Clearly my favorite place to run is the trails but I spend plenty of hours in the gym as well. Used to the only cardio I did was on the treadmill usually doing some form of speed work or just a long stretch of time. Thing is I usually get plenty of better quality run time outside.
I avoided touching any of the stair masters for a long time. I mean most people were stepping so slow and no one looks happy on a stair master. I should never judge based on how happy someone looks though. Based on the # of times men have told me to smile at the gym you would think I hate lifting weights. Then I smile all the time at work while I stand at your table waiting for you to read the entire menu when you said you were ready to order but clearly are not ready to order.
Turns out I love the stair master! It makes you sweat like crazy and works all your leg muscles. I feel like it's a great choice when getting ready for a race with lots of climbs. Sometimes trails are not an option because of time, rain, childcare so been getting it on the Stair master instead.
Stair Master for Trail Running
* Hill training when you don't have a lot of hills. Doing a mountain race you are going to be doing a bit of hiking.
* You have to pick up your feet. Just like on the trail it's not going to be pretty if you don't but probably more embarrassing in the gym.
* It's hard and you can't completely zone out like you could on the treadmill. You have to pay more attention to it sucking the whole time you are on it.
* Helps strengthen all those leg muscles.
Stair Master Workout
I divide my time up on it by starting slow to warm up then just going up in speed every 1 to 2 minutes until I'm going hard then staying there as long as possible. I change arm position every so often to keep myself going. Then go down in speed for a 2 minute recovery. Then I'll work on stepping without holding on since there are no handrails on the trails.