the comfort of my home office-slash-fitness center. Early was a good call, because the heat really intensified over the short time that I ran.

I usually see other runners in the neighborhood on Fridays and weekends and today was no different. Besides the one young guy I always see no matter what day or time I run, the other runners were older (note to SIOR – even older than me. It’s possible). I reached a road at the same time as another man and we headed in the same direction. Unlike that time in November when I “won” the race and triggered six months of disc related pain, I didn’t take the bait. Instead I tucked in behind him until I reached my turnoff.

I’d like to think it was a relief for this guy not to have this hot shot runner on his tail, but he may not have even noticed. Owing to both the increasing heat and my limited time, I kept my distance to 3+ miles. I was almost home when I heard the familiar sound of my cell’s ring tone. I chose to ignore it, but when I finished my run I saw that I’d missed an important call.

Rather than take the time to shower or even towel off, I returned the call from my garage. It was amusing to have a deep business conversation while standing in my sweat soaked running clothes. But that’s what’s great about working from home. You can alternate between business and non-business activities when you have to – and wear running shorts while you’re at it.

6 thoughts on “Judgment day for hybrid running machines

  1. Anonymous

    Are the test results online? I was thinking about an elliptical machine but these machines look better but really expensive. Are there cheaper models?

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  2. Schwinn had a variable stride length elliptical for around $1,000. If that makes it half as good as the $2,000 Nordic Trak I'd take a pass.The results will be published. I'll put a link to it in the blog when that happens.

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