Cycling Runner


I’m a recreational cyclist who likes to run, too. I cycle 44km to work each weekday. On the weekends I do one or two long rides. I would like to incorporate two or three runs a week to improve my overall fitness, operate at ‘higher revs’ when cycling and be fit enough to run 10km-plus on a trail fairly comfortably.

Some mornings my legs feel a bit sore after I’ve run the previous evening, so I ‘rest’ by only cycling and skipping the next run. This inconsistency kills my routine and I sometimes skip a week of running. Ideally, I’d like to ride to work during the week, run two days a week, fit in a cycling interval session during the week and do a long ride and a long run over the weekend. I’m looking for a sustainable routine, to ensure that I keep at it and improve all round. – JULIAN VAN NIEKERK

You are combining commuting and training, which makes taking a day off or a shorter ride difficult. With your weekday commute of 44km and longer rides on the weekend, you are already doing high weekly cycling mileage. Therefore, I suggest that you do only one long ride on the weekend, on a Sunday, and a medium-length run at a good pace on a Saturday. This will keep you ‘fresh’ for the run and ensure you do not overdo the cycling kilometres.

You can do another one or two runs during the week, preferably on a Tuesday and/or Thursday. Perhaps you can alternate one weekday run in one week with two the next week. Keep the commute rides directly before and after the runs at a very easy pace, spinning the legs rather than pushing higher gears. All runs should be fairly short, as you are getting plenty of endurance from the riding. As you do not have a weekly complete rest day, I would suggest taking one weekend per month off to rest, with no training at all.

Modern Athlete Expert
Derick has 41 years’ experience as a runner, cyclist and triathlete. He is the current 2010 SA Triathlon Champ in the Olympic distance for the age group 55-59 years.


Question 2
Help me Finish Comrades!
My goal is to finish Comrades this year. As I live in Pietermaritzburg, the number of marathons in our area is a bit limited. In the run-up to Comrades, would it be okay to run one marathon and three ultras, including Loskop? – LAUREN CORCORAN, PIETERMARITZBURG

Your plan is fine, but it is essential to include some additional slow club runs of around 40km as the core of your Comrades training programme. They are extremely beneficial because they’re slow and you stop frequently. Races are great, but no matter how hard we try, runners will always go a bit harder in races, even when we set out to use them as training runs.

A word of caution regarding Loskop: while it is a magnificent race, which I’ve done a number of times, it is always uncomfortably close to Comrades, and you must run it very easily. It’s a beautiful but leg-damaging course, so be careful. Lastly, you need to add one long run to your programme. This is normally a 64km club run. Good luck and I hope you have a fantastic Comrades.

Modern Athlete Expert
Running coach with 34 years’ experience, and has run 37 consecutive Comrades Marathons. His PBs include 1:17 (21.1km), 2:39:30 (42.2km) and 6:29:22 (Comrades).


Burning Foot
I have been running with Asics since 2007. I use to run in Cumulus and then changed to Nimbus. Every time I buy a new pair of running shoes my left foot burns and I was told to ‘run my shoes in’ or put in my old inner soles. I did this and it seemed to work for a while, but last year I injured my right calf and was told by my physio that my arch is ‘falling’ to the inside. I got orthotics, but the ball of my foot still burns and my calf is getting sore again. I am considering changing shoes, but they’re expensive and I don’t want to make a mistake.

When changing your footwear it is important to get your biomechanics assessed by a podiatrist. If your arches are collapsing, an anti-pronation running shoe would possibly be more effective. You are currently wearing neutral shoes. You need to take the width and size of your feet into account, as shoes that are too big and too wide cause friction and thus burning feet. .Also, good socks are just as important as good shoes.

If you are still experiencing burning feet after changing your footwear, go back to your podiatrist, who may adjust the innersole by adding a cushion under the balls of your feet or by adding a metatarsal pad.

Modern Athlete Expert
Podiatrist in private practice at Dunvegan Medical Centre in Edenvale, Johannesburg.