Can You Train On An Elliptical Machine For A Half Marathon?

The half marathon is a challenging goal, requiring significant endurance to complete all 13.1 miles. The most appropriate workout routine depends on your physical condition, goals, and available time and energy. 

If you have ample access to an elliptical machine and outdoor running is less convenient, you can certainly incorporate indoor runs into your routine. If you have any chronic cardiovascular conditions or are severely overweight, consult a doctor before starting any workout.

 

Elliptical trainers vs. treadmills

An elliptical machine offers a slightly different workout than running on regular ground. If you need to train indoors, a treadmill more approximates normal walking movements. Instead of moving your feet in the swing brackets, a treadmill forces you to move your legs independently of any guides, along the Moving Band. 

However, even a treadmill doesn’t require as much effort as running outdoors. Increasing your treadmill angle slightly will prepare you better for real competition conditions, such as wind resistance. 

Additionally, a motion belt allows you to draw your feet at the end of each step, an advantage not available during normal operation.

 

Internal and external training

To acclimate yourself to the conditions of an outdoor half marathon race, combine training on indoor machines with regular running outside. When preparing for a race, it is important to build slowly to avoid exhaustion or strain injury. 

You can create variation in your routine and avoid boredom or burnout with different training elements. For example, you can use long outdoor runs to improve your endurance and include internal elliptical training to build your time. 

You can also use the elliptical to get ready for uphill runs by simply increasing the machine’s resistance.

 

Tips for the elliptical

Especially for more experienced runners, working on speed is a useful element in well-rounded race preparation. If an elliptical machine is cheaper than an outdoor track, practice running it quickly for 400, 800, or 1,600 feet. 

After completing each run, spend five to 10 minutes lightly jogging or walking to recover. You can also use an elliptical to practice “time” training or increase the pace over long distances. 

You are running a quarter of the distance you use on long runs and improving your normal pace. As for running short-distance speeds, limit your practice time to no more than 30 minutes at a time.

 

General tips

If it’s your first half marathon, consult with a local running group or physical trainer about safe and effective training plans to suit your physical condition. 

As a general rule, you should allow at least ten weeks of preparation before running a half marathon. 

They aim to increase speed gradually, by no more than 10% each week. Always warm-up and cool down before and after running to avoid muscle tears and other injuries.

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