Running with Cycling

Will cycling help my running?

13 messages
31/07/2012 at 16:07

I want to become a better, faster runner. Will cycling on the bike for a steady but reasonably hard pace for 30mins once a week contribute?

I run the 5k, if that means anything. 

31/07/2012 at 16:29

I'm a novice at both, but having been doing Spin classes and riding my new bike, I can definitely confirm that my leg strength has improved over recent weeks, which has in turn improved my running..... to the point that I can actually now do it, as opposed to before

31/07/2012 at 16:42

If you skip running sessions for bike, you'll probably be worse off. If you add bike as an extra, it will probably help. So, if you run 30 mpw, add it a bit of bike ... don't drop down to 20 mpw to compensate.

31/07/2012 at 17:38

If it is as an addition, yes, an hour plus would be better. You can also use the triathlete's cheat, which is to bike then run. It fools the body into thinking it has run for longer, because the heart, lungs and muscles are still working, but without the impact.

What Dan says is not necessarily true - it will still work you cardivascularly, and importantly it also strengthens the opposite quad muscles to those used in running, so can help to balance out any weakness ther - that is why I initially took up cycling.

One thing to watch is that if you start using cleats and bike shoes is that you don't start turning your knees in, especially whilst running, and a few months after it is worth getting you gait checked to ensure that you haven't started pronating, which is common for runners who take up cycling with cleats. 

01/08/2012 at 06:29

Not sure that a brick session is a "cheat". For me the most important thing about a brick session is to get my legs used to the change-over between disciplines so I don't shuffle along like I'm 90 at the start of a triathlon run, not to make my body think its run further than it has.

As others have said, cycling in addition to running may help (provided you still get enough rest & recovery), however I know when I am doing multi-sport training, the improvements in each discipline come along more slowly. Elite runners do other training such as core work etc. but spend the vast majority of their training running, and I've not heard many of them talk about cycling. There must be a reason.

I would say, cycling would improve your all round fitness, I'm not sure it will help the running massively though.

01/08/2012 at 06:38

Agree with Dr Dan. Use it in addition to your running or as part of a recovery from injury.

01/08/2012 at 07:26
Biking can help running since it builds muscle, running alone will hurt your cycling since it strips muscle. But like people say, you need to do the, as well, not instead of. (unless like birkmyre said its for injury recovery etc)
01/08/2012 at 09:49

@exiled claret - Not exactly a "brick session" : A brick session you do both hard and, yes, practice the changeover. A cheat session, is e.g. you're supposed to do a 2 hour run, so you do 90min cycle in same HRZ as long run pace, then 30 min run at long run pace. It is used by runners and triathletes who are injury prone, and want to train for e.g. marathons. I use both bricks and these sessions very differently in my training for half marathon.

01/08/2012 at 10:22

I've found that cycling really had a impact on running.  After a long bike ride running a couple of days later is much harder than normal.

I thought I would adapt, but it's been months and still an issue.

I don't intend to give up/reduce either, but running is much harder work that it was before I started cycling.

01/08/2012 at 11:31

I doubt (but I wouldn't really know to be honest!) whether elite runners would do much cycling at all, simply because they're at the stage of being at about 99% of their potential aerobic fitness.  But even at a fairly high level I know runners (i.e. a 2:19 marathon runner at my club) who will use cycling as a complementary activity, possibly in the place of an additional easy run. 

IMO if you're a long way from your potential cardiovascular fitness there's definitely a place for cycling in addition to whatever running you're doing, with the caveats mentioned above about getting adequate rest/recovery... that's an art in itself; as you get fitter on the bike a given mileage/intensity will take less time to recover from.

01/08/2012 at 18:07

Thanks for the replies!

Reading through everything im going to do a 30 minute workout on the bike once a week, in addition to my running, gives my joints a rest to and at the end of the day it will improve my cardio and overall leg power.


23/07/2013 at 09:28

Ive just started adding spinning to my running and swimming (with a view to doing a triathlon at some point). Early impression is that the recovery part of the pedla cycle is activating hammies and glutes more.

I get the sense of being able to lengthen running stride without overstriding. I havent pushed the pace up but start to find existing paces a bit easier - possibly due to better running economy as a result. We'll see.

23/07/2013 at 09:34

Dancing in Spikes, what you said about watching your gait perhaps answers a different wear pattern I've noticed on my trainers since I started biking. Hmm, need to look further into that one.

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