I mentioned briefly in my 33 week recap that I knew things were going to have to change here for me soon. I love running throughout my pregnancy; however, it isn’t always easy and some days are very challenging. It has kept me sane and feeling relatively good for most of this journey. I should have added cycling in more much earlier.
I knew from the beginning that as the weeks progressed I would have to make adjustments to my running schedule. I started running slowly after finding out I was pregnant and at my highest mileage week ran 40-41 miles. As pregnancy progressed I had several times I’ve had to make the decision to cut back a bit. It hasn’t always been easy but I knew it was the right thing.
After my 8 miles on Saturday, I knew this week (at 34 weeks) would be another one of those times. My body is not recovering like it should be and on top of that I’m starting to have a lot of uncomfortable pressure. It’s part of this crazy journey, so I’m doing my best to accept it and do what I can!
One of the big differences I will be adding in 2-3 times a week now will be replacing a chunk of miles each week with cycling. As a runner, most of us shudder at that word. Spinning or cycling is often associated with injury or periods where we can’t run, however, we shouldn’t shy away from cycling because it can have great benefits for runners!
Don’t believe me? Here are just a few reasons how cycling can benefit runners:
Work on Your Cadence
Pregnancy has slowed my cadence WAY down. It’s still there, but nowhere near where it used to be. Most of my runs these days are simply focused on getting through it whatever way you can. Cycling can be a great way to practice your quicker cadence so your body doesn’t completely forget what it’s like! This is good for those who are injured or sidelined from running but also great for use as a compliment to running.
There has been some correlation between pedal stroke cadence and running cadence. This means that focusing on your cadence during cycling can help to actually lead to quicker strike cadence during running. This means that you are turning over faster and lessening impact which reduces your injury risk.
We all know how it feels to be sore and worn out after a tough workout or long run. It’s part of running and training, but cycling can be a great tool to help recover without taxing your body. Staying stagnate after a hard effort run can tighten up and leave you feel worse. Adding in cycling as active recovery can help to increase blood flow in your legs, flush out the lactic acid build up, and reduce your muscle soreness.
Non-Impact Cross Training
As runners we don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize our training or lead to possible injury. Compared to running, cycling is a non-impact way to get in cardio while giving your body a break from the high-impact of running. It is the perfect addition for cross training, during injury, or for recovery after a race.
Work Different Muscle Groups
If you are only running, you are only working the same muscle groups over and over again. Cycling works complementary muscle groups. It actually works some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body. This makes for an extremely beneficial and good workout for runners!
Cycling and spinning too often get a bad name in the running community. It’s hard to fit in other items in your schedule, but this is one that you might not want to be skipping!
Do you cross train?
Do you enjoy cycling?