Writing and running in Austin, TX.
Sometimes, when we’re new at things, it’s easy to fantasize about how much better we’ll get over time. How much we’ll learn, how all the things that seem so mystifying now will become so obvious. Sometimes I even think it’s cute when a new runner comes into the store and asks my advice on the basics of running:
Newbie: “How much should I run in my first month?”
Chris the Wise: “Start with two-three times a week and build when that gets comfortable.”
Newbie: “How long should my runs be?”
Chris the Wise: “Oh, just go for 20-30 minutes to start, and build slowly. The key is to stop before it gets so hard that you dread going out the next time!”
Newbie: “Which shoe is the best one?”
Chris the Wise: “The shoe that you’ll actually run in.”
Newbie: “What should I eat before a run?”
Chris the Wise: “Anything that won’t send you running to the sh*tter. Probably simple carbs.”
So yes, I like to think that after 13 or so years of running, I’ve figured this game out. Or at least, I know the basics:
And I know damn well that I shouldn’t add in new forms of exercise before key workouts. Like, say…a long run.
But…somehow at Rogue we’ve developed this horrible tradition of “employee bonding” activities. (Wait, it gets worse.)
Such activities are always on Fridays. Which means they are therefore ALWAYS the day before my long run – which incidentally is also ALWAYS the one day I take off from working out. I really really really should be taking it easy on Fridays.
But then I got myself stuck in the spin class from hell.
Okay, the class itself really wasn’t bad. It was at a super-trendy studio near the university and featured deafening music and black-lights. Unfortunately, it also included hand weights, lots of “sprints”, instructions I couldn’t hear over the music, and endless crunches over handlebars that refused to move close enough to my saddle to be considered “in reach”.
I know, I know, “Why would you do something so stupid, Chris? You haven’t been to a spin class in 6 months. Surely you know reintroducing a foreign activity the day before a long run is a terrible idea.
Yeah, I know. But the thing is, the spin class was my fault.
You see, the last two employee bonding experiences have featured “easy runs”. Which wouldn’t be that big a deal except that everyone else’s “easy” pace is my 5K race pace. After the elite racing team joined us for our last “team run”, I basically threw a temper tantrum and refused to ever attend another “fun run” with my coworkers. I couldn’t help but feel like the spin class alternative was an attempt to throw me a bone. After all, no matter how slow you pedal, you’re not going to get dropped on a stationary bicycle. (Right? =/ )
And no, I didn’t get dropped. I got my ass kicked. Also my biceps, triceps, and back muscles. I could do serious harm to the person who decided holding deceptively light weights straight out in front of you for 5 effing minutes was a good idea!!!
When I showed up for Saturday’s run, turning to look at anyone would cause a spasm of my spinal cord. I had to perfect the Exorcist-style 180-degree head twist, which, believe me, does not win you new friends.
By then end of the run, I was shuffling up to the store in my best Quasimodo impression.
I spent the rest of Saturday lying as flat as possible, trying not to aggravate any muscle from the neck down.
So here it is, my PSA. Brought to you by 13 years and 1 spin class’ worth of experience.
DON’T DO SPIN THE DAY BEFORE A LONG RUN.