There is so much to be said for road cycling, it almost seems a shame to say something slightly negative about it. But let's be honest, to really feel as if going out for a ride has been worthwhile - in a training sense at least - you don't half need to be out for a long time. Spinning for an hour just doesn't feel like a proper workout does it?
And that causes me a dilemma most weekends. I desperately want to get out and ride, but when I've got a demanding three-year old to tend to and a missus looking up divorce lawyers in the Yellow Pages the five hour jaunt just ain't going to happen.
Thank God for my running shoes then. I'm one of those blokes who need exercise. Yeah, I'm a thoroughbred racehorse me. (Oh alright, I just live in fear of fat-knackerdom.) Anyway, if I don't get my fix I become a mentalist, so when the bike has to stay in the garage, I run. Half-an-hour does it, I've got my fix. It helps that I can't run anywhere flat here in Bath - definitely get more bangs for bucks down here both on bike and in trainers.
I'm not sure if it helps my cycling physiologically - and neither are a few of the forumites over on the Training forum - but I know it helps my cycling psychologically. How so? Well, I used to run a lot. And for a while I ran to the exclusion of any other sport. It was great for a while and I became okay at it, but then it broke. I didn't get injured - the usual runner's ruin. Nope, I just got bored. So bored that I stopped and all my hard work drifted away.
Once I started to take cycling seriously - basically I fell hard in love with a physical activity again - I was determined not to make the same mistake. So I mix it up. The vast majority of what I do now is on a bike, but when a ride just isn't possible I'll run. (Or if I'm feeling really perverse, swim!) And I love running again. But when I get on the bike next day, I love cycling that little bit more!