Monday, July 11, 2011

Tired in a different way

I tried the bike again this morning. Meaning not just to get me to work but actually for a breathing-hard, sweaty work-out. It was... odd. I was pushing as hard as I could (I think) and managed to cover just over 30 km in an hour on a very flat bicycle path which I think is decent(ish)?? I really don't know. My runner's brain was certainly boggling at seeing the kilometers click by in 2 minutes apiece! But it was odd. It took me awhile to figure out what wasn't sitting well (other than my lady bits which, ouch, anyway, enough about that) finally it hit me. My legs were straining and hurting. I was sweating up a storm. But I wasn't breathing hard. At all. Just to make sure I tried an old pregnancy trick of mine - when I was running pregnant I used to try singing sometimes as I was running to make sure that I was not working too hard. I figured if I could sing out loud, I was keeping the effort reasonable. So I belted out the Hallelujah chorus right there on the bicycle which takes more lung power than any other piece I know how to sing and sure enough not breathing hard. I even did both the alto and soprano parts.

So I am really not sure what that means. I know for a FACT it does not mean that I am SUCH a kick ass cyclist that I don't even breathe hard and I really don't mean to imply that. My guess is either - it's just normal, cycling is more of a muscular work-out than an aerobic work-out or else I just don't have good enough technique to make myself breathe hard. I did do one nasty 700 foot climb and that definitely got me breathing hard but I just could not get that aerobic effect on the flat. I got off the bike after covering about 48 kilometers total. As I was swinging my leg over the seat I was thinking that it was disappointing that I just couldn't get that dead-tired running feeling. Then suddenly I wasn`t thinking that anymore. Instead I was thinking about how hard the sidewalk was when it hit my ass. Yup my legs just GAVE out when I got off the bike. What a strange, strange sensation. They were tired for the rest of the day. So weird... not breathing hard but so muscularly tired.

It`s not the instant gratification of the high heart rate, out-of-breath-working-hard feeling that I have gotten used to with running. But I appreciate the work-out that it is. What else do I appreciate about cycling? I enjoy how much more I get to see just by virtue of the sheer amount of ground I can cover cycling as opposed to the same time spent running. I got to the end of this (formerly) running (now) cycling path that I have never had to the time to get to on foot. I appreciate all the extra protein I got as 500,000 flies flew directly into my cakehole which I eventually learned to shut. It was fun washing all the dead flies off of me that found their way into my sports bra. I appreciate the fine sensation of NOT having my lady bits pulverized with every bump in the road once I got OFF the bike. Hmm.

Dear Foot,
Get well soon. Please.
Rest of Body


  1. I don't know much about bike training and all physiology behind it but I think you are right that it is more muscular than cardiovascular/aerobic workout. I mean you sit on you butt, how hard can that be? :) And you do not swing you arms, just push with your legs. Also people's HR is lower on bike than on a run thus it makes sense that you do not breath as hard as while you run. But Im sure that it gives you a good aerobic workout as well, look at me. If it did not I would be not running as good (oh, what a modest person I am,haha) as I am now.
    You are just very good runner and you are very fit thus you need to go faster on your bike to make you breath harder:)

  2. I love hypothesizing about things I know very little about. So, when cyclists reach the level of being in the Tour de France, they are capable of getting an awesome cardiovascular workout. They CAN get out of breath while cycling. And they have really high VO2 maxes. As high as runners. I think it takes a lot of practice to get to the level of being able to cycle SO hard that you can get a comparable workout to running. One easier way to do it is by standing up and cycling up hills or mountains. I am just like you that I can just sing away on my bike at all times, even pregnant, except when cycling up a steep hill. In summary, and in agreement with mmmonyka, it IS more about muscles when cycling on flat ground, but when climbing hills, cycling resembles running a lot more (ie, it is a big advantage to be thin and in good cardiovascular shape). So maybe stick to Mont Royale? (but I, like you, LOVE the scenic part of cycling, too. So flat ground is also fun.).

  3. :) Nice post on biking....and all it's fantastic benefits! I agree I think it is a muscular thing, I often find I'm aerobically c omfortable but my quads feel "maxed out" - even on flatter ground, esp if it is a weee little rise my eye can't see (at least that is the theory I run with to explain my speed drops). Solution: walk the bike up some big hills...then plonk butt on bike and enjoy the speed!

  4. I just thought of something when I was doing my bike intervals this afternoon (right before my track intervls...).
    You need to do intervals! Long riding won't make you pant and breath hard, because you just won't go fast enough. Therefore, if you want to get your HR up, you could do bike intervals.
    I can give you some tips:)

  5. PS Was kinda hoping you would lead into a ..."well I am actually pregnant" line after that first paragraph ;) - forgot to say that yesterday.

  6. Sounds like you have a high degree of aerobic fitness (from running of course!) but what you are lacking is muscular strength/endurance in a cycling specific way. So what happens when you're on a bike is that your muscles aren't strong enough to work hard enough tax your aerobic system. Therefore you aren't breathing too hard but your legs feel like they are working. Fix that (like mmonkya said) with intervals... though I would recommend big gear intervals (like weight lifting on a bike!) rather than high intensity intervals at first. That develops muscular strength and endurance which means that will be less of a limiter going forward. Muscular strength is a limiter for almost all new cyclists.

  7. Listen to Michelle, she is good. Look what she did to me!:)

  8. thanks everyone for the input. I agree intervals sounds like way to go. hopefully they will build some strength and also allow me to get more of a work-out in in a shorter time. michelle - i definitely agree that i am muscularly limited. we'll see what some big gear intervals and some more hill climbing does for that.