Just Keep Swimming! or Cycling!

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I mentioned that I bruised my foot pretty badly in kickboxing class last week.

Well, a week later and it still hurts a lot, and I’m still limping while I walk. Sometimes I wish I healed faster than the average person, but alas, I do not.

I started to become a little discouraged, because I’m so anxious that this will set my running back a week or two in my training, and that when I do hit the road again, I will not be where I was and have much longer to go.

During this time away from the road, I’ve been continuing my weight training and ab exercises, and I’ve also been using the stationary bike at the gym. It doesn’t put as much pressure on my foot, and I can wear flip flops or whatever shoes don’t hurt the bruise.  I figured that while it didn’t challenge my endurance as much as running did, it’s still cardio at least. After doing some research, I’ve found that cycling is actually some of the best cross-training that runners can do.

Dimity McCowell Davis, author of Run Like a Mother, says “Not only it is easy on your joints, but focused riding can improve your cardiovascular capacity and make you a stronger runner. Because of a stress fracture in my heel, I trained for eight weeks on a bike for a marathon. I did endless intervals, quad-busting hill climbs, and long, steady rides. When my heel was healed, my legs and lungs were fresh and ready to go.”

Another article I came across stated “Cyclists tend to work opposing muscles — like the quadriceps and hamstrings — differently than they do when on foot. Indeed, recreational athletes who only run can end up with muscular imbalances, according to Bill Pierce, the director of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training in Greenville, S.C.”

Jeff Horowitz, certified running and triathlon coach says “Cycling primarily works the quadriceps, a big muscle group that running doesn’t effectively work. Insufficient strength in the quads can allow the knees to buckle on landing during the foot-plant phase. This is the primary cause for the up-and-down bobbing motion seen in some runners, which can lead to patella tendinitis and other knee problems. Cycling can help with that.
Cycling also works the outer hips and gluteus medius muscles, which are crucial for running. These muscles help keep the hips from swaying outward on the landing phase. When this happens, the iliotibial band—a thick strip of connective tissue on the outside of the leg—is pulled tight, which can result in knee and hip pain. Again, cycling can help with this.”

There are much more articles I found along with these. But I was glad to have found them. I thought, even though I’m not running, at least I am still strengthening my legs, and the biggest challenge that keeps me from running further is my leg strength. Things will happen, I may get injured again down the road (knowing my luck, this is likely), but there is always something I can do, and I can’t let it get me down.

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