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Should cyclist incorporate running training?

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Adam Yates runs Barcelona marathon in under three hours

More and more cyclists are realising that running is actually good for them and this has been supported by some great cycling champions such as Wout van Aert, who runs regularly even in the middle of the cycling season, sometimes with his baby for company. It’s worth noting that even if running does not initially help the cyclist go faster, it does provide an alternative training stimuli to keep you motivated and avoid the trap of stagnation that a lot of amateur cyclists experience when they train right through winter solely on the bike.

Why run?

There's no rest periods when you run so the cardiovascular system gets a great workout. In addition, lung capacity is maintains and, (following some specific workouts), can even increase.

For those that are time crunched it’s a way to train at any time and in any weather condition. All of us can find half an hour a day for a quick run around the block. Actually the choice of environment can vary from trail, road, bridal way or park. Trail running improves balance, especially if we try to run on a bumpy surface. This helps strengthen those ligaments that get neglected on the bike.

Practical advice

My advice would be to start with a run walk if you are a novice to running. 5 on 5 off, turn around and repeat for 20 minutes total. Chances are you will experience DOMs at first, give it time and you'll soon adapt. So start with small amounts and increase gradually. 20 minutes for the first route, 25 for the second, 30 for the third, and so on.

Just as on the bike, when running it’s important to vary your workouts both to make everything more enjoyable mentally, and to see the improvements. Do not completely abandon the bike. Cycling gives great benefits in post-running recovery, so the ideal combination would be to alternate a run with an (easy) bike ride by jumping on your smart trainer. Factor in recovery. Just as a cool-down is recommended after a demanding bicycle ride, in running, resting is a must after a great effort,

Remember stretching. It is very important in cycling, but it is even more so in running: suitable stretches should be done regularly.

Running is cost efficient (cost of your trainers) and time efficient exercise, allowing you to get fit and keep fit without giving up time with children, parents and friends. It might be an activity that you can do as a family.

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