Monday, February 4, 2013

Healing & Recovery

Several people have asked about my experience with the Alter-G machine and about my healing & recovery process. So I thought I would share with you my journey so far!


 Seven days before my marathon I decided to see if I could run. Cutting it a little close? Yea! But I needed to test my shin. I was ANXIOUS to test it. I wanted to run. But I was also VERY scared it would only cause me pain. So I decided to test it carefully by using the Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill again. They say everything happens for a reason. My first experience with the Alter-G (read here) just days after being diagnosed with a shin splint was a painful one. I could not even run three quarters of a mile before the pain was unbearable. Lesson: I knew it would hurt to run, full body weight or not. So it would be a good sign if it did not hurt on this machine this time around.
Quite the outfit, huh?
      I arrived at the gym where the treadmill was located and this time so did my trainer! He set me up on the machine and showed me how to use it and I started to walk. I was planning on warming up like usual and then doing 2/1 run/walk intervals like we were planning for the marathon. After about a quarter of a mile warm-up I started to run, a nice easy pace. I was at 60% of my body weight so it felt light and easy. I was running. The distance was climbing. And I kept running. Intervals were out the window. Now all I wanted to see was could I make it to a mile? Or maybe even more!
Look! I'm running!!!
      My trainer left and came back to check on me at about half a mile. I was doing good. I told him about the mile goal. He wandered away again and as I hit one mile he was back cheering me on! I ran a mile pain free! And I was still going! I eventually ran three miles and felt great! No pain whatsoever! I could not believe it! I was so thankful and happy! I had not planned on using the Alter-G again before I left for my marathon but now my plans were changing! I decided to get in one more three-mile session before I left for Disney. It was so good to be running again.
My view from the treadmill...not bad!
     Friday morning at the runDisney social media meet-up would be the first time I ran on pavement in well over a month. It ended up being a blissful and fun 2.5 mile run. I was ready for the marathon, I just knew it!


     After I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon, my trainer suggested I use the Alter-G for recovery runs. I decided to do two sessions of three miles for two weeks. It felt great to just get on the machine and run! It is great for recovery as I was still sore and needed a light run. The reduction of body weight keeps you from pounding so hard and really helps your run feel easier. My second through fourth sessions I even cranked up the speed a little! Talk about effortless speed training! Loved it!
     I ran on pavement on the weekends for my “long” run. I did my Jeff Galloway intervals and it was nice to “hit the streets” again!
Me inside the machine - Great self portrait!
      If you can find a physical therapy place or gym that has the Alter-G machine, I highly recommend it! Don’t try it too soon like I did the first time though! Heal first then start using it to get back out there! And being able to use it for recovery is a wonderful thing! After running 26.2 miles, being able to run and not pound the heck out of your body is great!


  1. Love this! That treadmill looks so cool! Hope you are feeling better!

  2. Thanks, Heather! It was pretty neat. Especially running fast on it! And no fear of flying off since I'm all strapped in! It was great! You should totally try it sometime! The trainer said even non-injured people use it for speed training!

  3. I am so glad you're doing better after all the painful (physical & mental) waiting leading up to WDWMarathon. I love how you have documented the process too, inspiring others to dig deep and find a way to pursue goals even when injured. I would have never thought to use the Alter-G for recovery, love that idea! I'll have to try to find one around here. :)

    1. Thanks Jill! It was so fun and unusual, I wanted to share it with others. and sometimes we all need a little encouragement to get thru those tough times, right?! I was helped so much by my social media friends!!!