The last few months have seen me return to running in a small way, only 30 minutes worth every other day. I haven't been a serious runner since my early twenties, and even then I did more cycling than running. Most of the older cyclists I know have been runners at some point. We were chatting about the differences between these two activities at yesterday's VO morning meeting. I thought I'd share a few thoughts and solicit yours.
I've long considered moving slowly through a natural environment to be among the more pleasant things in life. Getting a good workout is an added bonus. Cycling, hiking, running, cross-country skiing, kayaking, alpine climbing, and sailing are all activities I've practiced and loved. But only two of these are really casual activities. Hopping on your bike or tying on your running shoes takes but a moment; the others require more preparation. So here's how I see it, at least from the perspective of getting some pleasant exercise:
- You can see a lot since you're moving fairly slowly; you notice more details.
- On the downside, if you live in a city and want to run on a trail you might have to drive or bike to get to a trail.
- Running is more time efficient. You can get a good workout in 30 minutes (at least I can).
- It feels warmer in cold weather. On the other hand, you get pretty sweaty, even in cold weather.
- I'd rather run than ride in the rain; maybe that's just me. That goes double for snow.
- After dark, it's easier to take a short run in town, on a sidewalk.
- It's simpler to go running when you travel: pack just running shoes and shorts.
- Lots of low key local races are available if you like to compete.
- Running is safer; at least it feels that way to me. But I seem to get more minor injuries like strains and blisters.
- It's easier to stop to take a photo or chat with someone you meet. And you don't need to lock up your bike if you wander off.
- You can see more since you cover more ground. You can usually cycle out of town and enjoy the countryside.
- Cycling is just plain more fun. You go faster and you can rest while riding. And you can use your cycling skills which is rewarding.
- It's easier to pick up groceries or commute on a bike, which is still good exercise.
- It feels cooler on those hot and humid summer days; there's always a breeze.
- It takes longer to get a good workout. I feel like two hours on the bike equals about 30 minutes running. No science here, just how tired I feel afterwards.
- Taking your bike on business trips is a pain, and expensive if you fly.
- You can easily go touring. I feel this is a huge advantage. There are people who do running tours, but they are super fit and probably nuts.
- Cycling, at least for me, has been almost injury free, other than a few crashes.