Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It’s All About the Bike

If you haven’t tuned in for awhile, you may not know that I am currently taking a break from running.  I haven’t successfully run more than two miles since September 17…yikes!  It started in my shin, and while my shin feels better now, something is weird with my knee.  My form isn’t correct at all, and it would be impossible to get through any sort of mileage without lots of pain and slow, slow, slow running.  Basically, it wouldn’t be constructive at all, and I’d probably ruin my shot at the Philadelphia Marathon.  So, I’m riding a bike for now.

I’ve never really had to deal with any major injuries in my running career.  This is a pretty good feat, as I’ve been running since the seventh grade (circa 1997…check out my running story!).  That’s a long time to go without any major injuries, so I think I’m pretty lucky.  Every now and then my shins would hurt at the end of cross country season (and there was that one time when I ended my season during marching band practice…but I guess I tried to keep that out of my mind!), but overall, no major problems.  I’ve always been a runner and never much of a cross trainer, so I’m a bit at a loss of what to do.  The gym that I signed up for doesn’t open until November, so that doesn’t help me much now!  I would totally jump in the pool and such if I could.  For now, I am stuck riding the bike that I borrowed from the Rocket Scientist’s parents.

I have no clue how to bike.  Sure, I rode my bike all the time when I was younger.  I was known for riding around the neighborhood, asking my friends to join me on a bike ride and we would ride and go play on local playgrounds for hours.  Those were the days.  Anyway.  Not for speed or a workout or anything.  I don’t even know what a “good” bike workout is, what gears to be in, how far to ride to attempt to simulate marathon training (although never a real comparison), etc.

Any insight would be lovely!  I know there are bloggers out there who faced similar situations.  Help this non-biker runner out!

I took the bike out for a spin yesterday and didn’t hate it too much, so I took it out again today.  I was a bit jealous biking by anyone who was running…it made me so sad!  I’ll be back there soon, I hope.  At least I’m getting in some cardio.  Here are my stats from garmin, even though I have no clue what they really mean or if they’re really any good at all!

Monday, September 28
13.51 miles in 1:03:01, avg pace of 4:40 (12.9 mph)

Monday’s ride was on the local trail where I run, which has minimal hills.  Is 12.9 an okay pace?  Beats me.  Although I was thinking about it, and I was riding about as fast as the top male marathoners run.  That kind of made me sad…

Tuesday, September 29
10.02 miles in 43:25, avg pace of 4:20 (13.9 mph)

HILLS ON THIS ROUTE.  I’m not sure which I like less…running up hills or biking up hills.  Neither one is particularly pleasant, although it is definitely more fun to bike down the hills!  I was flying on some parts…woo!

foam roller

Yowza!  Rolling out your IT band is painful!  I was going through the exercises on the DVD that the foam roller came with, and I kept thinking “oh, this isn’t too bad.”  Then we got to the IT band…gahhh what pain!  I guess that means it’s working??

Time for some mental preparation for work…I had a good night last night and actually got out on time, but I’m always scared to go into work to find out that I missed something or that I made a mistake and didn’t realize it or something.  It happens…although I wish it didn’t…


  1. Ah sorry I have absolutely no pointers for you about biking. I don't know the first thing about it other than what I used to do as a kid. OH, but wear a helmet for sure.

  2. Ahh I wish I had some advice on biking. The only bike I really know how to ride is a spin bike haha. When I was in CHI I rode a bike for the first time in like a bagillion years and I actually couldn't remember how to ride it. fail.

    get those legs better soon girly :)

  3. You can do intervals on a bike, like 2 minutes hard, 2 easy, etc. I used to do that. Happy cross-training! Hope you're back to running soon.

