Back in the day, I would have told you that I was a runner, not a bicyclist. Not that I like to categorize myself like that anyway, but my point is that the stasia of old used to define herself much more by her running than her biking.
Now, even though I bike way more than I run, I still enjoy running, and still get crazy if I go for too long without it. But running fitness is a fickle thing: hard to gain, easily lost. I mean, I can slog through a jog whenever, but to feel like I’m actually fit and fast and light when I run, for that amazing feeling where running is almost effortless, when it’s truly fun, it takes a lot of work. And maintenance.
So I was psyched at the end of my recent bike trip, having not run for several weeks, when I tied on my shoes and was amazingly still able to run in a way that actually felt like running. It turns out that biking is good for running. I mean, it didn’t improve my running fitness (I don’t think:), but it certainly maintained it.
Granted, this was biking all day, every day, up and down mountain passes, with a trailer. If I’d simply been leisure-ishly commuting to work (even with the zoo hill, which is, after all, not that substantial), I doubt I would have had the same results. But if I’m actually really going after it with a bike, it’s good to know that I could take a break from running and not lose all the hard work it took me to get there.