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  1. #1
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    Biking -> Running -> Triathlon

    Has anyone else made the transition from biking to running? I'm not a runner by nature but you can't swing a dead cat and not hit a friendly 5K around here. And fun, light hearted cycling events don't seem to exist. We have a time trial series where if you can't maintain a 24mph average you just don't fit in. SO, I've started dabbling in running and a short unofficial tri to get my feet wet (so to speak) 1/4 Mile Swim, 9 Mile Bike, 5K Run.


    Although this isn't specifically a commuter topic, this is the forum I call home and it didn't seen to fit anywhere else either. It's actually a branch from the "Wind" thread
    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    Click Here to branch back---------------^^^
    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Totally off topic: it suddenly seems kind of odd that so few triathaletes hang out on bike forums. There is a generous mix of roadies, MTBers and cross racers on all the cycling sites I hound, but I don`t think I`ve ever heard mention of anything tri related except an occasional suggestion to borrow from a bit of their equipment. They must hang out more with runners.
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    ...Triathletes aren't really cyclists. Seriously, though, it seems to be a very different group. I've met a fair number of people who do triathlons, and a lot of them don't even see it as racing, which is odd to me - they have a massed start and a podium at the end, are they not trying to beat each other?? Anyway, I've met a fair number of people who've done some triathlons, gotten interested in cycling, started competing on bikes, and ditched tris. I don't know if any of my teammates are currently doing tris, even those that used to - it seems that a lot focus on cycling, even if within cycling you might run into them racing mountain bikes in the spring and summer, 'cross bikes in the Fall and winter, and on road-going group rides year-round. My joke is that triathletes don't actually enjoy cycling. Hard-core roadies sometimes have a very odd way that they enjoy cycling, but it takes all kinds. Some triathletes seem to think it's okay to do most of their cycling training on spin bikes or a trainer, and rent a bike for the race. Weird! The transitions are supposed to be exciting because they need to be able to start, stop and turn on bikes there, while it may not come up anywhere on the actual course.

    Supposedly, cycling is really quad-heavy even for those of us not trying to save our legs for the run. So I don't know if there's actually a setup difference there, or if in the context of triathlon, something that's neutral or a slight negative for us just becomes more positive.

    I'll be curious to hear if you turn up some setup differences.
    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    Keeping OT: I'm signing up for a local unofficial tri. I've heard that triathletes set their bikes up to save their legs for running too. I was wondering if the opposite is possible. Can a bike be set up to use similar muscles as running? Since I don't run I'd like to get some of that conditioning on the bike.

    Most of the triathletes I know around here like the biking part best. A few of the do a local group ride and they are at the front of the pack.
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I was thinking about this...

    I think that mountain bikers have a little less imbalanced leg development than strict roadies. But I don't have a good way to explain it.

    I think a more rapid cadence emphasizes the quadriceps less. At slower cadences, more emphasis is on the down stroke - it takes more force to generate the same power, while the trailing leg only needs the same force to unweight the trailing pedal. At higher cadences, I think it's more even - it takes the same force to unweight the trailing pedal, but the front leg doesn't need to exert as much force to get the same power, since the strokes happen more often.

    The bottom of a pedal stroke seems to me to be the most similar part to running. Runners are in a state of dynamic balance and don't bob up and down too much, at least smooth runners. So they don't ask a lot of their quads. I think the verticality of the stroke in pedaling a bicycle is probably a big part of why we use our quads more. Watch a smooth runner, and their feet are either on the ground, for the propulsion part of the step, or just skimming it. When a runner propels himself forward, the only muscle in place to provide power is the hamstring. Well, and calf. The point being, you might get something out of pedaling drills emphasizing the top and bottom parts of the spin.

    I've been trying to pick up running again and doing pretty badly at it. I actually have a relatively okay 5k time, but I really hammer my joints. I've been doing very conservative workouts and some physical therapy to try to improve the strength, stability and alignment of my legs. I think that just like the best training for cycling is cycling, if you want to run, you need to run. Otherwise, even if you can do your running leg fast, you may find yourself really regretting participating afterwards. There's a huge stability element in running that cyclists just don't have to do because of the constraint imposed by using pedals on a crank.
    It is my shins and calves that get clobbered. OK, in the past 3 years I've ridden over 10,000 miles and run about 5, 3.2 of them at once. I'd expect a little leg soreness.

