Thursday, August 22, 2019

Biking - Running's Perfect Partner


I certainly never could have seen this coming.

So many miles (many of which happened in the wee hours)! It got my heart pumping, I was blessed with some fasted cardio, and there was plenty of sweat equity earned along the way.

There were some flat routes, and there were many hills climbed as well. My endurance, as well as my grit, was tested on numerous occasions. And, each time I finished...feeling quite accomplished.

I'm talking about my new fitness fix - biking. And it has been a total game changer for me this summer.


Say WHAT? 

I won't go into a lot of details on how this has evolved (you can read about that HERE). After all, I'm still in a state of disbelief at all that has transpired in a relatively short time.

All of this was a non-issue until June 23rd. That's the day the hubby asked me if I wanted to ride with him (and one our friends) out to the lake west of town. From our driveway, it's approximately a 15-mile round trip. And it's quite hilly. My first thought was to laugh in his face (literally), then 30 seconds later, I decided to go along.

I had ridden this route before, several times actually. I just had not ridden it in awhile. I think I rode my bike maybe once (or twice?) last year. In 2017, I was recovering from my surgery, so I did ZERO biking until very late in the season. I still didn't have full range of motion in my knee, at that point, so the rides were very short and there weren't many of them.

Ever since that fateful day in late June, though, things have changed.

The hubby and I did a few weekly rides to the lake, and I started to enjoy the challenge of conquering those hills.

A few weeks later, Michele (a friend from work) started joining me on Friday mornings.
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One week, when Michele was out of town, my main running gal pal, Barb, came along with me. Did I mention these Friday morning rides start at 5:15 a.m., in order for us to get out to the lake and back and still have time to get to work?

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Throughout all these early morning rides I discovered that biking really felt great on my legs, especially on my non-running days. It gave me a bit of cross-training, but also a chance for my running muscles to have some down time. It's no secret I love being outside, so this was a win-win.

In recent weeks, I have been doing 10-mile rides a couple times during the week. These are done in town, so the routes are fairly flat.
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I have continued the weekly 15-mile rides out to the lake (on the hilly bike path). As this post goes live (early Friday morning), I will be finishing my ninth consecutive ride to the lake. Yikes. Who am I?

Ironically, I have done this 15-mile ride prior to two of my July races, and both races went quite well. I rode the 15-miles (and five bonus miles) on the morning of the Midnight Madness 15K. That evening, I PR'd both the 5K and the 10K. A couple weeks later, I did the same hilly 15-miler the day before the Bix-7, and PR'd that race as well. Coincidence? Maybe...but I can't help but believe biking has enhanced my running.

I should mention that I'm also in the midst of training for the Marine Corps Marathon (October 27th). This is my ninth marathon, and the first one where I have been consistently biking while running all the miles. The main thing I have noticed is that my recovery time, after long runs (and intense speed work), has been SO much easier.

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So, that's my story and I'm sticking with it. Hard to say if I'm just having a lucky summer, or if I'm on to something with all of this biking. Just since June 23rd (the day I took that first ride out to the lake with the hubby and our friend), I have logged 313 miles in the saddle. I realize many cyclists knock out that kind of mileage in a much shorter time span, but for this biking novice, that's a major number. 

Now, the big question - Will I continue with all this biking as MCM training intensifies? The marathon is still two months away, and in the next 5-6 weeks, my running mileage will be peaking. Also, the daylight is dramatically dwindling...these early morning rides are seeing less and less daylight as the sunrise is happening later and later. We ride on a bike path, off road, but it still is dark for the first few miles. It's not ideal, but (so far) it's been working. Stay tuned....
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Have you ever fallen head-over-wheels (not literally LOL) for biking?  If you've trained for a long-distance race, did you ever use biking as a recovery vice on your non-running days? What's the highest weekly/monthly mileage you've done on your bike? 

           I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up. 


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22 comments:

  1. You're making me want to clean up my bike and get back on the road! Back a decade or so, I rode my bike regularly, did quite a few century rides, and was in great shape. I let it go a few years back and now I'm missing it a lot. Definitely a to-do list item.

