Commuting: running vs cycling

The training plan said 4 miles today. As I skipped my weekend runs (Parkrun was cancelled on Saturday, and our flat was so hot and stuffy on Sunday that by 7pm – the time I meant to head to the gym for my 8 miler – I felt so lethargic and sleepy that I went for a cool shower and then stayed home instead) I decided to join my friend on her run in to the office.


Actual sunshine! In England!

The total distance was around 6 miles, but I walked to her place as a warmup and we walked most of the 2 big hills. Given that and the gazillion road crossings (I paused my sports band for each walking break) the total distance we ran was 4.65. Whilst this might not have been as much as I’d hoped, it was still more than I ran before work on Thursday (4.44), and above the 4 miles the plan asked for, sooo ..

As I’ve said before, marathon training (and running in general) takes a bit of trial and error. Today, I had a banana before I left – as I ran out of energy without it on Thursday – but I didn’t learn from my sports drink mistake, and grabbed a bottle of the normal (not light) stuff, and forgot to dilute it. By 3 miles or so, my stomach started to feel a little uncomfy (though I had made sure to just take regular little sips rather than gulping it down) so I stopped drinking it and just decided to rehydrate properly with a glass of water at the office.

The last mile felt really good, and I would have happily carried on for a couple more if I’d had time. I had expected the heat to be an issue – it was already creeping up towards 18 degrees when I left, and the breeze wasn’t much help – but it was only on the last stretch of main road that it got really warm. I imagine this was because of the tarmac (and the fact that it was 21 degrees, with no breeze). Once we got into the residential areas near our office, there were plenty of trees along the path, which meant plenty of shade!

When we got to the High Street by our office, I popped into Sainsburys to grab some lunch for later (and treated myself to a nice cold latte!) and got some funny looks .. To be fair, I was very red and pretty sweaty .. But it meant people gave me plenty of space and I was in and out within a few minutes! Win! 😀

I definitely think that early mornings are the way to go. I’ve coped with them much better than I’d expected, though the first couple miles are always a little uncomfortable and I’m pretty sleepy to begin with (well, all day, really). The tiredness is SO worth it, though. I get to go home this evening and relax without feeling the slightest bit guilty – and I’ve crossed off a training run before breakfast!

I was thinking about it on the way in, and I can’t decide which I prefer – cycling to work, or running. There are a few pros and cons for each. Firstly, cycling up the hills is a LOT harder on my legs (quads, especially) than running up them. On the other hand, it takes me a good couple of miles to get into a decent rhythm when running, as my breathing doesn’t settle right away. On the plus side, running downhill feels better than cycling downhill, because whilst you still put in the effort to continue running, it almost feels effortless – so awesome.

Then there are the roads. When cycling, you get overtaken and cut off and pushed into the gutter .. it’s dangerous, and it also takes a lot of effort to pick up your speed after coming to a stop on the bike (which is the moment when cars usually blast their horn at you). But running isn’t much better – you constantly have to cross over the big roads, and cars almost never stop to let you go. Then again, whilst the stopping and starting breaks up the rhythm quite a lot, it offers a bit of a breather and a stretch, and it’s not too hard to get going again.

I think running might just win 😀 And in any case, it’s running that I’m focusing on at the moment. And I’m hoping that as my fitness improves and my legs get stronger, it’ll get easier. Ironically, it’s the cycling that caused my recent knee niggles – they’ve felt absolutely fine on my recent runs! (Though my legs ache much more after a run than a cycle. But it’s a good ache, which I’ve missed!)

Do you prefer running, or cycling? How do you get to work?

2 thoughts on “Commuting: running vs cycling

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