Why Runners Should Start Cycling

Most runners are familiar with the incredible high that comes from completing a great run. They work out with that high in mind, pushing themselves to greater heights. Cycling, at first, might seem as though it just doesn’t offer the same benefits as running but it has a number of advantages that will help you up your running game and make you feel better than ever.

The Benefits of Cycling for runners

Cycling is a great active recovery activity. Recovery days aren’t just for lounging around on the couch. When you get moving, you ease soreness and make it easier to get back to your usual capability, not to mention burning more calories. For those days when the idea of going for even a short run is torture, cycling is a great alternative that will allow you to get moving without working the same muscles or putting forth the same type of effort you do on your long run days.

Cycling is also a lower-impact activity, quite a relief for runners who put more stress on their bodies during their workouts.

Cycling builds complementary muscles to running. Obviously, you’re going to build your running muscles faster when you go running. Engaging in complementary activities like cycling, however, can improve your strength, stamina, and balance as you develop those complementary muscles.

Stay active during injury recovery. Because cycling can target different muscles than running and because you’re not necessarily placing the same stress on your joints, you may find that you’re able to keep cycling even during recovery from an injury that prevents you from running.

The more active you’re able to stay, the easier it will be to jump in and get your running routine back to normal once you’ve recovered. Cycling is also a great lower-impact exercise as you start to age or experience recurring problems that make your normal running routine more difficult.

Increase your cardio endurance. One of the biggest challenges of taking your run to the next level is increasing your cardio endurance. If you find yourself huffing and puffing before you’ve even taken three steps up a big hill, cycling is a great way to increase your cardio endurance. That will allow you to increase your run speed, run longer distances, and enjoy your run more than ever.

Decrease the frequency of injuries. Running can quickly become addictive, especially for those who do it regularly. Unfortunately, running every day can quickly mount the stress on your body, which leads to more frequent injuries. If you want to increase your exercise or even keep it consistent while reducing the risk of injuries, cycling is a great activity that will allow you to get moving while still keeping your body safe.

The transition from running to cycling isn’t as difficult as you think. With some basic gear–a bike and a helmet–you can easily create workouts that will help build your running endurance, increase your cardio workouts for the week, and give you a better idea of just what your body is able to do. Some tips for getting started:

  • Consider monitoring your heart rate during your early cycling workouts to help improve your ability to judge how hard you’re working.
  • Try cycling workouts that mimic your running plans: continue for the same duration, not the same distance.
  • Get your bike fitted properly. A good bike shop will be able to ensure that your bike is the right fit for you.
  • Start slow: remember that cycling uses different muscles, so it may take time for you to get as comfortable on your bike as you are on your feet.

Whether you’re a long-time runner who is simply looking to change it up, you’re recovering from an injury, or you’d just like to add an extra challenge to your workout routine, cycling is a great way to accomplish it. Cross-training can help increase your endurance, ramp up your cardio, and build your muscles faster. Give it a try and discover just how much your joints will thank you.

Sources:

http://running.competitor.com/2014/08/training/bike-your-way-to-better-running_76393

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sms.12104/abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26479024

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4338213/