KILDARE RUNNING LIFE: We have lots to learn from our lycra-clad cycling friends

Barry Kehoe gives his views

Barry Kehoe


Barry Kehoe


KILDARE RUNNING LIFE: We have lots to learn from our lycra-clad cycling friends

File photo

Cyclists don’t know this and probably don’t care, but I don’t really like them. I admire their ability to ride 100 miles at the speed of light and make it seem effortless.

Maybe I’m just jealous, but let’s be honest, cyclists only cycle because they can’t run! Everyone knows they’re just failed runners.

I’m not envious of the ridiculous tan lines. Yes, hours upon hours spent spinning the pedals around the country leads to a well cultivated tan, even in Irish weather, but a cycling tan doesn’t transfer well to the real world. They’re nearly as bad as golfers with their white foreheads.

We all know cyclists are lazy, using the Sunday cycle as an excuse to breeze between posh coffee shops and drink flat whites and eat lemon drizzle cake.

On a Sunday, it’s easy to know where the best coffee is being served in towns and villages around Ireland. Look for the tell-tale convoy of bicycles lined up outside the café that’s offering the frothiest cappuccinos and the chunkiest of cakes.

Cyclists always have the best, brightest and tightest gear. Us runners love to make fun of cyclists as they wear their padded shorts and power up the Wicklow mountains thinking they’re racing in the Tour de France.

But rather than ridicule, them we may benefit from joining them in their figure-hugging garb for the occasional ride.

Cycling can benefit runners in both recovery and training. As counterintuitive as it may seem the best way to recover from a leg stiffening session or long run is to get up and get moving, so an easy bike ride between skinny lattes is perfect.

Many runners only turn to cycling after injury as a way to keep sane while rehabbing a stress fracture or joint pain — it’s often a reactive consequence.

The best and most common way to become a better runner is to run more. However, once you have a fitness base, trying new sports and different movements may protect you from injury and improve your performance.

By using your current skills in a different way and gaining new skills you can become a better overall athlete.

When we try a new skill, like riding a bike, there is an awkwardness to our actions until we become familiar with it.

Eventually, with practice, cycling becomes second nature again — we may even chance taking one hand off the handle bars. Novelty keeps the brain active and sharp, and when we use our muscles in a different way our nervous system is engaged.

Change of pace

Non repetitive activity is the key to maintaining good health of both body and mind. So it may be time to mount the bike and see how the world looks while sitting down and watching it fly by at a different pace.

Mine’s a cappuccino!

Local physio and Newbridge AC member Barry Kehoe offers advice to runners of all levels. See