It’s race season for the next few months, so taking on a 5K, 10K or half-marathon is convenient and a good way to stay motivated. Whether you are in the midst of training, or just considering your first race, it’s important to be prepared. A smart training plan can mean the difference between hitting a new PR and feeling defeated and ready to quit.
One of the newest ways to prepare for a race of any distance is the Zero Runner, found in health clubs and available for home use. This unique machine replicates natural running, with independent hip and knee joints, but without all the repetitive stress that can cause fatigue, compromise form and ultimately lead to injuries. While you use the same muscle groups as running outside or on a treadmill, you don’t experience the chronic impact and pounding – resulting in an equally effective, but much more comfortable, workout. You can concentrate on perfecting your form, engaging your core and activating your hamstrings and glues for better overall performance.
With live stride tracing, you can monitor the health of your stride as you run, including stride length and heel kick, to ensure that you stay consistent throughout the miles. Plus, the Zero Runner offers CROSS CiRCUIT, which combines running intervals on the machine with stretching training or flexibility exercises for maximum cross-training efficiency. Choose from endurance programs such as race training or pace intervals; targeted strength sessions; and active recovery routines.
Ultimately, the greatest benefit of race training with the Zero Runner is the ability to log more miles without beating up your body with excessive impact.
Training regimens abound, so find one that works best for you. Here are some recommendations for race training with the Zero Runner, courtesy of Rick Muhr, founder of the Marathon Coalition in the Boston area, finisher of 32 marathons, coach of more than 15,000 runners, and a 43-year veteran of running.
Race Training: 5K Plan
Assuming you have 6-8 weeks before race day, aim for five days of running per week, hitting the road on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, building over time from 1 to 3 miles. Use the Zero Runner on Wednesday and Saturday, starting with 15 minutes and progressing to 30 minutes the week before the race. While Monday and Friday are designated rest days, they don’t have to be complete days off; you can do an easy 20-minute session on the Zero Runner to flush out lactic acid remnants from the muscles.
Race Training: 10K Plan
Again, with 6-8 weeks before the race, follow a similar plan to that for a 5K, but incorporate longer runs of 3-6 miles as you train outside on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Use the Zero Runner on Wednesday and Saturday, progressing from 30 to 60 minutes until the week before race day. Rest days can include 20-30 minute light workouts on the Zero Runner as well for active recovery.
Race Training: Half-Marathon Plan
Allocating up to 20 weeks of prep time, Coach Muhr suggests running outside on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, starting with 1 mile and gradually increasing distance to reach 13 miles by week 16. Use the Zero Runner on Wednesdays, starting with 15 minutes and working up to 30 minutes over the training period. On Saturdays, incorporate a 5-10 minute warm-up on the Zero Runner, then log your miles outside, and after week 7, also add a 10-20 minute easy cooldown on the Zero Runner. Rest on Sundays and Fridays, or chose active recovery with a light 20-30 minute Zero Runner routine.
For more information on the Zero Runner, and additional race training tips and videos, visit the Zero Runner Resource Center.