cross-training: what a wonderful thing

Changin’ it up… Funny thing happened today; I went out for a good hard 2 hour ride; ground myself into the usual pulp and then came home and decided to go for a run. Now I’m well aware that this has a name that triathletes like to call ‘brick’ training but as a pure road cyclist I’ve seen little value in doing anything other than riding my bike over the past few years. Maybe its fear of injury or fear of messing with efficiency on the bike however, maybe triathletes are onto something.

Granted, I’ve not been riding much this year and I’m as ‘fresh’ as a daisy so perhaps anything would improve strength, endurance and power: food for thought. As a ‘pure’ cyclist, one would most definitely frown upon any kind of cross-training during ‘in’ season. When you’re a cyclist you do one thing and you do it well; you ride a bike...fast.

Let’s suppose for a second that I take my ‘cyclist’ hat off and put on my ‘cross training’ hat, what would that feel like? Well, over the past 2 months I’ve been running here and there when time presents itself and I can actually say that I’ve enjoyed it. Mind you, it was more enjoyable when I had my running partner keeping me company but now its more about getting down to business. In getting down to business over past few weeks I’ve been able to build some serious strength, speed and do some decent interval training in the city (yes the city folks) while out for my little run to the lake and up Strachan to King. As a result of my little runs around the ‘loop’, I’ve experienced a faster bounce-back to some decent level of riding while on the bike. In the past, if I didn’t have time to do a 3 hour ride, I simply wouldn’t ride (part of that wonderful all or nothing attitude I have) and as a result my riding would suffer and the stress and guilt of not riding would build. One of the fantastic things about living downtown Toronto is this lovely thing known as rush hour and basically if you can’t get out of the core before 3 o’clock, you’re fighting it on your bike; not my idea of fun. Why not try a run instead of sucking fumes?

Now that I’ve introduced some cross-training into the mix I’ve discovered that running may actually help not only with performance but can also decrease the ‘guilt’ factor of not having time/energy to do a 3 plus hour ride. You can get a fairly decent workout running for an hour. I’m the first person to agree that there is no substitute (Porsche’s motto) for training ‘on’ the bike but perhaps when one can’t train because of time and other life commitments (and doesn’t feel like an hour on the rollers or indoor trainer), a good hard run might suffice.

Hopefully none of my cyclist friends are reading this blasphemy but for all other mere mortals out there, this is a small lesson that doing what you can on or off the bike, be it running or swimming or anything, can yield decent results and sometimes keep you feeling mentally fresh with your one main passion. I acknowledge that this is usually reserved for out-of-season training but why not change it up…just for fun. Yes, I did just say ‘fun’.

dirty decaf

when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, momentum is everything