I ran a lot until I tore the ACL in my right knee. That got me into cycling in 2008. I can count on one hand the number of times I have run since then. A company sports day in about 2014 was the last time I ran fast. That was hard work, and it was only 200 metres.
COVID-19 restrictions in Malaysia prompted my latest attempts at running. Jogging, to be more accurate. The first Movement Control Order in March 2020 banned all outdoor activities. So I walked and jogged up and down the multi-storey car park where I live.
Restrictions were eased in May 2020, and I was back on my bicycle. The only limits were how far away from home I could ride and with how many people in a group. So no jogging since then.
New COVID-19 case counts have risen dramatically since Q4 2020.
In response, the government declared a total lockdown from 1st June 2021. To the chagrin of many cyclists, jogging outdoors is allowed during this full lockdown, but cycling is not. It is not surprising that the government is not allowing cycling. Many riders congregated and rode in large groups, contravening the restrictions in place before the full lockdown.
So out with the cycling shoes.
And on with the running shoes.
There is a convenient 600 metre loop around where I live.
Having covered 12km over the past two days, mostly walking, all I can say is “ouch.” The only muscles that do not hurt as I write are the ones labelled in green.
Which made me wonder why. The same muscles used to pedal are used to walk and jog.
Some internet research enlightened me. Both running and cycling use the gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves to generate power. There is some difference in the degree of muscle recruitment and activation between cycling and running. Though not enough to account for the soreness I feel.
Cycling is regularly touted as an ideal form of exercise because it is a no-impact activity. Running is a high-impact sport. It turns out that is the main reason why I am now sore.
While cycling, my body weight is supported by the bicycle saddle. When running, my joints and muscles work much harder to support my body weight. The striding motion of running puts more stress on the gluteals, quadriceps and hamstrings than does the circular motion of pedalling. The small muscles like the hip flexors, extensor hallucis longus, and tibialis anterior have to work harder to stabilise the body and maintain balance, especially on uneven ground.
The only leg muscles that don’t hurt are my gastrocnemius and soleus. I suspect they, too, would start to ache if I sprinted rather than jogged. My knees would probably start to complain also.
This full lockdown runs until 14th June. It may be extended beyond that date. So it is walking and jogging for the foreseeable future. I hope my legs get used to the new stresses and strains. I don’t want to be “ouching” for much longer.