I hope you “enjoyed” your Tuesday. If it’s been a while since you did a workout like that, you might just want to take it easy today, and go for a nice, relaxing Recovery Ride.
If you’re feeling sprightly, how about…
A wee bit of running
I repeat, a wee bit.
Unless you’ve been running a lot already this season, don’t head out the door today and lay down a blazing fast 5k.
That would be a really bad idea.
I can’t tell you how many times over the years I started out my cyclocross training with a way too fast, way too long run that completely toasted my legs and made me super damn sore… and accomplished precious little else.
Sore legs alone aren’t a sign that you’re training well.
Doing a workout that hurts you and makes it impossible to train effectively for a few days isn’t very useful.
So don’t do that to yourself, OK?
I’ve seen a lot of athletes put themselves on the couch for a whole week – even weeks – by blowing up various body parts in a misguided attempt to channel a year’s worth of not-running anxiety into one single workout.
Don’t be that guy/gal.
Take. It. Slow.
Some words about running for cross, generally:
With certain regional exceptions, the way folks are designing cross races these days you might not need to train your running at all to be really, really damn fast, even at the top level of the sport.
For the most part, It’s just not that important anymore.
If you’re in really good bike form, you can fake your way through the miniscule amount of off-the-bike awkwardness that is required on most of today’s courses.
In fact, for most folks, I don’t recommend doing any run-specific training during the season.
None. Zip. Nada.
99% of what goes on in a Cyclocross race has nothing to do with running at all, so why would you waste precious training time on that remaining 1%?
You shouldn’t, with one important caveat: if you run so damn poorly that you throw your entire darn race away the second your feet hit the ground, you need to work on that.
Let’s expand on that a bit.
If you roll into the cross season without having done any running at all, there’s a pretty good chance that the first time you need to hoof it in a race, things aren’t going to go so well.
So, before you need to run in a race, you should probably have run at least a little bit in practice.
What this means is that while I’m not all that big on run training in-season, I’m definitely a fan of running in the pre-season.
You don’t need to become an awesome runner, but if you can get just enough running miles in your legs that you don’t suffer a giant shock to the system when you launch off the bike in those early races, you may have purchased yourself a nice little advantage.
I’m always down with things that give us a nice little advantage.
So, we’re going to do some running the next couple/few weeks.
A little bit of running.
Well, for right now, you need to stop running before your legs get sore.
If you haven’t done any running since last Cross season, that’s going to be an absurdly short amount of time.
We’re talking 10, maybe even five minutes.
A five minute run. A ten minute run. You stop before you hurt yourself, and if you start to feel sore knees/legs/whatever, you’re starting to hurt yourself.
When that happens, you stop running, and you walk home. Ideally you stop before that happens.
Put your running shoes on, walk out the door, and go for a run, stopping before you get sore.
Don’t run hard, don’t run fast, just run.
And stop when it’s smart to do so.
Which is probably going to be way before you think it should be.
Keep it under control. Keep it ridiculously short. We’re going to build up the running time slowly, and while we’ll do some running that feels more like an actual workout soon, for now the sole idea is to get something that’s a little bit like running into your legs without messing yourself up.
Goals for today, in order of importance:
#1: Don’t hurt yourself.
#2: Get a little bit of running-like activity into your legs.
– if you don’t have good running shoes, and if you’re going to train your running, go get some. Buy them at a specialty running store that will spend time with you to make sure you get the right ones for your feet and for your (probably terrible) running mechanics. Don’t listen to your CultFit friends who tell you to get some kind of barefoot footglove monstrosity to run in. Go to a good running store, tell them exactly what you’re doing, and take their advice on what to buy. It’ll be worth it.
– Try to run on grass or on trails if you can, while you can. Cross races generally don’t have you running on pavement, and there isn’t much reason to train on a surface that’s just going to increase the pounding on your body if you don’t need to.
– 99.9% of you are going to ignore almost everything you just read, except for the “Go Run” part. Have some Ibuprofen and a hot bath waiting for your return from your ill-advised marathon.
– If you’ve already got some running legs going on, you can absolutely do something a little bit more ambitious today. Perhaps something like this.
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