Cross-Training

We Tested The Cross-Training Tool Kara Goucher Uses

This zero-impact contraption makes you a stronger runner on the roads.

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When most people think of running in the comfort of their home, they think of the “dreadmill.” But now there’s a new machine that’s kind of like a cross between a treadmill and an elliptical—but really it’s specifically designed to move with you as you run.

The Zero Runner, made by Octane Fitness, is designed to help runners improve their speed, endurance and efficiency—whether you can’t run outside because of weather, or you’re looking to up your mileage without the additional impact.

At The Running Event, the largest running tradeshow of the year, in November, we had the opportunity to try out the Zero Runner ZR8, which sells for $4,299. It’s quite a price tag, but the potential benefits are there.

When you first get on, you hop from one foot to the other, kind of like running in place, and then you kind of ease into actual running. As you improve, you can go from holding on to running hands-free—which really improves your form and strengthens your core.

Elite runner Kara Goucher uses the Zero Runner and has described it as the closest to actual running. You may not run at her competitive, elite level, but an app that connects with the machine will give you live feedback on your form, so as you get tired, you can see the need to focus and keep strong.

The most surprising aspect about the Zero Runner is how quiet it is. There’s no pounding like with a treadmill, and the machine feels exceptionally sturdy with its strong aluminum frame. In addition to running, we also enjoyed a couple of stretches on the machine that were a welcome bonus.