**If you’re 110% stuck on your hatred of running and refuse to be convinced otherwise, you can go ahead and move on to the next post.**
I, like many others, have always hated running. It hurts, its boring, I can’t breathe, it hurts some more, and then I can’t walk for a solid three days afterward. However, I really love riding my bike. And when pro after pro kept talking about how effective cross training was on their performance, I bought a secondhand pair of Nikes and set out on a new form of torture.
Luckily for me, Atlanta is home to a bunch of strange, niche groups like the Atlanta Snack Club. Although I’m still not sure the origins of their name, they’re a group of folks who hate running (except for a few) and meet up every other week to run up and down hills. Sounds miserable, right? Right. But they promised me beer afterward & my best friend / teammate dragged me with him. That’s how I found myself running ten hill repeats on some of Atlantas steepest hills.
And I gotta admit, everyone was right. No, I don’t suddenly love running, but after less than a month of making a point for weekly runs, I’ve seen drastic improvements on the bike. That’s enough to keep me motivated to keep running!
Despite a full season of training followed by a whole season of racing, I never learned how to control my breathing on the bike. Especially in races, I’d find myself running out of oxygen long before my legs felt even the slightest burn. That’s where running comes in! Unlike cycling, running doesn’t let you coast. It’s 100% from start to finish and somehow, that helped me get my breathing under control. I’m sure there’s a whole lot of studies and sciences to reference here that will discuss exactly what happens to your lungs when you run, but I don’t know any of it.
Secondly, I’m a wimp. I don’t like pain and my body has a very low tolerance for it. That’s where I’m so thankful for the folks of Atlanta Snack Club. Right when I think there’s no possible way to get back up that hill again, they’re there offering high fives, good jobs, and keep goings. The stoke is real! It doesn’t make it hurt any less, but it definitely makes it suck less. I’ve learned what my body can handle. I know now that just because my legs are screaming, they’re still capable of carrying me further than I imagined. And if that’s not the most helpful thing to know while on a bike, I dunno what is.
Plus, if nothing else, it gave me an excuse to buy a bunch of fun new gear, introduced me to some new friends, and gave me a new thing to annoy Patrick with.
If you’ve been thinking about cross training but can’t bear the thought of running, grab some buds and some Buds and go find a hill to run up and down. Your body will surprise you! 💪🏼