    (after that awkward start to the post let's see if anybody responds)

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    It was by doing 3 mile runs all at once, after not running, that I found out I have some issues with my ankles.

    Here's a training plan that someone without a physical problem (so, not me) can use to work up to running without developing a physical problem.

    Cool Running | The Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan

    People are supposed to develop fair running technique without getting into coaching - just don't try to do something weird either. But, I dunno, maybe it's worth a little more research. I ran in high school and was fine, so I fool myself that I have good technique; actually most people who I think know what they're talking about say it's fine, except for some lateral instability that's probably my problem, and which I'm now working on.

    The point being, your shins and calves are probably fine for running if you ease into it.
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  3. #3
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    I went the other way. Used to run, found that my knees and shins could not take the pounding anymore, took up cycling. Around here, one can always find fun road rides or fun MTB rides posted up on the various group calendars, so if I want an organized event I can usually find one. Sorry I cannot help.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I went from couch to 5K in 1 run - the 5K. I think the key is that I'm going to actually have to run a few time before the next one. The next 5K my friends are trying to get me to do is 5/19. I'm trying to use this forum to motivate me.

  5. #5
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    Shoes. Get good shoes.

    Crappy shoes will cause more problems than they solve. Don't expect to get off sub $100 without a sale.

    That said, I took up cycling because I have a bum knee...so no runs for me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    Shoes. Get good shoes.

    Crappy shoes will cause more problems than they solve. Don't expect to get off sub $100 without a sale.

    That said, I took up cycling because I have a bum knee...so no runs for me.
    +1. Shoes can make huge difference in how you feel after a run! Just like tires are made for different trail conditions so are shoes made for different types of runners. Go to a true runners store and have them watch you while running on a treadmill. They can determine if you run with a pronation, heel impact, etc. and recommend a shoe accordingly. Like wschruba said you're looking at $100+ for shoes but they're worth it.

    I started biking a few years ago and started running late last year. I just did a half marathon last weekend but i still bike too! Running seems to use your calves and hamstrings a lot more than biking so start on flat courses slowly upping your mileage by about 10% each week.
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  7. #7
    Teen Wolf
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    I consider myself both a biker and a runner. I do races in both sports. I've done anything from 5ks to marathons running, and sprint races to endurance races on bikes. Pretty much the whole gamut. I generally just tailor my training to whatever race I'm signed up for next and do more of that specific sport. I love doing both though.

  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Good idea, Bedwards.

    A.S. (from the other thread): "I don't think there's much of a difference between TT and Tri except for the occasional Tri bike that's not UCI-legal. Road racers' TT bikes have a few more rules to comply with."
    ^^Seems to agree with what I found on the Wikipedia entry for "time trial bicycle":

    Differences from triathlon bicycles

    1.a triathlon bicycle will sometimes have a steeper seat tube angle (and thus a more forward saddle position), which places less stress on the hamstring leg muscles, thereby saving strength in the hamstrings for the run which follows the bike portion of the race. Several frames come with a seat post that when installed one way, give the UCI required 5 cm distance from the saddle nose to the center of the bottom bracket and when installed the other way gives a better tri geometry
    2.some triathlon frames do not meet the strict rules governing the design and overall shape of bicycle frames specified by the UCI and adopted by USCF for use in sanctioned event.
    The bike leg of a triathlon may be hilly and long (112 miles in the Ironman), and so the higher gearing, higher weight, and less comfort mentioned above for time trial bikes may not apply to a triathlon bike.

    A.S. : "I've met a fair number of people who do triathlons, and a lot of them don't even see it as racing, which is odd to me - they have a massed start and a podium at the end, are they not trying to beat each other?? "
    Sounds like randoneurs to me. Except that they hang out with other cyclists. They`re just crazy, not antisocial

    Bedwards: " I've heard that triathletes set their bikes up to save their legs for running too. I was wondering if the opposite is possible. Can a bike be set up to use similar muscles as running? Since I don't run I'd like to get some of that conditioning on the bike."
    If you figure it out, I`m sure CB would love to hear it. Get in shape for running without doing anything crazy, like torturing yourself with runs.

