I am a big fan of Outdoor Magazine… well, check that, most of Outdoor Magazine. Eben Weiss is a cranky wanker who writes about cycling in such a manner, I can’t even read his articles anymore. Anything with his mug under the Title, I just close it and move along.
That out of the way, I recently read a great article that listed their Greatest Running Tips of All Time – from 40 years of writing about running.
That got me reminiscing about my running days a little bit. Fondly, even. And thus, my single best running tip of all time…
Buy one of these:
No, I’m not trying to emulate Eben. I’m entirely serious. Buy a bike and ride it. A lot. If you’re a trail runner, buy a gravel bike. If you’re a road racer, buy a road bike.
Now, I’ll share why.
First, a bicycle will help one fix their running cadence, especially for slow runners. Your turn-over should be just as fast running as it is on a bike. Most runners in the 8 minute+ per mile range are half that. On a bicycle, you want your cadence to be in the 90-rpm range, ideally, perhaps a little lower but certainly not below 75. In both sports, a higher cadence is more efficient (to a point, of course). Cycling helped me get the feeling for a proper cadence. In a few months (May to July, I went from an 8 minute mile to 7. And, by fast runner standards, I was on the chubby side (170 pounds, 6′ tall).
Second, a bicycle is an excellent cross-training tool. Especially for those “active recovery” days. Just watch your pace on the bike. You actually want it to be active, yes, but more important is the “recovery” part.
Third, and this is the best part; a bicycle is an amazing recovery tool for after your run. While training for triathlons, I’d ride down to where the running club met, run with the club, then ride home. It was ten miles to get there, then I rode the long way home, another 18. Instead of being sore the next day, I found myself up and at ’em and lively. My recovery time, especially after long, hard runs, was cut from days to hours.
So there you have it, my single best running tip; buy a bike. There’s only one problem: you might just realize, as I did, that the swim and the run were messing up a perfectly good bike ride. It wasn’t long before I ditched the running shoes for cycling exclusively.