There are a few things that I didn’t know about running and cycling that I had to learn the hard way. I started out as a runner and I ran for the better part of a decade and I always had a problem with trying to recover between run days. I ran three days a week and I tried to push at least two of those. Before long I grew tired of hurting all the time so I dropped down to twice a week (one long and one short run). My Thursday (short) run was slow – I ran with a friend, and then I’d push on my Saturday long run. This worked great for about two years before I grew tired of running altogether. I needed a shake-up so I bought a bike and started training for triathlons. I added, almost immediately, to running twice a week, four to five additional days of cycling. Both run days were bricks.
All of a sudden, muscle recovery became pretty important. Unfortunately, I’m pig-headed and cheap so I had to figure a lot of this out without the aid of a coach…
Refueling the muscles after a workout (within a half hour works best, but no more than an hour after) is probably the most important tip I’ve picked up. A decent mix of carbs and protein. I don’t pay any attention whatsoever to actual numbers, grams and the like (though it does make a difference when you get it right), I just make sure I eat a decent mix of carbs and protein. If I skip the refuel, muscle recovery takes three times longer and when you’re exercising every day, recovery is a big deal.
2: Recovery Rides
After really hard running efforts, bumps in running mileage or after long rides I always go for a recovery ride the next day. I keep my cadence normal but I slow the speed way down and take it easy. After running, if I have time, I’ll ride immediately afterward and the benefits are amazing. I can literally recover from the run that day.
3: Running and Riding
Riding provides an excellent cross-train to running. I can run faster and longer because I ride on off days.
Hydration requirements on the bike are even greater than for running. I’ll go through a couple hundred ounces of fluids (or more) on a Century ride. Usually around 25-30 ounces per hour works well. Skimp on hydration at your own risk – dehydration will cause cramps, fatigue and more pain that you’re going to want to deal with.
Though a lot of people like to push water over so-called sports drinks (Gatorade or Powerade), I can’t limit myself to just water while I’m riding. I need the sports drinks. Two years ago while training for Olympic length triathlons my sweat stopped tasting salty. I didn’t know what was going on so I just kept training as normal (with only water). A week later my performance dipped pretty dramatically so I started thinking about what I might be doing wrong… That’s when it hit me: I wasn’t replacing electrolytes fast enough. Adding Gatorade balanced everything back out.
6: If you want to go fast, you have to train fast – but within reason.
There’s a delicate balance between training, racing and recovering. During the season (May thru October) I only take one day every two weeks off. This isn’t enough. I should probably be taking at least one or two days a week off but that’s just not going to happen – I like going out for my daily endorphin fix too much. That said, if I train wisely – mixing in recovery rides a couple of times a week with the hard efforts, I can manage quite well without feeling cooked. In short, I had to learn my balance.
7. Watch the caloric intake – this is not what you might think…
I am getting to the level of extreme cycling, though on the slim end of that classification. At almost 5,400 combined miles last year, I ride a lot. Riding and running this much burns up a lot of calories (a little over 280,000 or the equivalent of 80 pounds last year alone). If you have weight to drop, riding and running will do it in a hurry but when you’re getting close to your desired weight you have to replace those calories. If you’re riding and running 10-15 hours a week you can expect to have to eat quite a bit of food to keep your weight up. Fitness tracking software helps quite a bit – I use Endomondo which tracks burned calories along with everything else, but the most important thing I learned is that I have to eat. Generally speaking, this is a great problem to have. It’s a rare day that I’ll turn down a piece of cake during the season. Off season is a different story though. I don’t mess around with riding in the freezing cold, I ride on my trainer in my office four days a week and run once or twice a week as well. As such, I’m only burning through 11,000 calories a month instead of 30-40,000. Because of this I am much more careful about what I eat off-season. Again, this is about balance.
8. Diet, exercise and weight loss are all about balance.
I dropped a lot of hard to lose weight over the last couple of years by simply riding my bike for at least 50 minutes a day (much longer Friday’s and on the weekends) but this wouldn’t have been possible if I’d just tooled about for that time. I had to move. Also, I operated on a weekly deficiency of calories until I got to where I wanted to be. Not buy much, only a few hundred calories per week and I was still careful about refueling after each workout, but you can’t expect to lose weight if you replace everything. Also, I was “lucky” in one aspect of weight loss: I naturally eat small meals. This isn’t to say I didn’t overeat back in the day because I did, but when I decided to take responsibility for my weight, shrinking my meals down to where I could burn more than I ate wasn’t much of a struggle. This isn’t to say I didn’t have days where I wanted to pig out – I still do, but once I connected distance and effort to getting myself back to square, overeating became a lot less attractive.
Let me see, if I can remember correctly I have to use the term the ‘football game which shall not be named’ that was played this evening. I have nothing to add about the actual game (my favorite team is up at this point)
That said, my wife turned to me just before halftime and asked who the target audience was for the commercials. My answer was, “I don’t know but it sure ain’t us”. Thankfully it is not proper English week in the US.
I have loved and followed the commercials as intently as the ‘game which shall not be named for decades and I can’t remember such a lame year. The VW commercial was funny and there was a quaint Doritos commercial but that’s about it.
The way I see it though, the ‘game which shall not be named’ actually needs those commercials to carry ratings, especially after halftime… If it’s a blowout the commercials are often the only thing that keeps me from popping The Bourne Legacy into the DVD player for the 23rd time.
To wrap this up, Beyonce was hot, though my daughters watched and there were a few times I wished she’d been wearing a stitch or two more (nice crotch tickle by the way). Also, let’s start the lip sync debate… It seemed like she hadn’t right up until she stuck the mic in the crowd and you couldn’t hear them – now not having much in the way of knowledge when it comes to concert mics, if she indeed was singing, they’d have to mute the pickup a little bit so she could swing the mic around without feedback so it’s possible that she was actually singing and that would explain why the crowd wasn’t picked up, but something’s fishy in Denmark.
Why does it matter? Everybody shrieks in horror when Lance cheats. You ask me, lipping it is cheating just the same. Ask Milli Vanilli.