People who know me, know very well that I like cycling. It started a good few years ago and continues to this day. However, one must admit openly that this love has evolved all the time and has changed dramatically. I started with small trips around my hometown, and during the peak period, I went on a full-day trip of over 300 km. For a long time, the bike is not my only hobby. It is also running, which I take more and more time and I want to take more time in the future. Where does it come from and why I liked running so much? This post is about it.
The beginnings were difficult
First of all, I didn’t start running few months ago. I started much earlier, about two, three years ago, but had a lot of breaks. Sometimes because of my laziness, sometimes because I preferred bike riding (for example in the summer, when is hot, I really like cycling), sometimes because of issues and injuries: I know very well what runner’s knee is. Injuries discouraged me. Now I can say: it was… necessary. Really. In comparison to cycling, injuries in running are like signals from your body to your mind: “you do something wrong!”. I made a lot of things wrong: ran too much, tried to run too fast, and also used orthopedic insoles in my shoes. They caused, my movements were unnatural and in effect, I strained wrong joints.
There is first advantage of running – it teaches me. It teaches me, that I should listen to my body signals, observe all reactions and make required changes if there are any injuries. Because of running, I started going to yoga and now I practice its twice a week: yoga showed me, that I have very tense body and I should stretch much more. Yoga also showed me, that I should not sit all day, even if I have to work with computer. In effect, I work standing (my desk allows me to control height) and often run instead of cycling. I love cycling, but it isn’t good option for my body, for my health – sitting few hours in a day, then sitting on the bike… It’s very bad option and I should avoid it. Otherwise, I will lose my health and then, no hobby will matter.
It also seems to me that running is harder for injuries than for cycling. Sure, if we do it only calmly, then they should rather not happen to us, but we still can not exclude them. In last few years I have a lot of injuries during cycling, some of them were quite serious – in one case, I could not make weight training for six months. Last time I went over the bars – of course, it wasn’t planned – and now my back hurts. It’s not fitness, they are a lot of issues: some of them because of my bravado, but most of them because cycling is more dangerous, we use separate “machine” (bike) and are depend of it. In running, risk is smaller, we don’t use such equipment, we move at lower speeds. It convinces me: I can train, I can do that in safety way, instead of wasting time to heal injuries.
It allows me to improve myself
Running is also great choice for me, because its good time to improve myself and gain new knowledge or just relax, meditate and think about many other life aspects. Sometimes I like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks during running: for fun, entertainment, or with “solid” information about such topic like finances. I really don’t like to do many things in the same way – I think it doesn’t work, we are not multitasking and can really focus on only one thing – but running is small exception. During long, but slower running, I don’t have to focus on peace, on any intervals and listening to something is not discomfort for me then. I often run longer than I planned, because… audiobook proved to be better and drawn me. It also helps me to fight with winder, it’s like a wall that protects me from some external irritations. Finally, I always can stop music/audiobook/podcast and just run.
All that is super important for my life, psychological balance. Usually I run without any college, just alone, without any gadgets and additions. Without interruptions, without notifications. It’s time for me, it’s time for my mind, to think about life, about important decisions, family, work, new ideas. During day, I’m too busy for that because of duties, work, a lot of other things to do. When I run alone, it’s great time for all of them. Sometimes it’s just a meditation. I don’t try to think, I just observe whole environment and my thoughts. Listen to wind, birds, forest – it’s like “charring my internal cells”.
It’s more efficient
I prefer to do as many things as possible with some purpose, intention. Sure, for many people it means a lack of slack and spontaneity, but in my case, it gives great satisfaction. The same is with physical activity: I know that with my work with computer is necessary, I want to take care of myself and my body, I know that because of activity I feel better, meet many new interesting people and change my life. Running is for me not only an end in itself, but also a lot of changes. According to heart rate monitor, it allows me to burn more calories than cycling. How many? About an hour of cycling is 500 kcal. The same time running is about 750 kcal. It’s big difference and if I have limited time for workouts (because I want a lot of other things),
Of course, such workout is more demanding for body, but now it doesn’t matter for me – I’m in good shape, not a beginner in running or cycling, and can doing hard workouts without problems. Other topic are intervals, or any workouts with solid plan: it’s easier to do them during running than on cycling. Why? Because during cycling, you sometimes go up, sometimes down, workout load is changing all the time. Without power meter it’s difficult to train efficiently on bike – but it’s high price gadget, not important if you just want to be healthy. Running: you just change peace, you don’t need gadgets, workout can be shorter, but still more intensive. In that situation, running wins and I prefer it: it allows me to better use my time.
I like simple things and minimalism because they don’t complicate my everyday life: I can avoid unnecessary duties and make only really important things. I like that very much in running – it’s so simple! Just shoes, simple sportswear, and we are ready to run. Yes, we can use some gadgets like clock with hearth rate, we can take our phone, headphones etc. but it isn’t necessary. It doesn’t require costs; you can start run today without any expenses. What about cycling? You need bike, you don’t need special wear, but it’s preferred and much comfortable that casual clothes. You still need helmet, bottle, some tools and time, time to maintenance not only your body, but also your bike. In longer perspective, you have to exchange some parts (cassettes, chain etc.). Yes, all of them are expenses for your hobby, so they should don’t matter but it’s comparison and running wins here.
This simplicity also causes, that you can run in many places without any issues. Last year I was in the USA — I took my running shoes and I ran near Lake Michigan. Together with my fiancée we were on Tenerife, on holidays. Also, I took my shoes and was able to run in new area. I didn’t need any big plans, any big expenses for that, because everything is so simple. Now I take them all the time: we drive to our families, I have to take a business trip, my running shoes are with me, because I know, that probably I will be able to run, and I will take that opportunity. What about weather? It isn’t problem in running: it can rain, but who cares? Only ice on the streets is what I prefer to avoid, but winters are very light last years in my area, so, it isn’t real problem. If I get wet, it isn’t problem: only shoes and my clothes, no bike to clean up and it’s very nice.
Running is a part of my life
I plan to write much shorter post about running, but probably, it wasn’t possible. This topic is important and so exciting: it changes my life, changes me and teaches a lot. It makes me more persistent and I can work harder to make my life better — tell the truth, life is like running a marathon, right? We pass next checkpoints and can give up, but we don’t want to do this… What can I say — if you don’t run, just try. Calmly, safely, it should be nice, of source effort, but not like “I’m close to die”. You don’t have to running in sport way, you don’t have to start in any competitions, just do it for yourself, your mind, your body, your life.