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Why You Should Try Cycling as a Runner

By Jiri Kaloc

Are you a passionate runner? Do you think that cycling is just not your thing? There are several reasons why you should maybe rethink that. Cycling doesn’t have to become a big thing in your life but introducing it into your training plan can do wonders.

It improves your aerobic capacity

Cycling, compared to running, is a low-impact activity which means it requires less recovery time. If you use it as a cross-training sport, you can save your joints a lot of unnecessary stress. Thanks to a bicycle, you can add a lot more aerobic endurance training without ruining your legs.

How to do it? Do a low to mid-intensity rides lasting anywhere between 3 to 4 hours couple of times a month.

It builds strength

Running makes your muscles lean and efficient but it’s not the best tool for making you strong. If you plateau as a seasoned runner, strength is often what’s missing. Cycling makes it very easy to work on leg strength.

How to do it? Whenever you’re riding a bike uphill, try shifting to a big gear and do an all-out sprint. Repeat these sprints 5 – 10 times with a 1-minute rest in between till you’re at the top of the hill.

It prevents injuries

Running uses hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves as the main sources of power, cycling, on the other hand, relies on quad and glute strength. If you combine these two sports you will correct imbalances and be stronger overall which is the best strategy for injury prevention.

How to do it? Any type of cycling at least once a week will do the job. You can try commuting on a bike to work once a week.

It helps you recover

Recovery doesn’t have to mean sitting on a couch icing your legs. Cycling can do wonders for you as an active form of recovery. It increases blood flow to your calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes, flushing out lactic acid and kick-starting muscle repair. It’s also easy on the joints and serves as a mild form of stretching.

How to do it? A low to mid-intensity bike ride as short as 20 minutes will be enough for active recovery.

It’s great for commuting

Of course, you’re probably running to work most days. But having a bicycle ready as an option for those days when you need to go light on your legs is great. Also, those who have a longer commute will do better on a bike than running. Basically, do anything it takes to avoid taking a car to work!