As a massive fan of treadmills, I was excited to find out more about a lesser known alternative to running machines called the Octane Zero Runner. This guide dives into this futuristic running machine and looks at what it can do that treadmills can’t.
it aims to recreate the exercise of going for a jog or a run without any of the impact on your joints
What is a Zero Runner?
Zero Impact running
The Zero Runner is (surprise, surprise) a running machine. Where it differs from what’s already out there is that it aims to recreate the exercise of going for a jog or a run without any of the impact on your joints. Hence the Zero bit.
The Zero runner is designed for both commercial and home use.
Can you really eliminate running impact?
I love running and use both treadmills and a bit of outdoor running too. I spend a lot of time on treadmills, as well as other machines like the elliptical. One of the downsides to treadmills and running being the impact on your joints
Even the more expensive ones, there’s no getting away from the fact you’re thudding along and your knees and body are absorbing that impact.
The Zero Runner aims to improve on the running experience by taking away that thumping impact from your joints, and just leaving all the calorie burning and fitness benefits.
Spooky sci-fi robotic legs
The smooth motion of the Zero runner machines comes from patented hip and knee joints. When you see it in action, it has an almost eerie quality that looks more like an animated CGI robot than something you’d find in the gym.
These special joints involve some ridiculously complex engineering. Creating a one size fits all machine, while keeping the motion completely unhindered was no mean feat for the engineers at Octane Fitness.
The result is a futuristic running machine that doesn’t feel like you’re using a machine at all. It takes some geting used to as there’s no contact at the bottom of each stride.
Does it all come together?
One problem I’ve seen on similar gym gear is that for all the over-engineering, the joints don’t quite line up and you end up fighting the machine rather than enjoying the motion. The way the Zero Runner is built is completely different. The motion you get here is completely natural and fits whatever body size and height you are.
Also don’t confuse this machine with those free-standing running machines you sometimes see in outdoor gyms. This machine is a completely different level with fluid, natural motion.
Who makes the Zero Runner?
The Zero Runner is made by a company called Octane Fitness. They are a high-end fitness machine company with a range of ellipticals and other zero impact machines. Octane have a range of home and commercial products.
High Octane have won a number of awards for their fitness gear such as Best Elliptical, Snap Fitness Vendor of the Year and SGB Inventor of the year.
What are the other benefits to the zero?
It’s really quiet
The amount of gym gear that gets labelled as ‘whisper quiet’ but then sounds like an old washing machine once you rev it up never ceases to amaze. Well here’s a machine that is actually really quiet. The reason being there actually IS no motorized parts here.
One of the best things about the Zero Runner is how well they’ve nailed the running feel. You’re not using a machine; here, you’re able to move freely and it’s more that the machine is supporting you and moving with you. This makes it ideal for both experienced runners not able to train outdoors, or new runners looking for a low-impact alternative.
You can train on it if you can’t run
The Octane Zero Runner can be used at times when a person can’t normally run. And I don’t just mean the UK weather is doing it’s thing. This machine opens up running to people with injuries or existing conditions that would normal prevent them from running, such as a tight hip flexor.
Anyone with arthritis or degenerative bone disease might also be able to run using the zero runner, whereas it would be impossible for them to normally use a treadmill.
It feels a bit strange at first
Make not mistake, this machine isn’t something (like a treadmill) that you can jump onto a just get running. This is not like any other gym gear I’ve seen. Stepping into the Zero Runner and getting used to the motion takes a fair bit of getting used to.
If you can remember the first time you tried a cross trainer, and multiply that by 1 hundred, you’re getting close to how this machine feels. So the Zero machine will take some practice.
Resistance is also very different from other machines
Whereas treadmills use incline or speed to increase the difficulty, or an elliptical can increase the pressure you need to move the pedals down, the Zero Runner works very differently. Here, like real running, how much effort you put in governs how difficult your session is. Run faster to increase the difficulty.
What are the down-sides to the Zero Runner?
Let’s not beat about the bush here: all that fancy engineering doesn’t come cheap. The Zero Runner is likely to set you back North of the £2000 mark, depending on where you buy. It’s also not likely there’ll be a budget version released any time soon.
This is a new, very niche product that’s not going to have mass-market appeal. Don’t expect a guide on the best Zero Running for under £500 any time soon, I’m afraid!
It’s not the hardest form of exercise
You might think this belongs in he ‘benefits’ section but the zero runner doesn’t have conventional resistance you just turn up and it’s instantly difficult. One downside to this being seasoned runners will need to run longer on the Zero Runner to get their heart rate up!
Where can you buy Octane’s running machine?
The Octane Zero Runner is available to buy online today. Dependent on which model you buy (ZR7 or ZR8) you can expect to pay between £2000 and £3000) for this machine. One place that normally has the Zero in stock is Fitness Super Store. Check out the
Resources and further reading
- Visit Octane Fitness’ Homepage for more info on the Zero and their other impact-free training equipment
- There’s a related and interesting study comparing running outdoors to indoors on a treadmill on Running World.
- Octane Fitness’ Youtube channel is packed with good videos on how to use their machines, along with info on their latest products.