With the weather turning cold this time of year, I have decided to integrate some running into my training regimen. Yesterday, there was a road race in my neighborhood (a hilly 4 miler), and I figured that it might be interesting to see what an individual with an aerobic base achieved entirely by cycling could do. I did run 5 maybe 6 times in the two weeks leading up to yesterday’s event, but it would be laughable to consider those occasions as “preparation” for my race.
To make a long story short, it didn’t go very well. I finished 18/150 in a very non-competitive field with a time of around 28 minutes. What’s worse: I did the unthinkable—I stopped twice during the race due to the unbelievable strain. After all had been said and done, I looked to my heart monitor to see that my average HR for the race was 181 bpm. I’m 39 years old.
Running has never been so hard. Just 9 years ago I ran a 15 K in under 59 minutes (Utica Boilermaker if anyone is familiar), and now (after two seasons averaging 30 miles/day on the bike) I can hardly muster 7-minute miles without fear of heart attack.
I know that you need to squeeze oranges to make orange juice and that to run fast I need to train accordingly. But shouldn’t this past season of cycling have prepared me better for this foot race? I went into this race with an arrogant swagger, thinking, “You pathetic runners putting in 45 minutes/day don’t know what real training is!” I have since been humbled. My question: why didn’t my cycling fitness translate better? I wasn’t expecting to run six-minute miles—but what actually happened shocked the heck out of me.