Runner, Cyclist - Both
It's not a secret that I came to mountain biking from a marathon and endurance background. After I left triathlons, I kept the two pretty separate. I'd plan on a half marathon for fun after the cycling season was over, but that was it. Low mileage on the running with some big hours on the bike. In fact, I ran less last year then I used to run in two months! The running was t important though, it was something to do to keep active while taking some time off the bike. So come the middle of December every year, it was time to refocus on the bike and start preparing for 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. The mild winters helped keep me on the bike, playing in the dirt and off the trainer. I didn't need to run much with the intensity I was doing on the bike.
Well, this has not been a mild winter and so my training was a little different leading into the first bike race of the season. For some reason, I decided to sign up for a half marathon two weeks before Old Pueblo. Then I decided I want to do more then just run the half marathon. So it was time for some bigger miles running. Less then what I was doing when trying to qualify, but much more then last year at this time and at a much higher intensity. As a result, there were fewer hours on the bike. No Saturday Sunday long ride combos, or twice a day ride schedules. Instead, if I was on the bike, I had a purpose - intervals of some kind or another. It's not that I was slacking. I was training harder then last year, but splitting my attention between foot and wheels. It was two workouts a day frequently - both high intensity. The weekend featured a Saturday ride and a Sunday long run. It was striking a balance between my two personalities - runner and cyclist. I was worried that one or the other would suffer, especially with the two races so close together. As February drew closer, I also started worrying about the two weeks of cycling training I would be missing with the taper and recovery from the half marathon.
Well, now that the dust has settled and I've had a good chance to review the results with Coach Adam, I think it worked great. I had a good half marathon and I still had the cycling strength for a solid performance at Old Pueblo. I did notice that I was lacking some of the spunk and explosive power from cycling only years, but everything else was there. In fact, I think it only benefited me to be able to run and not worry about the lack of hours on the bike. It's a lot easier to bundle up for a freezing run the ride and there was plenty of that this year. I'm also lucky that I work near a park that always gets plowed so I could run at lunch and not worry about the ice. I wasn't as lucky with the riding. The trails and roads haven't been exactly clear this year. It's all about doing work and training right. The specificity of sport definitely applies, but there is plenty of carry over. And now that Coach Adam and I know that both running and riding lead to solid results on the bike for me, we will be able to balance and build on the cycling to ensure a well rounded approach to the rest of the season. It's always a long one and always fun. Lots of challenges this year that I will need to be ready for!