Ever since race day, I’ve been struggling against the “I don’t wannas.” I don’t want to run, partly because my body needs the break and partly because the weather has turned, and quite suddenly at that. Let’s face it, running is less inspiring when you go from warm sunshine to boots and scarves in a matter of hours. All my body wants to do is curl up with a good book.
But my body doesn’t cope well without exercise. I don’t sleep well. I don’t think well. Everything just feels off. But the more I tried to talk myself into running, the less I wanted to do it.
The answer was obvious, yet hit me like a bolt from the blue: stop trying to do what your body doesn’t want, and instead give it something new to work with.
Last week, I went to Zumba for the first time. Believe me when I tell you that this worked muscles that I haven’t used in years. Inspired by that, I spent Monday on the spin bike at the gym — not the cushy bike with the built in TV and flashing displays, but the bare-bones road bike simulator. My butt ached for days (memo to self: invest in riding shorts), but it was clear from the first moments that riding uses completely different muscles than running.
“So this is why runners cross train on the bike,” I realized as I uttered the Homer Simpson “d’oh!” that accompanies the revelation that the obvious has been staring you in the face for some time.
I’ve been talking about incorporating more riding into my training for some time. For now, I think I’m going to spend a few weeks working on the spin bike to build a bit of cycling-related leg strength, and then head out onto the actual roads and trails near my home.
Now, if only I could get the hang of swimming….
How many other runners use the bike for cross training?