What’s the Point of the TrueForm Runner?

April 13, 2018

photocredit: Benjamin Lowy

As if the Assault Air Bike doesn’t make enough of a mockery of something that was once fun, now I’m seeing TrueForm Runners pop up in CrossFit boxes. I’m still trying to understand why and yes, I know we are going to be seeing them at the Regional Events but still... 

First of all, let me explain myself: I came into CrossFit as a runner. I use running on off days as meditation, and I prefer to take all my running outside. I own a treadmill, but I only use it when outside conditions dictate I stay inside (see: Hurricane Harvey, extreme thunderstorms) or when I want to do hill sprints since Houston is flat. The last thing I’d ever expect to see is a treadmill-type contraption in a CrossFit box. It’s very ominously Globo-gym-like.

Potential Advantages to the TrueForm Runner

The idea behind the curved base is to help you identify form deficiencies and learn how to correct them. Apparently, on a treadmill, it’s too easy to overstride to compensate for the moving belt, but the TrueForm is powered by you. The treadmill surface can also cause extra stress on joints, which the TrueForm runner is supposed to alleviate.

The included control panel supposedly accurately tracks mileage and speed, although I take those with a grain of salt since every treadmill I’ve ever used has been off by a bit. That can be great if you’re including running in a competition and want to sort of accurately track an athlete’s distance without the judge having to run with her.

Did that make you want to buy one for a low cost of $5,695.00??? 😜

Potential Disadvantages – or, What’s the Point?

However, I did have the opportunity to hop on a TrueForm Runner before a competition. It looked sort of interesting, and I was curious as to how the stride compared to what I do on the treadmill or outside. Here’s what I found:

  • It did not feel natural. Again, I came into CrossFit as a runner. While the belt only moved if I propelled it, the TrueForm runner still didn’t mimic my natural running movements. I’m not sure if the curved deck is designed for taller people (I’m 5’1”), but I felt like I couldn’t run like I normally do. I have a shorter stride than most, and it felt like I was working much harder than I would outside.

  • I can’t do hill work. The whole point of a treadmill for me is to do speedwork, including hill workouts. That’s not an option on the TrueForm Runner.

  • I was bored. I spent a grand total of two minutes on the TrueForm before I decided to finish my warm-up run outside. The novelty wore off quickly; I experienced the same level of boredom on the TrueForm Runner as I do on the treadmill.

  • I question the accuracy. As I mentioned, every treadmill I’ve ever used has been off (possibly due to my short stride from my short legs). It’s bad enough that I’m already scrambling to keep up with Assault Air Bike calories and rowing requirements in the WOD; if you add in running (something I’m good at), I’m not sure I’d have fun in CrossFit anymore.

  • Until I can verify the accuracy of a TrueForm Runner, I want to keep off it. It seems ridiculous for a sport geared toward functional fitness to use a machine that forces you to run differently than you normally would, some might say you aren't running with proper form but I'd say if you're only running during your WODs, its fine. Let's not take it too seriously...and I’m sure it has redeeming qualities, but I haven’t found the advantages to outweigh the disadvantages.

    Just mark me a measured course, already! But tell me what are your thoughts on the TrueForm runner? 

    This is a guest post from Christine Parizo, a half marathoner and new CrossFitter based in Houston. She recently qualified for guaranteed entry for the Houston Marathon and plans to run it in 2017. Christine blogs about running, CrossFit, and fitness at 
    RunOutoftheBox.com. You can follow Christine on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.