Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I give in - lets try cycling!!

I can't rid myself of the curse of plantar fascitiis and several others have told me that I am doing myself no good by trying to run every few days.

Its because I love my running that I don't want to give it up but at present it is just not working for me. Even after a break of a week, if I run I am ok over a short run of a few miles but the next day I am hobbling and limping. The Scholl orthotic inserts will help but I was deluded if I felt this would provide a major wand cure. The spring is here and summer dawns and with it a great selection of road races but my winter training will now count for nowt. The 12th of April was my last proper week  of training and a month on from this my level of fitness will have slipped. I will have to start all over again from scratch when I eventually get over this injury.

So for now I am taking up cycling. This has the great advantage of not causing me any further damage to my foot.I have a road bike this was given to me and is very much an ordinary bike and definitely not one of those fancy Dan £2,000 jobs More's the pity!

Several folks have suggested to me why don;t you try cycling including Revrunner, Darren Baker and finally my better half said to get out there and do it
I am going to stop running for 1 month and then see if I am ok to run again. I think I will know if this is the case. Like a lot of people with plantar fascitiis I find my foot can be painful first thing in the morning when I stand up on it. Hopefully in a month perhaps this will have healed and I can run again but there are no guarantees with this and I know this can linger for many months .

So today I switched my garmin forerunner to the cycling function, got a back pack ready with a spare waterproof jacket , a map and a drink. Pumped up the tyres and set off.

Cycling isn't something I have actively tried before. I have of course used a bike to get from a to b , pop into town but as a form of exercise no apart from the stationary cycle machines in a gym. I have also been a bit wary of traffic and know that bikes always come off second best in a fight with a car, I am therefore a real novice - totally green so this makes this a bit of an adventure and something exciting to do as a temporary replacement for running.

I put on my ipod and listened to Mark Kemode and Simon Mayo's Film Review podcast.  The episode I listened to included a review of the latest Iron man 2 film. As a boy I was a fan of all of the Marvel Comics including Ironman, Spiderman, The Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer to name a few  and this latest offering is definitely a precursor to the launch of the Avengers as a film.  The film introduced the Black Widow character played by Scarlet Johansson. The film is worth a watch if you like comic book character films.

The miles passed by on the bike fairly easily but at no great pace. My route took me through the villages of Fornham All Saints, Fornham St Genevieve, West Stow, Ingham and Timworth  all to the north of Bury St Edmunds. Obviously you can get a lot further afield on a bike and travel further than on a run. I stopped a couple of times for a quick drink but other than that I just kept going. I wasn't sure what I could do and how far to go and I wasn't prepared if I had of got a puncture.

But I did 14 miles in 1 hr 20 Min's for an average speed of 11 miles an hour.From what I can see this is very much an average speed for a complete beginner. Club cyclists spin the wheel at around 18 miles an hour. indicates the following as a guide with all of the provisos concerning weather , hills equipment, traffic etc
  • Beginner, short distance (say 10-15 miles): average speed 12 mph. Most cyclists can achieve 10-12 mph average very quickly with limited training
  • More experienced, short-medium distance (say 20-30 miles): average speed 15-16 mph
  • Reasonable experience, medium (say 40 miles): average speed 16-19 mph
  • Quite competent club rider, some regular training likely, medium-long distances (say 50-60 miles): 20-24 mph

I forgot to take my camera so along with a puncture kit and a phone I will be better prepared next time. Did I enjoy it? Yes as a substitute for running it wasn't bad and I will want to make it competitive and give my self some challenges and improve my speed and the distance I cover.

Did I get bum ache? Yes my backside just isn't used to sitting on a bike.

The only other problem today was the amount of green fly in the air. There must be some outbreak of the pests at the moment and cycling meant keeping the mouth closed and wiping away the green fly every so often.


  1. That's great, buryblue! I wish for you miles and miles (er, kilometers and kilometers) of enjoyable--and safe!--cycling.

    I'm also looking forward to getting back to some running, but I know it's going to be at least another week or two at the earliest, or so my doctor tells me.

    In the meantime, I'm looking forward to getting a few more miles in on my bike and to your posts.

  2. it stinks, but this is definitely the wiser decision! i have always heard of how long pf can take to recover from because we runners tend to be a little hard headed and continue trying to run/be on our feet all day in non-supportive shoes... biking will keep your cardio up so you won't have to start completely from scratch!

  3. At the least, you may have just stumbled upon something else that is quite satisfying. Kind of like a forced entry. I hope that you continue to blog about your biking experiences and take lots of photos. First pro I can think of. You can cover a lot more ground, therefore, we expect to see lots of countryside. Cheers, and hopes of a heel to heal!

  4. I feel your pain! Or part of it at least. I've just got myself a bike and I'm a little saddle-sore!

  5. Nice! I've been thinking about getting back up on my bike. I live 4 miles from my office, so riding to work is an option for me. Now to just get my backside moving!


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