You have probably heard about the founder of BionicGym, Dr. Louis Crowe, “running” a marathon from the comfort of his couch. But could BionicGym help you actually train for a real marathon race? The answer is yes! But of course, there are a few tweaks that you will need to do to do your couch to marathon with BionicGym.
How BionicGym Helps
One thing you might ask if you are considering training for a marathon or half marathon is why would you choose to use BionicGym when you could just go out and run? This is a good question and there are a few different reasons why BionicGym will be your favorite tool for training.
The first reason why people love BionicGym for training is that it is so convenient. Have you ever trained for a marathon or half marathon? It takes several weeks to train. In that time there will be lots of days that don’t have absolutely perfect weather. There might be days where the only time you have to run is in the dead of night. You also might not live in a very safe place for running outside. For all these reasons, it could be easy for you to justify skipping a day or two here and there.
Running conditions are rarely perfect. And sometimes even running on a treadmill isn’t easy. If you have a gym membership you will likely have days where you can’t make it to the gym during regular operating hours. And honestly, even if you have a treadmill at home, it is so difficult and boring to do longer runs on a treadmill.
You might wonder, “well, BionicGym doesn’t seem more interesting than a treadmill.” And you would be right. However, when you are running on a treadmill, you have to concentrate on your running speed, intensity, and form all while being bored out of your mind. The continuous bouncing makes it impossible to get any work done and watching movies can be equally frustrating because they seem to move slower when you are running.
If you are using BionicGym, you don’t have to exert any brainpower on your form. You can immerse yourself completely into a movie, podcast, or into your work while your muscles do work on their own. The time seems to move faster than when you are running on a boring treadmill.
Reduces Chance of Injury
Another reason that people love to use BionicGym as a tool to get them ready for a marathon or half marathon is that it reduces the chance of injury. If you have ever trained for one of these races, you may have experienced an injury yourself. I have a friend who is a personal trainer and knows what she is doing when it comes to proper form, but she still experienced a knee injury during her training period for a half marathon. Injuries during training can be devastating because you are not able to stay up on your training and you’ll likely fall behind, perhaps ruining the entire race.
So if you want to reduce the risk of injury, or if you already got an injury but don’t want to lose your progress, BionicGym is the most valuable tool at your disposal.
Have a Training Schedule
One of the most important tools for success when you are training for a long-distance race is a training schedule. Training won’t take a weekend of your time, in fact, for most people training for a marathon will take MONTHS. And if you don’t train, you will likely not be able to run the entire way, you could get injured, or your body will basically feel like a shell of itself for several days after the big race day. (Trust me, I know.)
How To Use the Training Schedule
There are about a million places online where you can find a training schedule for your specific physical capabilities. If you are super active and an avid runner, your training schedule will look vastly different from someone who is running for the first time. A first-time runner will have a schedule that builds up more gradually to get you prepared for the race day. This is so your muscles build up slowly and you don’t burn yourself out too quickly.
Keep your training schedule handy, whether this means on your phone, hung on the wall, or transferred over to your main calendar. PLace your training schedule where you will see it every day and you will be able to plan your days according to how much time you need to spend on a run.
Go Out On Runs
While BionicGym is an amazing tool to keep you in shape while you are training, in my opinion, the very best way to train for a long-distance race is to go out on at least some of your runs. BionicGym will keep you in shape and continue to improve your aerobic exercise. Your heart rate will get stronger and lower as you use BionicGym, and you are more likely to stay up with your schedule if you have BionicGym as an option.
However, it is important to go out on runs for a few different reasons:
Practice Good Form
The most important reason for going out on some runs when you are training for a marathon or half marathon is so that you can practice good running form. You may have great cardio health and your might have excellent endurance, but you could also have terrible form since you didn’t spend any time actually running on the trails. It is important to take the time to study out your own particular hang-ups with your form and how you can improve. I talk extensively about running form in my blog post titled, “BionicGym Vs. Running”.
As long as you follow those tips, you will likely avoid any kind of injury due to form.
Change In Environment
Have you ever studied for a big test? If you’ve spent time studying for a big test like the MCAT or PE or various others, you should take a practice test before the big day. During this test, most people suggest that you take a test in a similar environment to the actual test as possible. This means no snacks, perfectly quiet and undisturbed.
