A while back I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with Oscar Pereiro. Oscar is Galicia’s most famous cycling son, winner of the 2006 Tour de France. During our chat, Oscar spoke about the importance of being an athlete, not just a cyclist. He told me about how much he enjoyed running, particularly in his off season. He emphasised the importance of running and riding, as part of his overall training. And above all, he made a lot of sense.
Early morning rollers
If, like me, life is always a battle with weight gain, then running and riding makes a lot of sense. I love my food and find strict diets quite demoralising. So, anything that can help with weight loss, or weight control is important. Particularly if it means that you can still enjoy your food. On the riding front, half an hour of steady work on a static roller first thing in the morning is perfect. OK, I agree that it can be hard to get up thirty minutes early. However, if you can do it, the benefits are huge. With no food in the stomach, the body burns fat as you ride. Just half an hour, at 125 bpm heart rate will suffice. And you will be ready for the day. This was something that Oscar did every morning, so it must be beneficial. Look where he ended up.
Benefits of running and riding
Many cyclists hate running. And rightly so. If we loved it, then we would be runners. Or perhaps the halfway house of triathletes. As somebody who completed a half-ironman, for a bet I must add, I have done a bit of running. Pounding out the kms on the road is no fun if your heart is a cyclist’s heart. However, running and riding can be fun. And the key is, where you run. If you can, look for off road running. The impact on joints is a lot less, and this is important, particularly amongst veterans. I must add that many cycling buddies are ex-runners, who came to cycling to recuperate from running injuries. Looking for trails, or paths through forests, or just a decent sized field is preferable to asphalt. Here in Galicia, we have a lot to choose from.
A problem with cycling can be the time available. Many with busy lives can only find a maximum of 45-60 minutes during the day. The rollers are always a good idea. As mentioned above, this is always more beneficial first thing in the morning. However, an hour, or less, is a lot of time when running. So you should try and incorporate it into the schedule, particularly during the winter months. Buy a decent pair of off-road trainers, and start finding those routes. You will see the benefits very quickly indeed. And if you are looking for cycling holidays in Spain, then bring the trainers with you. There are endless kms of trails here in Galicia after a good days riding to explore.