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For the folks who run, how much do you find it helps your cycling?

I don't have time to cycle more than once in the week so am trying to fit in a run on Wednesday and Friday and a big cycle at the weekend, and am hoping that it will really help my cycling, especially hills.


  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,479
    x2 per week, 5-10 kms per run, ~5min/km
    I don't think it has any impact on my cycling ability, but I do 2-3 turbo sessions per week and 1-2 outdoor rides of 2-5 hours.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 24,621
    Gave me shin splints, so I'm out.
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  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,975
    Half an hour of running feels like a bit of effort whereas half an hour of cycling is barely warmed up for me so I find it good when you're short of time.
    The only way I find it helps with cycling is that it helps keep your weight in check.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,730
    I tend to commute twice a week plus an evening off road session on bike to keep my fitness up, however it doesn't help me lose excess weight. I tend to run twice a wk working around shifts and night rides. Used to do parkrun every wkend, not recently obviously. I have a couple of 5k circuits plus some longer ones. By mixing it up a bit it helps me keep / lose weight in check. Definitely worth doing if time to do it. Don't overdo it though as shin splints etc not nice. Pre covid I also did the odd duathlon, half marathon as part of late midlife targets.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • johngtijohngti Posts: 2,483
    Did 20 minutes on Saturday. Ruined my hips. Not even fast at ~10 minutes per mile. Not in a rush to do it again!
  • That's a walk, isn't it

    I am trying to keep a regime of 6-7k twice a week at about 4.30/5min / km as I only get to ride once a month or so.

    It's great to keep the heart and lungs in check but I don't think it works the same leg muscles nor help with endurance.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,431
    edited October 2020
    Running is a great way to boost your fitness, burn calories and help keep your weight down. I find it complements cycling well. It’s pretty easy to fit in two runs a week alongside your weekend cycle rides. It’s certainly become hugely popular since Covid hit.

    The main problem with running is it’s much harder on your body. Injuries and aching muscles are a fact of life for me as a competitive road and fell runner. It’s just something I have to manage as I get older.

    Injuries seem to be a particular issue with cyclists who already have good cardiovascular systems and suddenly take up running. Because they are fit, they go off too fast and for too long, and develop typical beginners’ over-use symptoms like shin splints. This then puts them off doing running ever again. Which is a shame. The trick is to build up the pace and distance of your runs really gradually to allow your body to adapt. Couch to 5K is a good system, as one of my cycling friends has discovered over the past six months or so. She’s now really quick and would likely get a top three place in her age group if races were allowed. I don’t think running will make you a much faster cyclist but it will indirectly help by boosting your general health and fitness.
  • lpd2lpd2 Posts: 10
    Last year I made a sustained effort at taking up running, because I thought it would be easier to get a run in when I'm busy or away. I went through the same cycle three times, of slowly building up distance then getting injured and going back to square one. It was completely infuriating! Anyway I'm glad I tried but from now on it is 100% cycling for me, from which I've never had any non-crash injury.
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,569
    10mins a mile is about the best I can manage over a half marathon distance, 8mins a mile for a Parkrun (remember those). As others have said, it's a good workout when short of time. It contributes to overall fitness. I don't do it to make me a better cyclist, I cycle (and run and walk) to make me a fitter person.

    If cycling performance is important, it will at least keep your cardio-vascular system running strong if you cycle less (or slower) in the winter. It won't (as far as I know) help with cycling muscle groups, technique or on-bike endurance.
  • johngtijohngti Posts: 2,483

    That's a walk, isn't it

    I am trying to keep a regime of 6-7k twice a week at about 4.30/5min / km as I only get to ride once a month or so.

    It's great to keep the heart and lungs in check but I don't think it works the same leg muscles nor help with endurance.

    I missed this reply! Funny but after this, me and my eldest decided to do the couch to 5k programme. Started in November, did the last one last Friday. We can manage 9.50ish per mile now and do three runs per week of about 3.5 miles. That’s going to do us I think. Enough to keep the CV system going and I’m sure we’ll get a bit faster.