    A.S. : " I think that mountain bikers have a little less imbalanced leg development than strict roadies. But I don't have a good way to explain it."
    I would think so too. Even without the technicalities concerning cadences and arcs of power, mtb has riders hanging off the bike every which way, wheelying and hopping, absorbing landings and doing rapid mini-squats on the bumpies. Road riding is pretty much just a question of in the saddle or out of the saddle. Tri and TT, probably even less variation- just spin sesions with wind.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    ... Road riding is pretty much just a question of in the saddle or out of the saddle. Tri and TT, probably even less variation- just spin sesions with wind.
    You haven't seen the roads around here. Plenty of weight transfer and bump management going on.

    I did a mile on the treadmill after my commute in this morning. I did it barefoot since I only had cycling shoe and work shoes. My calves are a little tight but I won't know about the shins until tomorrow.

    I'm always surprised at how little overlap there is between the running and biking. This morning was no exception.

    So far I haven't figured out the magic euphoria people get out of running.

  10. #10
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    The only joy I get out of running is trying to beat my previous PR's. I'll never be fast enough to win a race, but I find pleasure in seeing improvement. I'll be competing in my first full tri in July and the only part that I dread is the run. I did the swim leg with a team 2 years ago and once I finished I wished I would have just signed up to do it all.

    As for training to run, I don't do any long distance (over 5k) training. I just do a lot of intervals, but I usually do one "race distance" training run a week or so before the race just so I can get a feel for how long it will take me and so I can have a time to beat.
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  11. #11
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Tread mills are pretty resilient.

    One of the challenges for me and running, leaving aside the physical problem I'm having with my ankle at the moment, is that I have the aerobic fitness to do too much, too soon. Actually, for years I thought that was my whole challenge; it's only been doing six months of Couch to 5k Week 1 that got me to see a physical therapist. Who ever heard of a twenty-five minute running workout with only eight minutes of actual running?? It feels less pathetic to me to do it in street clothes. I actually marked the week where the workout becomes a majority running, rather than majority walking, workout. It's week 4.

    The point being, if running has been hurting you, be conservative! And, hope that you haven't done something in the past to increase your joint mobility.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    ^^That sounds like about the commitment level I want to put in. Basically do most of my cardio conditioning on the bike and only run enough so I don't hurt myself and go get a little cross training in so I'm not totally lopsided.

  13. #13
    Monkey Junkie
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    I run a fair amount, out of convenience if nothing else. There are hardly any safe/long road cycling routes that I can take from home, and riding trails definitely means shuttling the bike to the trailhead...so running is something I can do easily from my front door. Plenty of 5k+ routes to choose from on side walks and multi use paths. Proper form and good shoes are very important, but I haven't had to spend over $100 to get a quality pair for the mileage I run (10-25K per week). I've got the fitness, but the form is something I'm still working on to prevent injury. My outer knees have bothered me a bit.

    I enjoy riding more (especially trails) but running is a good workout. Riding is much easier on the knees though, so sometimes I'll opt for a short road spin over a run (like today).

  14. #14
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    I signed up for a 5k obstacle course with zombies for fun and got right off the couch and ran 5k and hurt my knee and couldn't walk right for weeks. Months later I was finally able to run again so I've been taking it easy and only doing 1-2 miles at a time.

    It's amazing to me how different biking and running are. Running will never replace biking for me, it's just lacking in excitement, but it's something I'm planning on doing a lot more.

  15. #15
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    Never competed in a triathlon even though I use to run bike and swim everyday right after I got out of high school. Actually was running 10 miler's and half marathons when I was 13. When I was 15 I ran a 10 miler flat course in 52 minutes. 4 weeks later I was suppose to run a half marathon. 2 days after the 10 miler I sprain my ankle real bad. Couldn't walk on it. I didn't run or walk on it until the day of the half marathon. I ran hilly course in 1 hour 32 minutes. I was happy. I got 2nd place for 15 and under.

    Wish I would've stay in running, biking, and swimming. The most I ever did in the same day was swim about a mile, like 15-17 mile run and over 50 mile bike ride.

  16. #16
    weirdo
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    Obree crouch...

    So, what kind of restrictions are placed on bikes and riding positions for tri events? Is it an anything goes proposition? I`m wondering now (lots of wondering ) if anybody uses the Graeme Obree position for that. Is it illegal according to some kind of triathalete regulating body? Not really feasible outside of velodrome conditions? Ganted, the bike would have to be built for it from the ground up, but still... it worked well enough for the UCi to give it the axe after just a few seasons, you`d think it should have some potential if it were legal somewhere.

  17. #17
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    You got me curious, and I went and found the rules, as they apply to most tris in the US.

