Finding an indoor running solution for sports performance training that doesn't alter the functionality of running, or that does not require large investment in space, are familiar problems for many sports performance trainers who are moving their training services to their own indoor location. Motorized treadmills are a solution, but often interfere with athletes' natural running ability, and motorized treadmills are notorious for high maintenance costs. Large spaces are a solution too, but high cost of ownership is a common barrier for many sports performance trainers. Many settle for smaller spaces without treadmills, and opt to commute to a track and/or field for run training.
This model can certainly work for some, but there is no doubt that it requires a lot of time and resources to sustain.
Jaxson Appel, owner and coach, of Jaxson Appel Speed and Agility Training, was in this familiar dilemma as he and his wife, Courtney, began transitioning their sports performance business indoors to a small facility.
Knowing how vital running longer distances and durations is to all athletes that play on a field, court, or track, they had to find an indoor model that would support running above all other aspects of sports performance. They knew a section of indoor turf, a staple in modern day sports performance facilities, would not be enough.
They began looking into treadmills for their model, but chose only to consider curved non-motorized treadmills due to the functional impact it has on the user versus motorized treadmills. JASAT opened their doors almost a year ago, so I reached out to see how things were going. I was not surprised to get a reply that things were fantastic, and that TrueForms are excellent tools for his athletes to train on, so I dove a little deeper.
Me: "What vision did you have for using the TrueForm treadmills? Were they designed to be the cornerstone of your model?
Jaxson: "Originally, when I first bought them I envisioned using them for all of our longer sprint work to compensate for the lack of space we had. They were the first pieces of equipment I bought for the gym. So the gym was really built around them. Now, that we have them, we use them for so much more, gait analysis, self correction, data collection, and recovery!
Me: "We get that a lot, it's way more than a treadmill if you know how to use it. How is the expansion of use that you have mentioned helping your athletes?"
Jaxson: "Our athletes are able to self correct so much faster, and they move through progressions much much faster. We give external cues to athletes based on what we see real time while they're running, but in my opinion the real learning comes from the intrinsic feedback the TrueForms give to the athlete. To put it simply, if you do not strike the belt right, it won't move, so athletes have to self correct and when they learn how to self correct the can continue to improve even when they are not in our gym"
Me: "Wow, that's powerful stuff! A trainer's nemesis is always what the athlete does after he or she leaves the gym, whether that be a pick-up game with friends, the next competition, or life in general. In that respect, having the learned behavior of self correcting translate from the treadmill to the ground is invaluable.
Me: "How is your model serving the other side of the equation...the coaching?
Jaxson: "With the TrueForms we are able to analyze our athletes gait and movement patterns to identify any deficits they may have that could be contributing to a loss of efficiency/power/force production which all makes the athlete slower. When deficits are identified, we are able to alter that athlete's programming to fix them."
Me: "Yes! Utilizing the TrueForm as a baseline screening tool and re-assessment tool throughout the progression of a program is spot on.
Me: "Do you think you could achieve the same level of success in programming with any other treadmill?"
Jaxson: "Absolutely not. The TrueForms are what our programming is built around. The success our athletes achieve would not happen on normal flat treadmills."
Me: "It's very exciting for me to see the impact trainers and coaches are having on their athletes with the TrueForm Runner. I'm eager to see the all that JASAT has ahead. Thanks for your time and feedback Jaxson."
Here is snapshot of JASAT website listing some of the improvements athletes make in 30 days of their JASAT programming.