Cycling to recovery: Part 3

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Read Cycling to recovery: Part 1 and Part 2.

Spinning classes are an acquired taste. As good as they are for cross-training, it takes a certain something to fix yourself to a bike and plough away while going absolutely nowhere… and after two months of switching my five times weekly runs for spin, I was losing that something.

Running boredom is something I find fairly easy to sort – mix up the route, get some new music, job done. But somehow I’d ended up heading to the spin studio alone every morning and wheeling through the same songs and climbs as always, like some sort of sweaty Groundhog Day with an EDM soundtrack. Not being able to run regularly is bad enough without your replacement exercise getting dull too.

In such situations, a kickstart for that waning mojo is in order. It’s easy to lose motivation when you’re out of the running loop. For me, the answer was Psycle - based near Oxford Street, their studio is kitted out with top-of-the-range bikes and a slick lighting system that would make your high school disco wither with shame. “At Psycle, it’s all about the music,” class instructor Tameka said. “With everyone moving at the same time and beat, it looks and feels incredible. It’s so motivating knowing that you’re riding as a unit.”

Somewhere between marathon training and sacking off classes in favour of spinning alone, I’d forgotten the joy of exercising with other people – or at all, really. But with sharp hip hop beats, added upper bodywork and a packed studio, Psycle was the polar opposite to lonely solo sessions.

Plus, when running was back on the menu, so was the Psycle Run Club: a 7am 45-minute class followed by a 5-6.5K recovery run. “The idea came as I wanted to help train people for the Nike Women’s 10K in July. After the success of the race, we decided to stick with it and make it a regular feature,” said Tameka, who’s also a Nike trainer. “Running complements a Psycle session perfectly. You’re mentally ready, your endorphins have you buzzing and all those key muscle groups have been fired up.”

With solid knowledge of spinning technique to stay in good running condition plus a fun new class to keep me on my toes, I was well on track back to proper race training.

Staying motivated through injury

Keep positive while rehabilitating with these tips.

  • Find a cross-training activity that replicates what you love about running and accommodates your injury. If you like exercising outside, try cycling your usual running route. If you enjoy intense activities like speedwork, try including HIIT in your routine.
  • Remember that every time you have a setback you’re not necessarily back to square one. You may need to ease off on certain activities for a bit or focus more on physio exercises, but you’re still heading in the right direction.
  • If you’re struggling to get yourself out to exercise, try roping a friend along. It’s a great excuse to catch up as well as get that all-important endorphin boost.
  • As long as you keep up cross-training, remember that you won’t lose all your fitness. It might be tough getting back into running when the time comes, but you won’t be starting from scratch.