Back from France but up to London (twice) to help out a son with some plumbing – and back to the decluttering of the sheds and garage.
I know the declutter is the right thing to do but I still find it hard. I was brought up in a less disposable age – an era when you didn’t throw things away until they no longer worked (and even then you tried to fix them first).
All these years later, it takes a real effort to get away from that upbringing.
Also, some of my hoard is stuff I helped clear from my father’s and father-in-law’s ‘collections’ – it feels a bit disrespectful simply to throw away things that they had decided were worth keeping for so many years.
I’m horribly aware of the irony that I moan about the problem of throwing away excess stuff while so many people don’t have enough of the basics – but at least I’m happy that much of what gets thrown out goes to the local charity shops.
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Anyway, that aside, it was back to the turbo on Tuesday which was an enjoyable 43.9km (27.3 miles) in an hour. I’ve restarted the sit-ups, push-ups, crunches and lunges and went running with a friend to, and back from, the gym on Thursday with half an hour’s weights in between.
In a rare outbreak of common sense I postponed a planned run on Friday morning because of slightly sore Achilles tendons. Annoying, but a timely reminder that I need to do some stretching with all the exercise.
It’s got me thinking about cycling vs running, and their respective merits.
Of course, there is a lot of material on the topic on the internet but my take so far is:
1 Muscle use
It’s often said that running and cycling use different muscles. My legs have too few muscles in them to have different sets for the two activities – so the truth is simply that they use the same muscles in different ways.
I can certainly testify to that as, although I think I’m reasonably ‘cycle fit’, after the run up the alp last week my quads ached for three days. OK, they were not helped by having a run the following day, followed by 13 hours in the car back to England, but they did hurt quite a bit.
I get no muscle pains at all following rides up to 100 miles – and although I ached a bit after the rather more extreme days cycling through France, that never lasted beyond half an hour of movement in the mornings.
Both activities will help with muscle development below the waist (probably cycling more so) but running may be a slightly better all-round workout because of the need to maintain more posture on a run?
2 Calorie burning
Of course it depends on the terrain, the speed and effort put in, the weight of the individual, etc, etc but it seems clear that running generally burns more calories per hour than ‘comparable’ cycling, not least because it is weight-bearing. It appears that the differential narrows for fast cycling. On the other hand, for most people, it’s easier to cycle for longer than it is to run so ‘calories per session’ might be rather different.
Acquiring all the necessary kit for cycling is rather more expensive (!). However, assuming you can avoid all those tempting upgrades and extras, once you have the kit, ongoing costs for a year can be relatively small compared to the need to replace expensive trainers every, say, 300-500 miles.
It is easier to pull on some kit and get out running. Of course, that ignores the pleasure of the pre and post-ride fettling with the bike.
Both are good for musculature and the cardio-vascular system. In moderation, the impact from running can help bone density (particularly beneficial for women as they get older). Both are also good for one’s mental health – as is pretty much any sensible exercise.
A difficult one but cycling wins for me as it’s easier to actually get somewhere interesting – running has a more limited range and so I tend to do it on similar, repetitious, routes. Running also hurts more and tends to carry higher muscle injury risks (but fewer fall and traffic risks).
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The main thing is that I enjoy both. I’m not particularly doing either as training for the other – I’m doing both on their merits and for the benefit that variety brings.
The extra pain from running is compensated by it’s ease and the sense of satisfaction after a good run. If I’m going to do the Rotterdam Marathon next year, I will have no choice but to do quite a lot of it. I have no problem with having aching muscles after serious training – more importantly, and happily, so far no knee issues.
I know that my love of cycling will overcome the post-event lull I’ve been in – and I’ve not finished with cycling challenges so there will also be more to be done in the future by way of training for those.
In fact, thinking about it, I’ve realised that what really motivates me is having a challenge. It’s the challenge that provides the focus, motivates the training and ultimately gives me satisfaction and the way of measuring whether or not I’m ‘winning’. How ridiculous is that for a man of 63!
2019 looks to be a fallow year for cycling challenges (and any big solo challenges), but a marathon is certainly on the cards (Rotterdam or elsewhere). I’m also wondering if I could run from Les Carroz to the top of the Col de la Pierre Carrée next year (weather and traffic permitting, probably more likely in the summer than while skiing). It would be just over a half marathon with the first half of the run straight uphill at over 6%.
For 2020 I’m starting to think about:
- the Normandicat (a range of solo, unsupported treks between checkpoints across Normandy),
- the Galérien du Mont-Ventoux (four times up in a day – including once by the off-road forest route),
- the Bicinglette du Mont-Ventoux (six times up in a day) and
- the High Rouleur challenge (10,000m of climbing in a single ride).
Getting to 65 will have to be marked somehow, won’t it?
Transcontinental Race update: Neil Matthews, the last rider, should finish in Greece today, 40 days after he started in Belgium! Just 173km to go as I write.