From chronic shin pain to PB in 6 weeks. Here’s how…..

Stephen Wilburn nails it

From chronic shin pain to PB in 6 weeks

Here is the amazing story of Stephen Wilburn 

“I used to just run,” says Stephen Wilburn of his youth. “Now I try to run sensibly and try to avoid injuries.

Stephen started running in the late 1980s as a young teenager, then he quit for fifteen years.

When he got back into it in 2005, he found that he got injured more easily than when he was younger, particularly given his love of long distance runs.

Running “sensibly” for the 44-year-old athlete means training with the Bionic Runner. But it isn’t just about being sensible – with its help he set a personal best in a half marathon.

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Shin is a four-letter word




Stephen has always been drawn to long running events, whether half marathons, full marathons, or even Ironman events. He’s not fast, but has the iron determination to complete ultra-long events, events so long that there’s always some suffering. The question is what type of suffering, and how much is too much – questions that all ultra athletes have to answer at some point.

Running has taken Stephen all over the world – he counts long trail runs around Nashville, Tennessee as the best runs of his life – but he hasn’t always been able to enjoy the exotic locations he’s visited, such as Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands.

“The heat was incredible,” he says, remembering the marathon portion of the Lanzarote Ironman. “I felt like I was breathing fire.”

But iron determination didn’t mean Stephen had iron shins, and that proved a chronic, discouraging problem for him. Nor did iron determination solve the shin problem.

“I have suffered from shin pain when running every year at some point,” Stephen says. “I just keep going, but it takes away the pleasure of running when every step hurts.”

Nothing Worked until.......

When it didn’t work to “just keep going” anymore, Stephen sought other solutions for his shin pain.

He tried different shoes – Hokas – or running without any shoes, running on grass, standing in cold water, ice, heat, taping his shins, compression socks, even exercises like calf raises.

“Nothing worked,” he says.

Desperation drove him to look at more radical solutions, such as the Elliptigo device, which he ultimately rejected due to its “flatter motion” than running.

Even so, he was pretty skeptical even of the Bionic Runner, before he got on it.

“It looked like running,” he says of his decision to try it out. “I didn’t think it would work but I needed to try something.”

Even as desperate as he was, he dithered.

“It took me about nine months from seeing one on the Internet to actually buying one,” he says of the Bionic Runner. “I had it in my basket so many times before I bought it.”


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Propelled to a Personal Best




He wishes now he’d gotten it sooner. After just six weeks of training on the BR, Stephen broke a personal record.

“I had my first personal best at a half marathon for three years,” he says. “I can’t wait to see what I can do next year with a full winter’s training on it.”

His first impressions of a Bionic Runner workout erased all his doubts.

“Wow, it really works,” he thought after that first ride. “It seems to activate my quads and glutes, and actually makes me stronger running.”

Stephen uses the BR typically for aerobic workouts, pushing himself to 70 percent of his max heart rate.

“I do ninety minutes, three times per week, which is twenty miles per session,” he says. “And I run and cycle the other days.”

Setting aside the technical training advantages and the aerobic and endurance boost he’s gotten from his training on the Bionic Runner, Stephen explains the machine has one other advantage – riding it around turns him into a sort of celebrity.

Sort of, because the real celebrity is the BR itself.

“I could wear a tinfoil hat and cape,” he says, “and everyone would still be looking at the Bionic Runner.”