Tag Archives: running

On the Run Again …

I used to be a runner. Not a very good or fast runner, but a runner nonetheless. I was mostly on again and off again before trying to dedicate myself a little more a few years ago. That didn’t go well and I found myself injured. That’s when I began cycling and have never looked back.

After discovering my passion for riding, I wondered whether I would ever run again. Why did I ever run in the first place? In fact, I would say that I have hated running.

That said, I have been running again. It all started innocently enough. I was hitting the gym regularly for my strength training. I started mixing in some cardio exercises, mostly elliptical machines. Those things get boring and I get a weird numbness in my feet after awhile, so I started walking on the treadmill. The walk became faster and faster until I found myself at a brisk jog. To my surprise, it didn’t hurt. I kept going and for the last few weeks, I have been supplementing my workouts with the occasional run.

Now that I am working on base miles, the goal for this weekend was to get a little bit of easy riding. Mother nature intervened and that didn’t happen. When I went to vote in the primary on Saturday, I found my usual polling place closed because of an 8k running event. Hmmm. I researched that event while waiting in the voting line and decided to give it a shot. An 8k would be a lot, but I knew I would be able to walk a good portion if needed. No worries if it rained a bit. That might even help.

The weather became worse. A light drizzle became a torrential downpour right before registration time. I was not going to risk injury by running on wet roads with inexperienced legs. Instead I decided to run the 8k anyway, but this time under the covered shelter of my local gym. I loaded my phone with some listening material and headed out the door.

The good thing about a treadmill is it allows for easy pacing. I started at a light jog around 5 mph. That went well for a mile and I picked it up in the second mile to 5.5 mph, then 6 mph, then a little higher. As I watched the miles tick away, still feeling good, I played with some faster paces. A couple times I brought it up to 7 mph for a short while, before bringing it back to 5 mph in order to recover. I found that I was keeping a decent amount of energy and gradually increasing my pace. The first mile was 12 minutes; the second was 11, and the third 10.

Even though I was tempted, I did not stop jogging until I got to 5k. At that point, satisfied that I would make the 8k without trouble, I walked for two minutes before getting back to the jog. Starting to tire, I kept the pace down between 5-5.5 mph for the 4th mile.

For the 5th mile, I was both tired and impatient. I wanted to get this thing over and done with, but I was also about ready to explode. So I mixed up my speed again and even pushed into the 8mph range on a couple occasions. Finally I finished, drenched in sweat. My 8k time was just over 55 minutes, which I was more than proud of.

I’m curious how this will affect me on the bike. These past few weeks I have struggled a bit on certain climbs because of my out-of-shape lungs. This might help. I’ll keep running here and there for cross-training, but I can safely say that I will not change sports just yet.


Winter Training Continues …

After a couple of weeks in the gym, I’m starting to feel a little more comfortable. At first my entire body ached from working out underused muscles. Last week I even had to take a couple extra recovery days. Now I’ve come to the point where I no longer suffer afterward. My last session corresponded with a large Thanksgiving lunch celebration at work, so I did extra reps to burn off those calories and felt very little soreness. From here on out I will work on getting my butt to the gym at least three times a week and gradually increasing the load.

In addition to weight training, I have started watching what I eat a little more carefully. It is so difficult to lose weight while riding regularly, at least for me, that I am hoping to shed a few pounds over the off-season. I’m at a decent weight, but going into the spring maybe five lbs later would help immensely.

A new program requires a new diet. When riding, I had to make sure I ate enough carbs to keep my workouts fueled. That is no longer the case. I have been trying to ween myself off carbs with moderate success. What’s odd is now that I’m not riding, I’m not hungry all the time. Cravings are at a minimum. There are moments, sure, but it is tremendously easier to stick to a diet. So far I have not lost much weight, which is fine. I am not trying to drop quickly. I have three months to play with and the last thing I want is a crash diet where I lose weight, only to regain just as quickly over the holidays.

So far I have been off the bike for two weeks, and will remain on and off for awhile. There are a couple small rides planned over the Thanksgiving holiday. After that I will probably ride intermittently only with groups.

So what do I do to fill that hole? That’s a perplexing question and I don’t have an answer yet. I would certainly benefit from cross-training, especially swimming or running. Unfortunately swimming is not an option since I don’t have access to a pool, and have no desire to take on another monthly expense. That leaves running.

I hate running. Okay, maybe that’s a little strong. Part of me loves running and I used to do it all the time. The last time I ran seriously, I got hurt and that led me to the bike. That was a period of constant frustration, no fun whatsoever. I’m really not looking forward to trying again, but I may give it a go anyway. The strength exercises will help with injury prevention and I have been taking the occasional long walk just to get my calves loose. So far, so good. If this continues, I might find myself in a slow jog one day. I’ll just go with my body.

If I don’t run, and that is a distinct possibility, I’ll do gym cardio. That means a lot of time on elliptical machines, recumbent bikes, rowing machines, and occasionally treadmills.

This is my last post before Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with family.