Several case studies have shown that distance runners even sprinters have improved their cardiovascular capacity and even running speed from using the Arc Trainer, so it is certainly an excellent option to help you prepare for your half-marathon. That, in combination with your therapy, will help with your patellofemoral pain syndrome until, and even after, you get back to running.
Here’s some additional advice for using the Arc Trainer. First, patellofemoral pain syndrome is exacerbated by higher knee flexion angles, so you’re better off lowering the incline setting on the Arc. This will have two benefits; first, it will decrease your knee joint angle, reducing compressive loading at the patellofemoral joint; second, it will increase hip muscle activation (your glutes and hamstrings), and thus will help with the propulsive phase of gait. Also, you can actively push through the balls of your feet in order to enhance plantar flexion.
When you’re creating your workouts, think about setting up sessions in a similar fashion to your running workouts. In other words, you can do longer duration, steady state workouts, and you can also do speed work. The Arc Trainer is excellent for high intensity interval training. If you have access to a 750 series Arc, ask someone about Adaptive Power Training. It will really help you push yourself, but it’s also very accommodating, so you’ll never feel overworked, and recovery will be relatively easy.
If you have any other questions, please let us know.
Paul M. Juris, Ed.D.
Executive Director, CYBEX Research Institute