    Competitive Rules - usatriathlon.org 5

    The saddle of a tri bike has to be above the crank, and within a relatively narrow fore/aft range. There's a minimum height above the ground for the crank. The bike's got to have two wheels, and both must have brakes. The bike can't be too long or too short from the crank to the front hub. No front disc wheels. No fairings.

    But unless the ref thought that Obree's handlebars were unsafe, someone could use them.
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  18. #18
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    Your quote here:
    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    ...I usually ride pretty low, and have no gut to speak of, but I`ve tried riding from time to time sucked way down with my elbows on top of the bars, and it makes me feel like a circus midget stuffed into a little box.
    Seems to describe this position perfectly.
    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    So, what kind of restrictions are placed on bikes and riding positions for tri events? Is it an anything goes proposition? I`m wondering now (lots of wondering ) if anybody uses the Graeme Obree position for that. Is it illegal according to some kind of triathalete regulating body? Not really feasible outside of velodrome conditions? Ganted, the bike would have to be built for it from the ground up, but still... it worked well enough for the UCi to give it the axe after just a few seasons, you`d think it should have some potential if it were legal somewhere.
    I had to look it up - it doesn't even look fun.

    My calves are still a little sore from last week's run but my shins never got that bad. I'm going to call it an improvement. I'll try 1-2 more runs before the 5K on Saturday and call it good. I'll see if I can set an new PR

  19. #19
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    You got me curious, and I went and found the rules, as they apply to most tris in the US.

    Competitive Rules - usatriathlon.org
    Good researching, Andrew. So it looks like their rules are more aero friendly than UCI, but do still have limitations.

    I found the drafting section interresting. Kind of crazy, actually.
    Depending on "Elite" or not (separate rules for elite racers??), the "drafting zone" behind another bike is either 7m or 10m long, and you have to clear it within 15 seconds when passing. Better have good acceleration! Then, when you do clear the other rider, THAT rider has 15 seconds to either move a meter to the side or drop back 7 to 10 meters. Since these are mass start events, do they only race on closed 6-lane roads? Sheesh! The drafting for vehicles is funny too. A vehicle`s "draft zone" extends 15 meters to either side! If you can`t get out of it within the time limit, I guess you`re supposed to shout, zound, or pound on a fender until that happens. It`s hard enough to get a genuine three feet- these guys want 15 meters

    "With respect to a motor vehicle (including authorized race vehicles); it is the athlete’s responsibility to move out of the vehicle’s drafting zone or to continually communicate to the vehicle to move away."

    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    Your quote here:

    Seems to describe this position perfectly.

    I had to look it up - it doesn't even look fun.

    My calves are still a little sore from last week's run but my shins never got that bad. I'm going to call it an improvement. I'll try 1-2 more runs before the 5K on Saturday and call it good. I'll see if I can set an new PR
    Do you mean that riding with my elbows on the bars describes Obree`s position? Not really, if you`re noting the resemblance to his "praying mantis" thing- he did change to a "superman" style after his original method was banned. To my untrained eyes, that looks like pretty much just overextended aerobars. When I (or you, or anybody else with basically standard geometry) do the mantis thing, it`s closer to a pseudo aerobars position. If you were to try coppying that crouch on my bike, your knees would be where you elbows needed to be, so arms either have to stick out in front or off to the sides. Notice how his position is canted way forward. It`s also interresting that he doesn`t seem to even come close to full leg extension.

    No, it doesn`t look like a lot of fun. But I`m pretty uncomfortable just bending down to a normal aerobar position, so maybe it wouldn`t be that much MORE uncomortable? Now wondering: maybe the point in aero bars is to get the arms and elbows out of the flow more than to get head and back lower.

    Good luck on next weekend`s PR : )

  20. #20
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I am in the midst of the bike-to-run transition at the moment. I have always felt like the 'biking muscles' didn't really translate to running (because when I would run I would feel slow and weak compared to how I felt on the bike)...but after getting a little more 'serious' about the running, I'm finding that a lot of the biking endurance, muscle fitness stuff does translate pretty nicely to running. There was a couple weeks of funky pains and weird adjustment to running more regularly, but It's improving now. I was getting a knee pain thing at first, but in the past few weeks it hasn't re-surfaced. I'm assuming that some tendons and ligaments just need to get used to the impact of running...I have the luxury of taking it pretty slow (training for an event in September), so I'm really ramping up the running slowly. I did a 5k last week (my first organized one) and I was 23rd out of 91. Felt pretty good and no pain (other than the muscle stuff that you're supposed to have).

