I have been road cycling for roughly two years now and I’ve been making slow but steady progress with my speed and endurance. Progress is progress but I have suffered peaks and troughs and found it difficult to stay at a consistent level of fitness, mainly due to work limiting my ability to ride as regular as I would have liked. This was frustrating for a few reasons. I couldn’t just jump on the bike for 50+ miles without knowing if I would ‘bonk’ horrifically half way through, if I only had an hour to spare would I be able to get round the route fast enough/cover enough distance to make it worthwhile, and would I be in a fit state the next day to be on top of things at work?
All those questions point at two things, I need to stop hammering myself when I actually got to ride, and I need to find an easy way of topping up my fitness between rides.
So I decided running would be a good idea. How hard can it be? there’s people running about all over the place!
I own a pair of Adidas free type gym trainers and, knowing nothing about running, strapped them on to hit the promenade. Them coupled with my Strava of course. Now cycling 30-40 miles wasn’t too much of a big deal for me so I though “5K run, ha, this will be easy”.
I ran for about a minute and had to walk. I never envisaged running would be that hard, especially for someone who is already quite fit. I persevered and managed to finish the 5K but with a lot of walking. In the shower my legs were aching and my feet were burning. I think, in my usual style, I had pushed a little to hard too soon. I hadn’t enjoyed it.
Over the next couple of days my feet felt like they had been run over, my abs and pecs felt sore, it put me off trying again but I continued. Again there was some walking but my lungs felt a little better but my feet were in agony. I carried on for the next couple of weeks, the pains were lessening, the breathing eased, and I even ran my first whole 5K.
As I was starting to enjoy it, bar my feet, so I decided to invest in some new trainers. A trip to DW Sports in Branksome for a gait analysis saw me walk away with some Asics GT2000 shoes. From then on running felt different. I didn’t feel like every time I placed another stride my ankles would give way, or that my head was wobbling about like David Gray’s. Investing in the right footwear was a good choice.
Over the last year running has had a massive impact on my cycling, I’ve added nearly 2mph to my average speed over 30 mile rides, and increased my stamina for further distances. Its also helped to keep my levels of fitness more constant so I can get out and ride more on a whim without exhaustive consequences!
Running has become another hobby now rather than just a means to keep fit and run 10k distance events regularly. Last weekend being the Bournemouth marathon festival. Despite going into the weekend off the back of a cold, and being unable to train as much as I had like, I set a PB for the event.
Here’s to running for the bike!