It’s the same with your race. Doing a marathon with BionicGym might not sound super challenging, but if you think about having all the pain and sweat and fatigue of a normal marathon, just sitting on a couch, you might think differently. If you are training for a marathon, make sure you do some of your long runs outside in a similar environment to your actual race. If you know the route of your race, that is even better! Be as similar as you can be so that you know what to expect from yourself on race day.
One thing that BionicGym doesn’t have is hills. The closest thing they have to this is the HIIT interval training feature that you can get here. This gives you intervals that mimic the feel of hills while you are running, but again, it is a good idea to actually experience these hills in real life.
Change Your Lifestyle
Did you know that I’ve actually run a few half marathons myself? Well, I have. And I did these challenges not because I love running but because I thought it would be a good motivator to lose weight. Paying for a race isn’t exactly cheap and when I did, I committed myself to train for it.
But guess what? Even though I was very religious about doing all of my runs, I actually GAINED weight. And this isn’t because I was gaining muscle while losing fat. I mean, I’m sure that I did a little, but not as much as you’d think.
My problem was that I rewarded myself too much for runs. Running a mile, for my speed and body type equals about 100 calories burned. That really isn’t much, but I felt like I had done a huge thing by running that distance, so of course, I had “earned” a bowl of ice cream–and put on a couple of extra scoops!
So how can you avoid what happened to me? Here are some suggestions:
Consume More Protein
Exercise is very important, but if you exercise and don’t watch what you eat, then it falls a little flat. There are so many really awesome and healthy ways to make better food choices, but they can be difficult to maintain. One of my best tips for eating more healthily while you are exercising is to consume more protein.
Protein keeps you fuller for longer. It gives a lot of energy to your body with very little footprint. So if you are exercising, you definitely want to get some protein into your body. The trick is to make sure you aren’t just gorging yourself on beef jerky. Try to find lean sources of protein like nuts, lean meats, and legumes. There are a lot of sources that are great for you and fun to eat!
You will find that eating protein will make you less likely to reach for the snacks that seem so appealing all the time.
Drink More Water
A lot of people have a hard time drinking the amount of water that they need in a day. There are a lot of sugary drinks out there and some people really hate the taste of water. And in some communities, tap water is really disgusting tasting, so I can’t blame them completely. However, water has so many benefits, especially when you are working out.
- Keeps your skin clear
- Keeps you hydrated
- Helps you lose weight through urine and sweat
- Keeps your body feeling full
Try to aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So if you are 150 pounds, try to consume 75 ounces of water each day–or more!
I like to drink a lot of water during my meals because it will keep me feeling full. I find that even when I’m really thirsty, my body will tell me that I want another serving of food. If I drink some water, I realize how thirsty I really was and I am satisfied with a smaller portion. Smaller portions throughout the day are better than three big meals.
Carefully Portion Treats
I really don’t think that cutting things out of your life completely is sustainable. You will likely come across ice cream, cupcakes, brownies, etc. throughout your days, but if you always say no, then you’ll go crazy. You might even binge and eat way more than your need.
When I am faced with these temptations, I like to tell myself how big a portion I can eat and stick with it. I might just have half a brownie, but if I take small bites and really enjoy each one, then I will be satisfied. This is especially true if I am eating healthy most of the time. When you eat healthy calories, junk food seems less and less appealing.
I actually stopped drinking soda for a very long time. It was mostly because I didn’t feel like it was worth paying for, especially at restaurants, and it was starting to make my stomach feel uncomfortable when I drank it. About a year later, I had a can of one of my favorite sodas and it brought me almost no joy as I drank it. I couldn’t believe how disinterested I had become in soda from just not drinking it regularly. I know that that is a very hard habit for some people to break, but I can attest that it does get easier!
Overall, doing a couch-to-marathon with BionicGym can be a really great experience! You might feel more prepared than you would if you were trying to do runs every day. You might also be more motivated to keep to your schedule if you know you have options for doing your “run” inside some days. With BionicGym, you can keep healthy and on track even if you experience an injury along the way. It is a great option for marathon training!