Cycling Has Improved My Running



Uawadall

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Jun 14, 2015
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I've been a recreational runner for 6-7 years. I run only for fun and am not the strongest sprinter. My consistent pace with no sprints is usually a 7:40 mile per hour pace on mostly flat terrain. This summer I've gotten into cycling(4 months or so ago) and haven't ran in 3 months. I went for a run and was pleasantly surprised. My legs felt fresh and my posture was much better than it usually is. My upper legs felt like they were supporting my body a lot. In terms of time, I finished 4.5 miles in 35:40 a 7:51 pace.The difference? This was a very hilly route and my first mile was a 7:00 minute even mile at a steady pace...I think if I throw in some sprint intervals, I can get my single mile time to a 6:20-6:30.

Has cycling improved your running or vice versa?
 
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gavinfree

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Feb 19, 2015
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I'm not surprised at all that you've seen gains in running that are at least partially due to cycling. Cycling provides a full-body workout, and your legs are going to benefit in strength and endurance. Since you were already a recreational runner, then that simply translated into speed and endurance benefits for running. I mean, that's not a scientific answer, but it's true. :p
 

LinB

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Sep 8, 2015
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Uawadall said:
I've been a recreational runner for 6-7 years. I run only for fun and am not the strongest sprinter. My consistent pace with no sprints is usually a 7:40 mile per hour pace on mostly flat terrain. This summer I've gotten into cycling(4 months or so ago) and haven't ran in 3 months. I went for a run and was pleasantly surprised. My legs felt fresh and my posture was much better than it usually is. My upper legs felt like they were supporting my body a lot. In terms of time, I finished 4.5 miles in 35:40 a 7:51 pace.The difference? This was a very hilly route and my first mile was a 7:00 minute even mile at a steady pace...I think if I throw in some sprint intervals, I can get my single mile time to a 6:20-6:30.

Has cycling improved your running or vice versa?
I can relate. That's expected. Yes, your upper leg and thigh area will be much stronger and firmer to bear the weight of your body. Cycling is the cause of that. If you want to be a sprinter however, cycling doesn't help much with that because it doesn't allow your leg a full stretched exercise.
 

bykster

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Nov 11, 2015
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I haven't noticed this, although I have never tried cycling as a part of the workout. I do run and sometimes I do ride my bike to the path where I run, but no, i have not noticed any significant changes.
 

pwarbi

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Mar 18, 2015
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Both running and cycling are both cardio exercise so I'm not surprised either that they will both compliment each other in that respect.

I think all exercises will help and anytime the body is pushed or trained will have some impact on a person's overall fitness.
 

Zhen25

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Nov 17, 2015
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Remember cycling strengthens your legs and the pedaling movements are like running. Plus when cycling you have to maintain a certain posture so you don't become weary too fast. So I am not surprised at all.
 

cheetahmk7

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Sep 16, 2010
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From what I have witnessed a club level A-grade rider who hasn't been running will finish in the top 4 to 8% of the field in a fun run. They will be massively behind the top 1% of runners.
 

oportosanto

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Oct 28, 2015
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Cycling does a lot for our health and physical condition and obviously it makes our legs stronger. Thousands of miles in my legs have given me strong legs and I can do better in other sports too.
 

goldenmaine

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Feb 16, 2015
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Both activities target the legs and muscle groups close to each other, so it is beneficial to cross train in both cycling and running to increase performance. Triathletes do this all the time and their legs are strong and can take a lot. It's good that you have improved and have experienced first hand how your cross training has had significant changes to your overall performance and work output.
 

roadtrip

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Oct 19, 2015
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Uawadall said:
Your observations are a big revelation to me. I used to think that since cycling and running are both cardio workouts there is a tendency to over exert yourself if you're into both. I recently took up recreational running as my regular exercise. During rest days I usually do some strengthening workouts and that's it. I would reconsider cycling though to improve my running performance. Will let you know the results. Thanks for your post!
 

warhawkp4

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Jan 21, 2016
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Cycling has really improved my running. When I don't ride as much during the week as I like to, my run will start to suffer. I won't be able to hold my normal pace as I like to (which is 3:10 per km for a 5k). When I don't ride my pace will drop and I'll add around 15-25 seconds on my 5k. I think it has to do with aerobic capacity and since you can ride a lot longer than you can run, it helps your overall fitness and allows you to hold a bit more than you normally would.
 

pwarbi

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There's no question that one form of exercise will always help another, and that especially the case were running and cycling are concerned as they both concentrate on the same areas and are both cardiovascular routines.
 

oportosanto

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Oct 28, 2015
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So true, so true. When we are more fit we perform better in our main sport. So that is why many people go to the gym, not exactly because they love it, but just to be more fit.
 

pwarbi

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It's also important to work on other parts of your body also though and not just your legs. Upper body workouts can also strengthen your back and shoulder muscles and they are also important when it comes to cycling.
 

Uawadall

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Jun 14, 2015
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Cycling has really improved my running. When I don't ride as much during the week as I like to, my run will start to suffer. I won't be able to hold my normal pace as I like to (which is 3:10 per km for a 5k). When I don't ride my pace will drop and I'll add around 15-25 seconds on my 5k. I think it has to do with aerobic capacity and since you can ride a lot longer than you can run, it helps your overall fitness and allows you to hold a bit more than you normally would.

You hit the nail on the head! Run too much and you'll end up injured, not enough and you won't increase your aerobic capacity further. With cycling cross training, you can build a strong endurance base without risking over use injuries. I think you're point is even more important than the muscular strength cycling gives you.