There are few times in my little athletic life where working out after I’ve already worked out sound appealing. I’ve just finished another 20+ miler and my legs are already unhappy with me, but what’s on the schedule? A bike ride. Joy.
But…this is a nice bike ride. This one’s done at grandmotherly speeds. No – really – I rarely break 11-13MPH average speed on these rides. I’m just out to loosen my legs up.
See – proof of my low speeds:
So why would I bike? Well, cause the coach says to. But aside from that – because it really does make a difference. Your legs feel 500% better – almost as if you didn’t run at all. The key is that you’re not out there mashing heavy gears, but rather just peddling along at a leisurely rate in an easy gear. You’ll notice my average HR above isn’t even close to the bottom of my Zone 1 – which starts at 123bpm.
You’ll also notice that I’m not on my tri bike – or even a road bike. I’m on my old junker mountain bike. The one I used as a kid on my paper route. I’m just bumbling around on the bike path in front of my house. Not in a hurry, and not out to set any speed records. Try it just once after a long run, you’ll be amazed.
Finally, if you look at the first photo above – you’ll notice I’m still in my running stuff. I don’t bother to change out of running stuff. In fact – I never even go into the house, I just get straight on the bike. I find that going into the house lessens my desire to get out and go for an enjoyable quick bike ride. But really – 30 easy minutes cruising around is pretty nice once you get on the bike.
You know how when you’re out there pushing it on a hard long bike ride and you see people just enjoying a nice leisurely jaunt on their bikes and sometimes wish you could be them? Well…this is your chance.
(Taken on my 30 minute cruise this past weekend, on the bike path by my house)
Now thats the way to ride a bike!!!! I how tall were you when you had your paper route?
I totally agree. My coach has me go for a 30 min recovery ride after a long run and it helps so much! Looks like a fantastic fall over there.
I’m going to have to remember this! and since I’m a beginer and EVERY run feels like a ‘long run’ I may just make a habit of doing this after each one! 🙂
Those are the best rides. 🙂 Easy spins are life (and leg) savers…
good way to look at it…..wheres my bike with the banana seat???? and the high handlebars??
Wow it looks really nice there still. It’s been SNOWING here. Bleh. I miss bike riding days.
I agree this is the way to ease down, I walked three miles back to my hotel after my 1st marathon and that saved my legs for sure!
Interesting…I’ll try that after my next 20 miler. 😉
Sounds like a real enjoyable bike ride 🙂
I love my small chain ring supper slow rides. I did them after all my big runs and it really mad a difference.
I really like that last picture – the leaves are beautiful!
Interesting – I never knew that it would be so refreshing to ride after a long run – will have to try it.
i’m so far behind on blog reading i’ll never catch up…but FINALLY you are biking my speed. ha. call me next time and we can ride together.
interesting concept, this.
Does it have to be immediately after the long run, or does later in the day still work? I did a long run this morning, but am already cooled down and eating and not inclined to jump on my bike (on trainer) just this second, but might be able to convince myself later in the day.
Interestingly, my chiropractor (an Xterra world age grouper) gave me a tip when I mentioned that my legs were “dead” for runs the day after I did bike cross training. She told me to do a short run (5 min) immediately upon getting off the bike, like a brick. It works! The first time was a weird experience where I could feel muscles and such in my legs sort of adjusting themselves. I started w/ half a mile and am up to a mile, which is probably where I’ll keep it for now as I’m a runner not a triathlete. (and one fortunate enough to have my treadmill and my hybrid bike on trainer side by side in the “office”)
Yup, later in the day is totally fine. I generally do that with races that I have to drive home from, will do it around dinner time.
Thanks for the quick reply! I really enjoy your blog and your reviews are terrifically helpful.
Have you ever swapped a run day for a bike ride? Do you do a recovery run the day after your long run? Or do you take the day off and resume your schedule on Tuesday?
No, in general I wouldn’t do a recovery run – as for the most part that’s not really doing a lot of recovering of the legs (many coaches just call that ‘junk miles’). Rather, I’d do a swim or a bike – so I can still push/build the aerobic side while working on other sports.
One more quick question. Why bike ride after your long run as opposed to walking? Is it because bike riding is faster or more efficient in speeding up the recovery process?
Riding removes the pounding on the legs. Walking certainly isn’t bad, but it’s not quite as ideal as riding. Lacking a bike, then go with a long easy walk.
Would a stationary bike give the same benefit?
Thanks for the tip! I ran a marathon this past weekend and then put in 20 easy minutes on the hotel stationary bike after the race. It made a huge difference in how my legs felt compared to past marathons.
Awesome, and congrats on the marathon!
I did my first 10k yesterday with little training due to injury, I’m due to do a mod/hard bike ride today but my legs are very painful. Is it better to wait until tommorow ? I have another threshold ride on tues so don’t want to overdo it?
I wouldn’t do a hard ride today. Instead, I’d do an easy ride today for 30-45mins – like just pedaling around for fun, not pushing the pace.
Since my surgery I haven’t been able to work out, this gives me an idea of how to get back in shape for hiking and still be able to recover.