Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a running site! Cycling will always be the sport that drives me, but a bit of variety can be good for the body and soul. This year I have been supplementing my cycling with some short distance running. I’ve made a few mistakes and learned a lot along the way.
Most people tend to go from running to cycling, a relatively easy progression. Picking up running after years of only cycling is far harder and can introduce a few challenges. If you are thinking of giving running a go (and are otherwise a healthy individual) I would encourage it! Here are five tips for the avid cyclist who may be about to embark on the “beginner runner” journey…
5) Ease into it. I can’t stress this enough. Running can be tough on the body. As a fit and healthy road cyclist, you might think that picking up running will be a breeze. After all, your aerobic fitness is on point, so all you need to do is put one foot in front of the other, right? Well, yes. But any muppet can head out the door and run themselves into injury (trust me, I know). Your lungs may write cheques that your body simply can’t cash.
While your muscles will likely adapt quickly, it takes time for your joints and tendons to strengthen and adapt to the higher impact of running. If you don’t give them time, you’ll be far more prone to early injury. Start off slow, don’t be too proud to walk if you need to. Work up to increasing your distance and speed gradually.
4) Get a running / sports watch. Just like your Garmin bike computer (other brands available) a good quality running watch will give you all the information you need and enable you to upload your runs to Strava afterwards. Necessary? No, but very useful. Plus who doesn’t love a new piece of sports tech to play with!
Most importantly, a running watch will help you pace your runs. It’s very easy to want to go hell for leather every single run (if that sounds like you, re-read point 5 above). Just like cycling, you need to run “slower” at times for recovery and to build endurance. I’ve been using a Wahoo ELEMNT Rival watch.
3) Be consistent. While you need to start slowly, easing into it, you also need to be consistent! Get into a habit of running at least twice a week, ideally three times. A rest day between each run is also a very good idea when starting out. This will get your body used to the stresses of running, without overdoing it.
2) On the bike, keep your top end sharp! This one is less a running tip and more of a “don’t let running interfere with your cycling” tip. In my very n=1 experience, I’ve found running is great for you aerobic capacity and endurance, but it can blunt your top end power. To combat this, you may want to add some sprint training or short duration 1-2 minute power intervals to your bike training.
1) Buy good quality running shoes. This is NUMERO UNO for a reason! You could duck down to your local Sports Direct and buy some “trainers” that look fancy, but I would highly recommend going to a professional running shop, getting shoe advice, and buying on their recommendation. A high quality, well fitting pair of running shoes are worth their weight in gold.
Running shoes may be expensive, but they are 100% worth the investment. That doesn’t mean go out and spend big on a pair of high-end carbon plated super shoes. Get a pair of shoes that suit your running style and budget. You may even find you go through a pair or two before you find that perfectly comfortable pair.
It may seem like a lot of money, but step back and compare that to the money you’ve thrown at cycling. A well fitting pair of proper running shoes are a cheap purchase in comparison, will make you less prone to injury, and arguably faster.
Now lace those new shoes up, get out there, and enjoy the journey! 🏃♂️