    I have no plans for a tri though... maybe some day.
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  21. #21
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    My wife did the couch to 5k thing, neither of us have ever been much for running...but now are actually enjoying it. Did our first 5k last month and did a 10k for a marathon relay a week ago. Finished my leg in 1:05:43 so I was happy! Enjoy it enough to sign up for a 1/2 marathon before the end of the summer. Around here there are not many tri s but we have some run/paddle/bike races that I signed up to do too! I think it is just the addiction of exercising and pushing myself that is getting me to get these crazy ideas!

  22. #22
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    I hate running. As a soccer player I always had to do too much of it, even more when I made smart comments to the coach. However I do enjoy trail running. There is a bike trail nearby that I hate to ride but love to run. Its about 4 miles long. By doing lots of biking and twice a month trail runs I find that I stay in pretty good shape for either activity. Spurred by a debate on my local mtb forum I decided to see just how good I was at running. One day I got home from work and decided to go for a little run around town. 4 miles into it I still felt okay and decided to see how far I could make it. I made it 9 miles before my feet were killing me but my legs still weren't hurting. It was not fun but I ended up pushing out a half marathon that night. It was 11:30 at night when I finished with a time of two hours twenty something minutes. After that I lost all interest in running. I have no desire to beat my time or compete.

  23. #23
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I've read that it's quite difficult to complete a triathlon without accumulating penalties. So sometimes, people finish a triathlon first only to have to wait while penalties get calculated, to figure out if they won.

    The swim is supposed to fan people out some. But in any sport, there's a near-elite group that tends to be very close in ability. I'd be surprised if that's not true for triathlon too - I wonder how that plays out in the bike leg.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  24. #24
    I AM I AM
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    Last year after having a go at DH I decided to give up biking for a while....well I can't really give up biking I did end up buying a bmx or two to ride around with the kids.

    However between not having a bike the kids seemed to have starter riding their a lot more often after I got rid of mine so it lead to me doing a bit of running to keep up with them on occasion.

    Obviously not having a bike means no exercise apart from pushing a vacuum cleaner and mop around as my daily job, that was when I started entertaining the idea of running, besides in half an hour you can get the eqivalent work out of 1hr + of riding (makes sense if you're time constrained or bored of doing the same loops riding all the time). And besides buying shoes (which I haven't done yet) running doesn't cost as much as biking either!

    The first time I ran to the end of our road (3km gravel road) it just about killed me, could hardly walk back. Now I can do it in about 20 minutes (on a good day). It helps that we got a small energetic kind of dog a few months ago who needs to be walked every day and makes a perfect running companion!

    Combine that with finding a couple of vintage road bikes that I think are worth doing up, and I can certainly see my exercise regime being something like running a couple of times a week and riding once a week.....just doesn't seem to be enough time to go for decent rides these days!! And I thought once the kids were at school I'd be in riding heaven

    Riding provides "me time" and a freedom to go afar, running is also good "me time" and it's a different freedom because you can do it anywhere with not many excuses not to!
    Of course depending on the climate I reckon running is an excellent option during the winter and more riding in the summer when the temperatures are hot and weather mighty fine!



    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    Has anyone else made the transition from biking to running? I'm not a runner by nature but you can't swing a dead cat and not hit a friendly 5K around here. And fun, light hearted cycling events don't seem to exist. We have a time trial series where if you can't maintain a 24mph average you just don't fit in. SO, I've started dabbling in running and a short unofficial tri to get my feet wet (so to speak) 1/4 Mile Swim, 9 Mile Bike, 5K Run.

    Although this isn't specifically a commuter topic, this is the forum I call home and it didn't seen to fit anywhere else either. It's actually a branch from the "Wind" thread

    It is my shins and calves that get clobbered. OK, in the past 3 years I've ridden over 10,000 miles and run about 5, 3.2 of them at once. I'd expect a little leg soreness.

    (after that awkward start to the post let's see if anybody responds)

  25. #25
    sheep in FOX clothing
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    Good advice on the thread about easing into it. Speaking as someone who does lots of long bike rides and has virtually no running routine, it's very, very easy to put on your running shoes and try to go way too far, way too fast, way too soon.

    A bicycle racer who just dives into running is connecting a very big engine to a very weak transmission.

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