Some runners like to poke fun at us cyclists, with our padded shorts and funny looking shoes. Yes, we spend hours out on roads pretending we’re in the Tour De France, but cycling is one of the best forms of cardio for all athletes. If you both run and ride, then you already know that cycling is key to making your running game a whole lot stronger. Here are just some of the ways cycling makes you a stronger runner.
How Cycling Makes You a Stronger Runner
Many runners will turn to cycling after an injury. Stress fractures and joint pain are common to running, and cycling offers a great low-impact solution to keep you moving. It’s also a great means of active recovery. After a long run, it’s tough to find the motivation to get back out the next day for some active recovery. Hopping on your bike will help increase your blood flow, flush out lactate acids, and get your muscles loosened up and ready to run again.
Strengthen Complimentary Muscles
It’s easy to get into a routine with a single activity. If you find yourself exclusively running, you are strengthening certain muscles within a specific range of motion, while others are left underdeveloped. It’s easy to hit a plateau with your training, as doing the same thing every day will eventually stop yielding results. This is why cross training within any sport is so important. When you start cycling, you’ll be using those same muscles, but in a different and new way. You’ll find your legs and core will thank you, and yes, will make you a faster and more efficient runner.
Cadence is a huge part of cycling, but the same idea applies to running. Both cycling and running require a consistent and steady motion, cadence for cyclists and leg turnover for runners. The more you ride and work on having a cadence of 90-100 rpm, the more your legs will be able to mirror that quick turnover while your running.
Give Your Joints a Break
You can work on your running mechanics all you want, but the truth of it is, running will inevitably put a pounding on your body. Especially for marathon and ultra runners, it can become hard to maintain high milage without injury. Cycling can provide you the workout you need, without the impact. If you don’t won’t to replace a whole run with a ride, try switching half way through. It can be a great way to train running on tired legs without putting your ankles, knees, and hips through a beating first.
If you’re not convinced, give it a try and experience the benefits for yourself. Both your body and your mind will thank you. For more on starting cycling, check out our complete guide for beginners. The added benefit to adding cycling to your running training is– you only have to start swimming and you can tackle a triathlon!