I haven’t run in seven days, since I hit the finish line of the Seattle Torchlight 8K Run last Saturday.
But I have done 14.25 miles this past week — on the elliptical machine (I also walked more than three miles, for whatever that’s worth). The elliptical machine is my prime running alternative. I actually like moving up and down as I listen to tunes on my headphones. I can enjoy the same rock-and-roll fantasies that I do when I am running.
But I am left wondering today if I am actually helping my injured left ankle to heal. (There’s nothing broken, just muscle or ligament damage that has caused some swelling; this ankle was fractured many years ago.)
With the elliptical machine, you save your ankles and joints from the pounding you take running on pavement. Your feet generally stay steady on the foot pedals; your knees and glutes do more of the work.
When I tore my hamstring in 2008 after being accidentally tripped twice by fellow runners in a 5K race, the elliptical machine helped me stay in shape when I had to take five weeks off from running. I was surprised the machine didn’t bother my hamstring any, but it didn’t.
With my ankle, I’m not so sure. It remains a bit sore and swollen after a week off from running.
Perhaps swimming is a better alternative. But swimming leaves me dizzy, and I can’t listen to tunes.
My physical therapist has all the answers here, but I may not be able to see her for awhile. Maybe I just need to give it more time.
Any of you current or previously injured runners have any thoughts on the elliptical machine? Love to hear from you on this.
Till next time.