Does Running Improve Cycling?


Apr 10, 2011
I used to run; however, now do almost exclusively cycling, going on about 6,000 for this year. Lately I went for a 3-mile run for some cross training and had so much muscle soreness! If I did 1-2 runs a week, would this improve my cycling performance/fitness?
Yes and no. Some of the same muscles are used including the heart and of course the lung capacity can get better. The knees can take a beating so that could be a negative. I would say that if you are in good shape to run it certainly will have more positives than negatives.
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Thank you. I couldn't believe how sore I was (quads/hamstrings/calves) since I cycle so much. Is like to run some for overall fitness and hopefully to improve the cycling
Even if you use the same muscles they are stressed in different ways and directions.
Running instead of cycling probably won't help much. Running in addition to cycling could be more beneficial. Best option would probably be cycling and more cycling. I've been stagnating on the trainer losing fitness and motivation. I ran the other night for the first time in years and did 2 ~7:30 miles. That was cool and pretty motivating, I may try for 3 days/week running just to burn some calories and keep some fitness and limit the time I'm on the trainer. But I'll still commute daily ride 2-3 days during the week and on weekends.
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Back in the day during deep winter when there was not enough daylight to go cycling training, we'd spend 6 weeks or so doing circuit training to try to keep ourselves fit until we could get more daylight hours for outdoor cycling.

This would involve doing a 5 mile run, indoor circuits of squats/pressups/body core training - followed by an hour of indoor football.

Personally I've always found that cycling benefitted my running, rather than the other way around (ie running benefitting my cycling).
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Originally Posted by rclouviere

I agree. I think the running may help some in cycling; however seems to help overall fitness.
Personally speaking I found running to be an excellent way to maintain body weight during deep winter.
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Don't know.. but I do know that if you bike and don't walk and then go out for a long walk I got really sore after.
After purely cycling for 15years I've been trying to run and swim the last few months. Swimming is fine and can be an almost rest day activity. I'm up to 30min sessions twice a week where I swim 1450m at a constant pace (front crawl, 25m pool, no tumble turns). However running is a complete b*&^h. There is just so much muscle soreness, for a pitiful aerobic effort. My cycling FTP/kg is >5W/kg. Sunday I ran for 10miles in 1:18, 8min miles, this felt very easy aerobically, but my legs hurt all the way, and takes more than 2 days to recover from. Last night I did 20mins at 7.5mins/mile. Even that hurt my legs a fair bit. For a laugh I used a HR monitor and my HR was
My thoughts are that if you are getting muscle soreness, the running is great for your overall fitness. I've been into fitness (weightlifting, cycling, running, and, at times, swimming for triathlons). Now, my primary fitness is cycling and weights. However, I've tried getting back into running a bit and found the same as you, Markster, that I was crazy sore afterward. However, I look at this as a need for me based on that soreness (cycling isn't hitting the legs in all areas). If you keep running, the soreness will go away eventually.

And, cycling is great aerobically, but doesn't build up the bones like a run will.

FYI, I'm the one who posted this thread. I'm going to keep running for the overall fitness, just wasn't sure if it would help me, overall, with cycling.
I found that running helps with my overall strength, especially in my hips. If I go a few months with out running, I can certainly feel a lack of strength in my hips when climbing while cycling.

I also found it easier to develop my VO2 strength while running than cycling. I just think that the running VO2 work is way more straightforward to accomplish on a track.

I think running and cycling compliment each other quite well, but I don't think one replaces each other or that cycling miles convert to running miles in some silly ratio.
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Hey there! Running can definitely help improve overall strength, especially in the hips. It's great for developing VO2 strength too. However, it's important to treat running and cycling as separate activities. They complement each other but don't replace one another. Keep up the good work!

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