AirRunner: A Change in the Treadmill Game

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I wasn’t able to get to the gym too often while the kiddos were out on winter break, but now that they’ve gone back to school, I’m resuming my normal routine and am seeing a lot of new faces in treadmill lane. As I was gearing up to tackle a speed workout at the gym, I noticed a woman next to me holding down the pace increase button well beyond the 6.0 range. I watched as the treadmill gained speed and she quickly realized she needed to jump off to avoid being thrown into the back wall.

This episode made me remember all of the times I have not so gracefully, nor intentionally, exited the treadmill. It has happened to all of us at one time or another; either we stop paying attention to the fact that we are on a moving platform or we simply loose our footing – all runners have fallen, tripped or galloped our way off a moving tread. And every time, it makes my heart fly to my throat and my cheeks flare red.

One of my favorite gym owners and Nike+ Run Coach, Emily Hutchins, knows just how this feels and has taken proactive steps to reduce this risk, and provide a higher efficiency treadmill experience, for her members. Emily’s gym, On Your Mark Coaching & Training, located in Chicago, has invested in Assault AirRunner treadmills exclusively for use by her running clients and gym members.

Currently OYM is one of the only gyms in the Chicagoland area to house these treads, which tout a real difference to the traditional treadmill experience. “The AirRunners create better turnover by running 30 percent more efficiently than the traditional treadmill,” Hutchins explained. “The increase in efficiency leads to higher energy exertion which therefore allows athletes to burn more calories in less time.”

Seriously?!?!? A treadmill experience that is going to shorten my time on the thing and allow me to burn more calories…SOLD! It is truly a treadmill of the future made for a new generation of athletes that want more efficient workouts in less time.

But wait, I forgot to mention a very important characteristic of the AirRunner: It does not run on power! The Assault AirRunner does not need to be plugged into a wall, but instead is powered by a runner’s stride. So, when you stop pounding the treadmill with your Nike-clad feet, the tread band stops. No more falls, no more spills, no more embarrassing moments of tripping your way off the treadmill, while pretending that you meant to do that.

This more efficient machine is also environmentally friendly and much safer than the traditional treadmill. Need more convincing? The AirRunner results in less impact and more efficient training. “The changes to the gait pattern allow for better loading of posterior muscle groups which creates more turnover and less impact,” states Hutchins. “In a short amount of time we are seeing athletes already shaving time off of their paces.”

I don’t know about you but I will be heading to OYM on our next below zero wind-chilled Chicago day to try these bad boys out. I’m all for a machine that will make me faster while hiding my clumsiness!

 

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Mandi has been running for over 25 years and has participated in the Chicago, Detroit, and Boston Marathons. Mandi regularly competes in regional events and enjoys being a part of several running groups including CARA and the Badgerland Striders. She is a co-host on the Ten Junk Miles podcast and looks forward to hosting the Chicago Athlete Podcast. An RRCA certified coach and Les Mills certified instructor, Mandi is also a coach with Chicago Athlete Coaching. Mandi is a local government attorney by weekday and race warrior by weekend.

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