Monday, April 15, 2013

Butt Meets Bike

I figure that I might as well take advantage of my running hiatus and see if I can get better on the bike.

When I am actively doing all three sports, I run three times a week, swim three times a week and squeeze in one bike ride with my Sunday morning cycling group. C'est tout.

I enjoy being on the bike but I just can't ever seem to drum up any excitement about trying to get better on the bike.

I'll work hard in the pool to shave seconds off my time. I'll add speed and distance to my runs and I actually look forward to hill training.

Well, I have no excuses now. I still swim three times a week and have no plans on adding any more days to that routine. So I can either have four off days every week or I can get my butt on the bike.

Guess which option I chose?

Last Sunday, it was dangerously windy outside so Doug and I headed down to the basement for a cycling workout on our trainers. We popped in the workout called "Bending Crank Arms" and hit play. Bending Crank Arms is a workout for competitive athletes and it has a few off the bike sections that involve squats and isometric squats (where you squat and hold it). I've never done those before because I always worried about putting pressure on my shins. I'd just increase the resistance on the bike and work hard during the squat sessions.

This time, I did them. Every single painful one. We had four squat sessions during the one-hour video. Each involved three squatting cycles made up of a) doing as many squats as possible within a set time (30 seconds, 45 seconds or one minute) followed by an isometric squat we had to hold for either one minute, 45 seconds or 30 seconds.

They felt pretty easy at first but I quickly turned into a jelly-legged, panting, sweaty mess as I tried desperately to keep up. I did keep up, and never cheated on the isometric squats, but holy hannah that was tough. It took four days for my legs to completely recover from that workout.

Six days after that workout, on Saturday, Doug headed out for his run and I headed down to the basement for Bending Crank Arms Part Two. I figure if I can build up to doing this workout twice a week, I'll definitely be stronger. I completed the entire workout and survived feeling a little less beaten up and a lot less nauseated than the first time.

And the next morning I was able to join my cycling group for a 28k ride. Up and down the escarpment we went and, instead of dragging behind from fatigue as I had feared, I kept up. My legs felt strong and powerful and not the least bit tired.

Today was swim day but, Tuesday morning, I'll back in the basement on the bike. My legs might not be recovered enough for Bending Crank Arms but they'll definitely get a workout. Who knows, this foot injury may end up doing wonders for my cycling talents.


  1. well... sounds familiar. "my foot injury may end up doing wonders for my cycling talents"... your stress fractures ended up doing wonders for your swimming talents! I don't want another injury to help the trifecta of sports though.

    :P If you want any workout ideas just ask. I can't imagine doing the same damn workout more than once a week like bending crank arms. ugh.

  2. The name of that workout video is terrifying! Haha!

  3. Nice! It's all about the "time in the saddle."

    The other day I was powering up a hill when my pedal momentarily felt funny, and I thought, "Oh no! I bent my pedal!" The sensation passed quickly--and obviously I hadn't bent anything--but it made me think of this.