Cycling has been one of the best ways for people to stay fit, have some thrill & please themselves with some recreation. But, what we often undermine is the beneficial radius of cycling which covers not just normal people or people in the sport of biking, but also in other sports. As a matter of fact, cycling can help runners cover longer distance. This is the reason more runners are taking up cycling into their training routines of late.
Can Cycling Help Runners Cover Long Distances?
It is a matter of question for many if cycling can help runners in any way. As a matter of fact, cycling can be a best friend for the runners out there. It is indeed being seen as the newest entrant in the training regime for runners with benefits that cover both physical & mental well being.
Cycling can benefit runners for both recovery & training. It aids in recovery by flushing the legs out. A super-easy spin has no impact & you have moving blood through the muscles. On the opposite side of the coin, cycling can also be used for building high-end aerobic training doing intervals. It even helps in recovery of muscles & tissues from the fatigue of intense training. Even if you’re recovering from injury, you can have cycling to keep your body moving if not those intense gymming sessions. The ways only keep increasing in which cycling can benefit you as a runner. Read ahead to discover more.
How Does Cycling Help In Running?
Let’s come straight to the point without wasting much time because we are up against some of the runners who won’t easily buy what we are saying. The ways in which cycling helps running are as follows:
- Performance Gain
Cross training means choosing an alternative sport or activity to train to improve performance in another sport. Cycling helps improve running performance by shaping up fitness, stamina & endurance without damaging your leg muscles – which is clearly a better way out than many other running exercises as they strain the hips & legs a lot. It’s a great low impact cardiovascular workout too & it helps to accomplish more exercise goals with less stress on the body.
- Strength in Complementary Muscles
Whenever we run, we build certain sets of muscles to perform certain functions. Yes, you’ll be getting stronger & feel like Captain America towards the first few days. But if the training is exclusively running & focussed upon getting you to get your running better, you’ll reach the peak very soon where there will be no more results & things will come to a standstill.
Cycling uses different sets of muscles than running like quads, glutes & core muscles. These muscles complement those used for running thereby helping us in becoming stronger runners. The efficiency will also improve which will help us run faster as well as longer.
- Aiding Recovery
After a long run, quite naturally the legs will be sore & the thought of going out the next day will not psych your mind. Going for A Low to medium intensity bike ride after a long run will help the legs to recover. Since it’s low impact, the joints will not be stressed.
Cycling increases blood flow to the calves, quads, glutes & hamstrings, flushing out lactic acid & helping them repair. It also reduce muscle & joint stiffness.
- Aerobic Training
Aerobic training through bikes for runners comes in a wide variety. Interval workouts push the body hard, forcing it to adapt quickly & grow stronger. Alternatively, going for a longer, steady ride to build endurance is also good. Cycling in this manner improves the overall cardiovascular fitness without damaging the joints.
- Exercising with an injury
Injury for any sportsperson is a real blow. For runners, taking a time-out from running can be necessary to allow the body to heal. Cycling helps the body to stay in shape until the rider is ready to run again. Research shows that by maintaining some activity during injury, once can reduce the recovery period.
- Optimise Fat Burning
It’s a known fact that cycling decreases overall body fat. Although running burns more calories than cycling over the same time period, fewer calories will be burning out when the body turns into an efficient runner’s body. Fat burning occurs when the heart is working at around 65-75% of its maximum rate. Cycling is a route to this heart rate.
- Finding Something New
Cycling can refresh the mind of runners by giving them an immersive outdoor.experience. Whether it is mountain biking downhill or climbing ridges to see amazing sea views, mountain biking is a fun thing that also helps the muscles to work.
Even if you’re a road lover, cycling gives a good workout while refreshing the mind. After all, to conquer the world, you’ll need to see it.
- Pedalling on a Holiday
Cycling on a holiday, without the daily distractions is a great way to get into some rediscovery & personal time.
- Leg Turnover Boost
Pedaling a bike requires smooth cadence. Cadence is a term in running too. The world’s best marathoners have a leg turnover rate of about 180 steps per minute. ChiRunning is a form of runner’s training which focuses on efficiency & injury prevention. The cadence on the bike can transfer to running. Starting to achieve more & more cadence on easy gears & trying to achieve them over higher gears after developing consistency at each step will help the cause greatly.
- Super Cheers by Ankles, Knees & Hips
Runners of longer races such as marathons make there body go through the extreme. Because of this, it’s hard for some to maintain high mileage without injury – which is a bad risk for any runner. Cycling gives a good workout without the impact of a run. It doesn’t stress the ankles, knees & hips as much as running causes them.
Tips For A Beginning
If you’re a runner who is now convinced for an upgrade in the workout regime by adding cycling to it, you might want to brush up on a few things before making a move. Take note of these points below:
- Having a mountain bike, a road bike, a hybrid, or a triathlon bike doesn’t matter. As long you have a bike that fits, you’re good to go.
- Make sure to have a helmet, glasses, bike shorts (padded in the crotch & butt to save men from ED, yes, we’re serious) along with a seat bag with a spare tube, multi-tool & an inflation device.
- Cycling gloves, chamois cream, bike shoes & pedals which clip together, a trainer & a bike computer come as optional additions.
- Knowing the small but important stuff like changing tyre, pumping it, etc.
- Obeying the rules of the road is equally necessary. Going for routes where there are dedicated cycle trails is very much important. If it’s a road biking trip that you chose, stop at every stop sign & red light. Be a good, law-abiding citizen.
From the discussion, it is clear that cycling can actually help you achieve a lot as a runner in terms of endurance, strength & distance from injuries. It is also a way which is a bit different from the usual routine & hence can get your brain acting better. In fact, the brain should be kept healthy too & not just the muscles & joints when it comes to running. A healthy body & brain will ensure a healthy spirit which will be constructive for your body’s benefit as a sportsperson. It helps shed off that burden from the special muscles & tissues which get stressed & face the wrath of hard training for runners. It allows the body to heal better in case of injuries too & even keep physical activity going at low levels when things go injurious.
The best thing is that more & more cyclists are giving in to the fun of biking as they explore various options of cross-training. Since biking has varieties like road, mountain, snow, sand, etc biking, it gives a lot of choices when it comes to going for one. All of them have their own levels of fun & thus, it can pacify different minds & spirits.
So if you are a runner & want to explore fitness as runner for long races, choose cycling. However, don’t just rely on cycling but add some of gym workouts too, as cycling will help you get stronger, but, gym will add to this strength & endurance ensuring you with better performance.