Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Give New Things a Spin

I’m a runner at heart. Always been a runner. It’s what I most love to do.

I love the sweaty, exhausted feeling after a good run. I love pounding the pavement. I love that I get to spend time with the best running mates—my pups, George and Sophie.

I love participating in races, too (OK … maybe “love” is too strong. I participate in races). About five years ago, I lined up at our town’s annual summer festival road race. Next to me was Beth, a former high school track teammate. And let me tell you, Beth was rocking a sports bra and running shorts, razor sharp abs on display. She looked like 120 pounds of raw twisted steel.

And then there I was. Ya know, the girl who likes to eat four Hostess cupcakes before bed each night. (Side note: I’ve been working on that habit lately, and I’m happy to report I’ve been Hostess-free for about six months!)

I guess it goes without saying that Beth whipped me in that race by about 30 seconds. Not too big a margin … but enough to make me want to know her secrets. She told me about a book she’d read: Run Less, Run Faster. It encourages runners to take just three strategic runs per week, then cross-train two.

I’d been feeling frustrated with my running times, so I ordered the book and read it. I immediately thought, “I need to do this.” But my mindset was being stubborn. I thought I absolutely HAVE TO run five days and get in a minimum of 30 miles per week. That had been my practice for 15 years. Why break the cycle now?

And for the next five years, I stuck to my same old routine (and had some running struggles). But that book and its philosophy lingered at the back of my mind. Then my friend, Darla, started nagging me about joining her for a morning spin class. My project manager, Danielle, had been telling me for the last two years that her spin class was the highlight of her week (though at least part of that might have to do with her crush on the instructor!).

Still, I was resistant. But I eventually gave in and attended a 5:15 AM spin class. That was six months ago … and I am in love! I loved spinning so much, that I finally followed the book’s advice and dropped to three running days per week. And I noticed a difference in the way my body felt; it felt rested and recovered.

Then I heard my spin class peeps talking about how much they were looking forward to spring so they could get out on their road bikes. They told me if I enjoyed spin class this much, I’d absolutely love biking outside.

I was intrigued. So when my biker friend, Bob, (and EVERYONE needs a friend named “Biker Bob” in their life) told me he knew of a used bike—a Giant, originally $3500, but selling used for $1500—I decided that would make a perfect Mother’s Day gift. (I am NOT a low-maintenance Mother’s Day gift recipient!) So, my husband bought me the bike along with a helmet, shoes, and riding clips, and I was off!

On Easter, I took my first road bike ride, and it felt transcendent. I loved riding with a group of people. I loved experiencing the scenery of my beautiful county. I loved the way my body felt.

But what I loved the most is that I’d given up my resistance. I stepped out of my comfort zone, tried something new, and it has paid off—I can’t tell you how good it feels to cross-train my body and not rely solely on running.

May is National Bike Month, so if you’re thinking about giving a two-wheeler (stationary or otherwise) a spin, this would be a perfect time to go for it. But it’s always a great time to try ANYTHING you’ve been resisting, anything that puts you outside your comfort zone, anything that could make a real impact on your life. So give it a spin!