How running has helped my biking

For the longest time, I believed that running was the tool of the devil. It was boring and painful and why would anyone do it when you could instead be mountain biking. After all, mountain biking is the best of all sports.

In 2006, running did me a lot of physical harm but ended up being a force for good. One sunny bank-holiday afternoon, I was biked-out from riding on Saturday and planning to ride on Monday. So on the Sunday, I went out and ran. Unfortunately, I far exceeded what my knees were ready for: I pounded out 10km with zero training, and did it on rock-hard off-road trails. A knee-surgery later, I had done no biking in months. It was horrible to lose the ability to exercise – I even bought an X-Box during that period. In the end, though, it was a life-win as I got into swimming again, then into open water swimming, and that was how I met Emily.

I held a grudge against running, though. Which was a little unfair. A bit like going teetotal after drinking a whole crate of beer. In more recent times, I’ve dipped my toe back into running. Building up slowly, and actually enjoying it. The simplicity of just sticking on a pair of trainers and setting off from my front door is a fantastic, accessible activity. Since I’m not very good at it, I’m still on the steep curve of improving performance, which is very satisfying. And this measured approach is actually improving the stability of my knees.

I forced myself to move from a pounding heel-strike style, to landing more lightly on the ball of my foot. It took some sore calf muscles to get there, but now I can do a better job of absorbing the shock of landing. This has helped with hill-walking, biking and generally having a more balanced body.

Comments are closed.