  4. I'm sorry you don't like biking as much :( I am a fan of biking becuase well I don't like running! haha 12.9 is about an average pace, about a C-/B+ level. Chris and the other crazy people in the group usually ride at 17+ mph and get up to 40+ on the hills. I myself can't do that and try to maintain 14 or 15 while gasping for air. Usually I try to get at least 35 miles in for a good one, I'm working up to 60. It seems like you have to do a lot more biking to compare to running. I've noticed that my thighs are a lot stronger when I do strength training and I feel aerobically stronger when I do a gym class, so I think it is good :)
    Keep at it girl, you are doing your body a favor right now to help it get better. The guy that owns the local bike shop we go to started biking because he had knee problems, and he's never had knee problems since and he's in his 60s. Hope it gets better :)

  5. I won't be much help for biking. I only run ;)

    My foam roller has made me cry!

  6. I ride a bike, but only to run errands around town or over to a friends apartment. I have a dorky basket and everything. I'm not much help on that front.
    I love love love the foam roller. Mine didn't come with a dvd though so I'm jealous of you! I get nervous when it hurts...is it supposed to do that?! hahaha!

  7. Hey Susan,

    I'm a frequent reader but never comment, but wanted to pass along some info that I hope will help.

    The story about your foam roller killing your IT band makes me think that your shin and knee problems are all stemming from severe tightness in the IT band. I've had this happen to me before, which has *totally* thrown off my running. I'd recommend getting to a massage therapist or acupuncturist (or both!) and have them really go to town on your IT band, and I suspect you'll see a vast improvement in your shin and knee. and then you won't have to deal with the bike :)

    By the way, I love your blog. My Boston qual time is within 45 seconds of yours, so maybe I'll see you in the same corral at the starting line!

  8. i'm sorry you're going through this susan -- i have many times! as for biking, those rides sounds great to me but i also am a bit clueless! i've done spin class + elliptical for x training when injured before. i hope you are feeling back to normal soon!!

    ps: party in the USA = AWESOME

  9. Sorry! As you know from my post today, not too many bikers in my neck of the woods. So no advice on that front. As for your ITB troubles...maybe you can get someone at the hospital you work at to give you a quite exam...maybe you can curbside one of the ortho docs if/when they come rounding on patients...or find out there they hang out and just ask one of the nicer ones to ask for their opinion/medical advice...worth a shot! Good luck!

  10. I wish I had advice... but I know nothing about biking. I tried it, but it ended up being more of a leisurely stroll! I felt so sad seeing the runners too. Ugh. Especially when I was in DC. I felt so broken. :(

    I hope you get your gait back soon.

  11. I wish I had some good bike advice, but I'm a terrible biker. I ride mine to class and nearly kill myself in the process. So I guess my advice is: be a better bike rider than I am.

  12. Great job getting on the bike and getting in the exercise you're missing from running. You'll be back out on your feet soon I'm sure!

    That is an awesome pace for your first couple of rides! That's about exactly where I started. On a nice road bike with more experience you will go faster but for now that is perfect. Just go by your perceived effort and make sure you are working hard. Hills are great! I would stick to these 45-60 minute rides and build up to 90 minutes. It's hard to compare biking and running but some people say there's some ratio- like 3 miles biked = 1 mile run.. who knows. For now just focus on learning your bike handling skills and getting some exercise and it will all come together. Keep up the great work! :)

  13. Haha didn't I tell you the IT band is crazy painful!? With every other part of the body it feels like a massage/a little bit of pain but the IT band is unbearable for me!!!!

    I got back on the a bike this past summer when I interned/lived down on HIton Head Island. I wrote a post on getting back to the bike here: http://www.h3daily.com/fitness/back-to-the-bike/

    It was so scary at first but it got a lot easier with practice and I started to really love it. It helps if you have a great place to bike i.e. the beach. It looks like you are already a pro biker though!

    You are so smart taking it easy. It's weird how your injury is coming along now after so many years of injury-less running. What was this marching band story? I'm curious now :)

  14. good luck with figuring out the bike! my husband picked it up pretty quick since he isnt running now either. looks scary to me :) haha.

    yessss ITB and the foam roller = OUCH!

  15. ooh I love people's "running stories" thanks for linking back to it. I don't know anything about biking. I only do it as something to enjoy so I'd have no idea how to turn it into a workout. :(