Spin your way to faster running
By Sarah Gwynn, Head of Communications at Digme Fitness
Women’s Running magazine recently featured us in their feature on the best cross-training exercises to help running, so it seems the perfect time to look at how a regular indoor cycling class can help you crush your run PBs.
Many of you are in training for spring races, from a 5km Parkrun to the bucket-list London Marathon in April to even an ultra running event. In Richmond, several of the Digme Fitness team are gearing up for the Salomon Richmond Half Marathon on 19th March, and our founder, Caoimhe, is preparing for the Copenhagen Marathon in May, so running is never far from conversation.
One thing we all agree on is that doing a spin class once or twice a week has had enormous benefits.
Personally, doing one or two classes a week for the past six months has helped me build a strong base level of aerobic fitness, so when I started picking up the running after Christmas, I felt great – probably better than ever, in fact.
I’m running much quicker and much more easily than exactly this time last year, when I was training for the Hampton Court Half Marathon. I don’t want to jinx it, but I definitely feel like a PB is in reach, and working out at Digme is definitely the main reason.
The main benefits of regular indoor cycling we runners at Digme have found are:
You’ll notice rapid improvements in your aerobic capacity, which translates to running at your standard pace feeling easier. So, for example, if a good pace for you is five minutes per kilometre, this will feel much easier to sustain after a few weeks of indoor cycling. The effort level to stay at that rate will seem far lower. So when it comes to race day, a quicker pace will be far more achievable and sustainable.
The numbers in your class summary emails will confirm your increased strength! It takes a lot of power to turn the pedals in a high gear, and the benefit of having clipped-in shoes is that you work your leg muscles evenly. Your hamstrings and glutes come more into play being connected to the bike; it means you’re able to pull up on the pedal stroke as well as push down. Stronger glutes and hamstrings equal more efficient, faster running, and you’ll notice that you can go further before your legs start to tire. The increased strength will also make you less susceptible to niggly running injuries. You’ll breeze up hills, too!
You’ll be lighter
Top runners will watch their diets carefully when they’re in training to make sure they’re adequately fuelled without putting on any extra weight, because extra weight will slow you down. Spinning regularly will help you lose weight, making it easier to run. Picture running with a 5kg sand bag on your back. It’s going to be harder running any distance than if you weren’t holding it, right?
In a spin class, you often have to just grit your teeth and work through a tough section, convincing your legs that they can keep going for a bit longer. And they usually can! The motivation from the instructor always help, but within yourself you’ll develop a newfound mental toughness. This translates to running, and you’ll find that internal voice keeping you going is much louder.
So come along and see how a few weeks of classes can have a massive impact on your running!