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Although I haven’t felt as if my recent workouts were very badass or even mildly notable, I must have gotten carried away on the bike this week because my legs are dead. When I draaaaagged by battered body out of bed this morning and headed out for my last pre-dawn run past the creepy cemetery on Springfield Road, I was hurtin’. Not acute pain hurt but definitely in the “sore as heck” category. My gams were rebelling for going all Tour de France and doing 3 bike workouts in 2 days. I knew I was in trouble when I actually considering laying down on the sidewalk and going back to sleep. But I thought “What Would Lance Armstrong Do?” and he would NOT catch some lazy bum z’s on the corner of Saxer Road like a lazy bum.

Although I am not zooming up the Pyrenees in spandex shorts and an aerodynamic helmet, my bike workouts are hardly leisurely peddling with the newest Janet Evanovich on my Kindle. I almost always do one of the pre-set workouts on my stationary bike, including Strength Intervals (interval training), Ride in the Park (hills), and Pike’s Peak (slow, steady climb). I keep the resistance high, between levels 8-10, so I can really get a good burn going in my legs. I want to work when I am on the bike, not just have my feet fly around in spastic circles as fast as they can–especially since the bike offers the lowest caloric burn of all cardio machines. I’m demanding bang for my buck, not just going through the motions with minimal effort.

I also use the bike for recovery workouts. I put the resistance low but keep the RPMs above 90 so it closely mimics the cadence of running. This replaces the “easy runs” or “junk miles” I used to put in, hopefully decreasing the chance of suffering another overuse injury. I used to loathe every form of exercise that was not running, but when I was sidelined for 12 weeks last summer/fall, I learned to appreciate the cross-training benefits offered by the bike. Since it is non-weight bearing, I was able to continue working out even if I couldn’t run. Most importantly, I found that when I returned to the roads in October, I had lost very little fitness. I recommend ever runner incorporate the bike into their training, particularly in the winter months when there are very few races but tons of discouraging snow.

Since getting the all-clear to resume running 10 months ago, I didn’t abandon my bike. Instead, the bike not only supplements my running but it is also a substitute for running. I decided on a training plan that would limit my running to 3 days a week and I would bike and weight train the other 3 days (I know there are 7 days in a week–but 1 day is mandatory rest, duh!). I was a little nervous that this would not give me enough weekly mileage to properly train for a spring half marathon, but after reading Run Less, Run Faster, which advocates quality workouts over quantity, I believed that I would be up for 13.1. And not only was I able to do one half marathon, I was able to complete three plus a ten-mile race! So, yeah, the bike is my friend, but judging how my legs felt today (see picture below) there may exist too much of a good thing. Looking forward to my cardio-free day tomorrow!

Today’s Workout:
Ran 5 miles/48:50
P90X X Stretch 57:00

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