I love my spin class. And so do a lot of other people. Starting in January (new year folks) it has been full every week. I had to start going 45 minutes early just to get a bike. It got to be that we started the class early every week because we were full. Yesterday was the first time that it hasn't been completely full. But you better believe that I'll still be there early next week just in case. Part of the popularity is because of our awesome instructor!
She is a personal trainer and has been one of my best friends for 12 years or so. She's the only reason I've stayed at that gym. She has good music and knows how to motivate you to work your hardest. I've gone into the class thinking that I'd take it easy. Yeah, that never happens. You just can't help it!
Aren't those purple walls the best! You should see the lime green paint in the rest of the gym. Insert sarcasm here. I pretty much just sit and stare at her arms the whole time and wish I was good enough to eat like her so that I look like her.
You wouldn't think that spin class would relate to running much, but I have found that it has helped me in unsuspecting ways.
The first thing it's done for me is teach me that I don't have to stay with the beat of the music. I used to have a real issue with running to the beat. So I would try to start with a medium tempo progressing to a faster tempo towards the end of the playlist. But because of spinning and having to pick up my cadence during parts of a song and no longer follow the beat, I have translated that over to my running. When I find that I am running to the beat and maybe have slowed down, I tell myself to pick up the cadence and I can.
Spinning has also taught me to have a smooth motion in my feet. It's easy to pound down on the pedals to get yourself going but that makes for a jarring ride that's not good for the joints. It's better to have a smooth 3 to 9 position with the pedals constantly pushing through with the quads, pulling with the hamstrings and calves. Even while standing it's better to try and isolate and make it smooth than to pound it out bouncing up and down or even swaying back and forth. Feet are in a straight position, no pointing of the toes. So how does this translate to running? I try to picture my feet while I'm running as being clipped in to that bike. No heel striking or pointing of the toes. Just landing and lifting up and repeating. I think about my motion being smooth, soft and light and kind of looking like the roadrunner with that circular motion in the legs, all the while his upper body is standing still. Kind of makes you want to let out a "meep, meep" huh. Maybe I should try it. It might make me faster!
Spinning has taught me that engaging your abs helps keep everything aligned. Bending at the waist (like a Barbie), keeping a flat back, and engaging the core is the proper form while riding. Now obviously while running you're not going to be bending your waist, but engaging the core is something that helps support your lower back and consequently everything that is connected below that. This is something that I really need to work on.
Since I decided that I wasn't going to do speed work this time around, I am using my spin class as modified speed work. I really pound it out while I am there and those intervals really get me going. And I am dripping wet by the time I am done!
What is your favorite cross training activity?
Do you think it helps with your running?