Cyclist guide – how to cyclerun

I am bad at running. Even worse than cycling, I’ll have you know. Not as bad as swimming probably.

But unfortunately I like doing those things I am bad at. Maybe it is the pain and suffering I enjoy. Mother nature gave me the wrong genes. I suffer from a blood disorder which means I have tiny lazy little red cells. So lazy that they won’t do the most basic thing – carry oxygen to my aching muscles, but they’d happily sip a nice cocktail in the sun. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

But, since I’ve been cycling for so many years I have some basic endurance. The body is an amazing machine. And even I can produce pedal strokes that for the untrained eye would appear fast. My body has learned how to turn the pedals around 90 or even 100 times in a minute. I can be quite efficient doing that.

Ok, so far that is the Prolog. Now to the subject matter.

One-pace Bruce started running with us lately. Now that Albino has left the company it is just down to one-pace Bruce and myself to keep the tradition of lunch-time runs. Basically, Bruce has everything going for him, apart for a full set of hair on his head. He is 10 feet tall and weighs less that I do. So every step he makes he covers 10 times my distance. At least! Without exerting any additional energy. Plus, because he is tall he can get the clean air, with unused oxygen. Whereas I need to settle for used air with discarded oxygen.

The weather on the day in question was typical Welsh day – drizzle with cold wind. In other words – lovely. I was very very tired. At lunch-time one-pace Bruce asked me if I’m coming. I said I’ll skip it. Tired, hungry and in no mood. So Bruce did the unthinkable – he said no problem he’ll go alone. I couldn’t take such a blunt insult and immediately changed my mind. I’d come. But only if he runs slowly. And so the deal both of us knew one-pace Bruce couldn’t keep was struck.

Well, I guess by now you’ve realised that one-pace Bruce is named so for a reason. Just under 8min/mile is his pace. If he sprints – it is 8 min/mile. If he just plods along it is 8 min/mile. And he can do it for long distances. Half marathon even. And I bet he’ll carry most of it through the London Marathon this April. To make him change pace you have to physically cripple him. I think.

So here I stood all dressed up for a run, feeling dead and empty inside. My legs filled with lead. 8min/mile is a sprint for me. I can keep it for four miles. On a good day. With back wind. And probably someone elses legs/heart/lungs.

Off we go

Since my legs were heavy I’ve decided not to try to lift them. I’ve tried to do what my body is used to doing – cycle. Turn my legs over very quickly with baby steps. Fooling my body to thinking it was actually cycling. I think I was doing 3 paces to my old 2.

Two miles in and I hardly feel tired. Breathing is easy and one-pace Bruce is panting behind me. I’ve decided not to look into my Garmin Forerunner all the way. Just run. The thought of my glorious lunch awaiting me driving me on.

On the last straight one-pace Bruce was coming at me. Trying to pip me to the line. We’ve run many times together and he was always first. By minutes. But I was having none of that. I just started running rather than cycling. I’ve started putting in long ‘normal’ strides but keeping the high turnover rate. Since I had just a few hundred yards to go motivation pulled me through. Anyone can run for a few hundred yards.

I blitzed one-pace Bruce with 7:20 min/mile for 4.5 miles. All that while feeling weak.

Bruce and I in the olympic race

That's us. Really 🙂

Conclusion

Cyclerun isn’t for everyone. It worked for me. I am now slowly starting to use this style more and more. Finding it is much more efficient for my old crumbling body. I believe that once I start cycling seriously again (this week hopefully) I would benefit from it even more.

So if you’re a cyclist and you find that running on a flat is hard but uphill seems quite natural… do what I did – cyclerun.

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About snailonabike
I cycle, I run, I live, I have a family, I write code for a living, I have an opinion

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