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    1. I have never done a century ride, but that's on my bucket list. I still feel a bit intimidated with all the "cycling lingo," and certainly don't know all the finer points of the sport. It's been fun learning, though!

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  2. You definitely make biking sound like a great addition to runnng :). Great news that it helps with recovery.

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    1. Thanks!! For a few weeks, I was wondering if I was biking too much...but then I realized I actually was feeling MORE recovered from my runs (and my legs weren't feeling as tired as usual), so I've kept with it. I just wish I would have figured this out a few years ago.

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  3. I am glad that you have developed a passion for biking as well. It's fun and a great cross training to running.

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    1. Well, Deborah, I'm not quite ready to call it a passion...yet ;-) I do have a whole new appreciation and respect for it, though. It's been a great addition to my routine.

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  4. I love biking but dont do it as often as I would like because I always transport my bike to a trail. I feel very uneasy riding on the road. Do you have a light on your bike?

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    1. I'm not on the actual streets much, other than in the earlier part of the day when the traffic is minimal. I actually don't have a headlight on my bike (I know, #mybad), but I use my Knuckle Lights for the first few miles (when it's dark), and then I'm good as the daylight emerges. I also wear light clothing and have a Noxgear vest that lights up, so I'm pretty visible.

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  5. Glad you are biking and that it's working for you. It is a very good cross training, the only problem is that a biking workout is longer than a running workout and you need to do it in the daylight. I made biking to recover after the fracture of the femur. Now I have changed my mind and I prefer to alternate running and swimming.

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    1. Unfortunately, I'm not a swimmer (yet), so I don't have that as a cross training option. I do want to do a tri someday, so I will need some swim lessons LOL I could probably swim good enough to stay afloat, but it wouldn't be very pretty.

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  6. Biking is great. I don't like doing it on roads, though. I'm a baby. Having said that, it looks like fun so maybe I'll try!

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    1. I'm not too fearful of the roads, but I'm not exactly in a metro area LOL

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  7. That's so cool! You should be so proud of all those miles! I think it will totally help your running and your marathon training. I have a Peloton but I would imagine riding outdoors would be pretty fun for me too! I love seeing your bike riding posts on IG!

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    1. Thanks, Virjinia ;-) It's been a fun cross-training crutch, and I can tell the difference it's made with my running.

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  8. It's been fun watching you discover what works for your body! When I was training seriously and running BQs, I religiously got in two bike rides a week. It's great for active recovery, endurance and, if I was feeling especially tired or beat up I'd trade running speedwork for sprints on a spin bike. It's all good! I hate to say it but Blanche my trusty road bike is over 10 years old now. Time flies!

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    1. Sounds like your bike rides were very similar to what I've been doing. I wish the "biking" light bulb would have gone off sooner...

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  9. You and me both! Who are we? I did literally fall off my bike on Wednesday's early morning ride - Bill came to a stop and I pulled up beside him... and wait for it... wait for it... I forgot to unclip! Over I went and bruised my elbow and skinned my knee. LOL

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    1. That's why I'm not the least bit interested in clip-ins for now. I don't really think I "need" them since I'm not doing anything competitive on the bike, not do I have a deep thirst for speed. I'm quite content going "old school" LOL

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  10. i've always incorporated cycling into marathon training; in fact when I trained with my former coach Becky, she scheduled bike rides weekly into my plan. Glad to hear you like it--better late than never, right?

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    1. Indeed, better late than never. It's been a great recovery vice and endurance tool.

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  11. I don't really ride a "real" bike because where I live, it would be pretty dangerous to try to ride on these roads. I think I'm too lazy to transport it to a trail. But I've been loving indoor cycling classes lately! I've been trying to incorporate more cardio, and some spin classes are super fun.

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    1. I think the roads work for me because I get so bored being indoors (ahem...the treadmill and I do not like each other, either LOL). Most of my rides are in the (very) early morning, before there's much traffic in town, or else I'm on the bike path.

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