Training on an Alter-G antigravity treadmill allows you to replicate your running workouts at a fraction of your body weight, meaning you can reap almost all of the same fitness benefits without the same type of wear and tear on your body. Of course, for most runners, access to one of these incredible machines is limited, but if you’re injured and there’s an Alter-G in your neck of the woods, it’s worth renting out once or twice a week if you want to salvage your hard-earned fitness and return to running on land as quickly as possible.
In my own experience recovering from a stress fracture on my pubic symphysis two years ago, I was able to start running twice a week on the Alter-G soon after the injury was diagnosed, starting at 65 percent of my body weight and working my way up to 90 percent over the course of 10 weeks. In combination with copious amounts of cycling and core work, running interval workouts and tempo runs on the Alter-G allowed me to train hard while my injury healed and also helped me to resume running on land four weeks sooner than anyone, myself included, thought possible.
The Alter-G isn’t just for the injured amongst us, however. Andrew Middleton, an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, utilizes the Alter-G even when he’s healthy in order to give his body a break from the wear and tear of running a lot of miles in training.
“After 26- to 28-mile-long runs and 15-mile tempo runs my body will feel quite worn down the next day,” he says. “From past experience I have learned not to push my body on these days. So, by utilizing the Alter-G to lower my body weight to 90-93 percent I can limit the pounding on my legs, thus allowing for quicker recovery while still getting the aerobic benefit. One of the key ideas I adhere to in training is the better you recover, the better you will run.”