Dream Gym

I’ve posted about Team Abby who keep me in good health and all that jazz. I’ve posted about some of my favorite boutique gyms in the city that I cannot get enough of. In keeping with telling you guys about people, places, and workouts I love, I have to share a really cool new workout I did at Chelsea Piers last week.

Meghan from Chelsea Piers contacted me to see if I’d be interested in coming down to their Performance Center and giving their new high-speed treadmills a go. First thought, “Ummmm, I’m not really fast enough to require a high-speed treadmill.” But I figured, what the heck? May as well give it a shot. Told JB what I was doing and after a long pause he said, “I just have this vision of you jumping on and flying off the back of it.” You doubt my abilities? Pshh. Check yourself.

I brought along someone who would require a high-speed treadmill for her runs, Speedy Elite, to test run the ‘mills and give me the perspective of a pro athlete. Off we went to New Jersey the Hudson River to run fast.

Fancy sign = fancy gym

The Performance Center at Chelsea Piers is all official and stuff. Hidden in the back near the rock climbing wall, the room boasts two high-speed treadmills and a Computrainer set up for a classroom of bikes. Indoor cycling at it’s craziest! They have the machines to measure VO2 max, lactic threshold and a whole physiological assessment center for those of you who want to get down and dirty with your body’s numbers. The treadmills look deceptively bare.

No TV. No music. No nuthin.

This is imperative. Why? Because, unlike the ‘mills at your local gym, these high-speed treadmills are capable of going up to 29 MILES PER HOUR and up to a 40% INCLINE! No distractions necessary. There’s even a special way to get on and off because it’s going so fast.

One. Two. Three. JUMP!

John, our trainer, was all about safety and form. A man after my own gym-etiquette heart. As I’ve said countless times before, treadmill running can be extremely beneficial to all runners. Why? Exhibit A: When you run fast on a treadmill, your stride is stronger, longer, more natural and your foot strike is more efficient (mid-sole to toe instead of heel-toe).

12.0 incline + 7.0 speed = more powerful stride

Stronger legs = better form, fewer injuries and faster times. Simple as that. The other benefit is that you absolutely cannot slouch at this speed and incline. If you do, you fall over. So, you are training to run tall which will, in turn, actually allow you to have a better stride on your long runs. Oh, and you MUST use your arms, which I am constantly reminding my run club to do during our speed workouts (you know who you are). Win, win.

High knees are an old favorite of running coaches everywhere. We all strive to have stronger hip flexors and the quick pace of a high knee drill provides just such an exercise for this overused muscles group. The look a little different on the high-speed treadmill.

25.0 incline + 6.0 speed = DON'T LET GO!!!

I am really impressed by the thought that went into the design of these machines and the workouts that come along with them. I’m a big proponent of running drills for EVERY runner, not just the speed demons like Speedy Elite. Too many casual runners are missing the basics of form and strength required to have good form. And good form while running is just as important as having good form in the weight room.

Some purists say treadmill running isn’t “REAL” running. Call me. Let’s talk that one out. Drills, speed work, hill work, form, foot turnover and pushing your anaerobic max are all things you want to do in a controlled, safe environment. You can run faster on a treadmill–that’s a good thing. Faster workouts translate to faster race times.

No, you’re not propelling yourself forward like you are doing outside or on a track. But the beauty of drills like these is that you do them and then jump down to the indoor track below to test the newfound speed on land.

1/4 mile indoor track in Manhattan. What?!?

Oh, but if you desire another sort of cardio machine, they have those, too.

Cardio anyone?

And an awesome lounge area where you can kick back and have a post-workout juice. Or sushi.

Sushi, juice, coffee, nap?

This gym really has it all. They have a 25 meter indoor pool, two sun decks, the rock climbing wall I told you about, crazy amounts of cardio and weight equipment, a sand volleyball court, several full-length basketball courts, every class and club sport you can think of and everything else that goes along with Chelsea Piers (driving range, ice skating rink, etc.). This is my Dream Gym.

They didn’t pay me to say any of this. The demonstration was complimentary. You must have one of their trainers work with you to run on the treadmills, but you do not have to be a member to do that, which is cool. Many thanks to Speedy Elite for coming along with me and running waaaaaay faster than I did on those things.

For those of you looking to improve your running times this Fall, think about investing in a couple of sessions on the high-speed treadmill. Kick-ass workouts = results.

Now go out and run!