    10 minute miles a walk!! 😞
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 836
    I think you will find it helpful if you're once a week. I usually commute on the bike 2 or 3 days a week, usually around an hour each way, on and off road, and then a longer ride at the weekend. I sometimes take up running at this time of year, a half hour run is a proper workout and it takes 5 minutes to get your running gear on, whereas a half hour ride can take as long in preparation and you're just getting warmed up. But I always want to improve, push the half hour to an hour, and then it does affect my cycling. My legs would feel constantly tired, I'd want to go for a ride but think no, just need another day to recover.
  • Everyone I know who picked up running, became slower at cycling...
    left the forum March 2023
  • johngtijohngti Posts: 2,483

    Everyone I know who picked up running, became slower at cycling...

    Hope that’s not a general principle. I may have to learn how to do a track stand if it is...
  • I used to enjoy running but ever since I've taken up cycling, I've not enjoyed it at all.

    Running is a very high impact workout and my ankles and joints are sore for a day or two after. It did help loosen up the quads when I first riding seriously but that was all negated by the soreness and feeling like the old man that I now am. When I stick to cycling only, there's no pains and soreness. Lungs feel better than they have ever done before and I recover more quickly than I ever did with running.

    I was swimming a lot prior to lockdown and cycling has been a lifesaver where I can go out every other day without any issues of sore muscles and legs that I get when running. As much as I used to love running/sprinting, I don't think I'd ever do it on a regular basis. If I do, I'll run only on grass and I'm lucky that I have space to do that near my home.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 8,686
    Yes I came to cycling through being an injured runner and frustration not being able to get that exercise fix.

    Been a couple of decades now but I do occasionally try and restart running - always tell myself I'm going to just go short and slow - always end up pushing myself and getting injured. I think if I could stick to 9-10 minute miling and up to 10k a couple of times a week I could maybe build condition to progress but I don't have the patience. Last decent restart I tore a calf seeing if I could still do a sub 6 minute mile - I was nearly there when it popped too!
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  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,730
    I'm happy doing either TBH. Any injuries I've suffered tend to be from biking and have affected ability to run as well.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 4,957
    One benefit I don’t think anyone has mentioned is bone density, especially for those of us who are almost certainly past half way with our present body. Weight-bearing exercise stimulates bone growth and cycling isn’t great for this.
    I started occasional running again in the first lockdown after a 10+ year hiatus. I was horrified at at how uncomfortable I found even a 2km run.

    Couch to 5k was good (I pushed fast though first bit) and now do 1 or 2 runs a week. For me splashing out on some decent shoes from a proper running store was a turning point.They have a magic machine that analyses your gait and tells you that you need the most expensive pair in the shop, but they really did make it a much more enjoyable activity. I’m also incapable of buying stuff and not using it, so added motivation.

    I’m still very slow but can keep going for 10km+ at 10km/h (no laughing at the back please). I need to push a bit harder for more cv benefit and speed.
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 11,412
    I used to run fairly regularly, and would agree it's good at burning calories, although there is a gtn or gcn on the difference bwteen calories burnt per minute, and I was surprised that running was not substnatially more than cycling - it was more, but I was expecting double.

    I haven't totally given it up, but a few years ago (As I am a heel striker) I developed a crack in the skin on my heel, especially in the winter months. It's painful, and there seems to be precious little I can do to fix it - if I walk or especially run on it, it opens up again. Give it a week or so and it properly heels ( ;) ), something that cycling does not cause.
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  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,479
    I’m with @Mad_Malx regarding the bone density thinking.
    I used to be a very good runner in my youth and have started running 1-2 times per week in the last year, similarly around 10kph for a 10km run.
    I’ve had 3 resulting knee injuries (different ones) which means I’ve had to lay off for a week or so.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,050
    I was a good cross country running in my late teens then found the gym had more appeal then I moved to the country and discovered cycling which I love and hate in equal amounts but running again, no thanks

    I’ve started walking again mostly off-road which I feel is helping my overall fitness, I might even start increasing the speed 😳😱🙄
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  • jpj84jpj84 Posts: 51
    edited January 2021
    I did cross country in school, up to the age of about 13, then didn't do any running for about 25 years - I lived most of my adult life in inner city flats, and the thought of pounding pavements never appealed.
    But I moved back out to the sticks a few years ago, and have taken up fell running with gusto - I can chuck a pair of shoes on, and be knee deep in mud, straight out the back door, in 5 minutes. Glorious 😀
    It helps cardiovascular wise, but it doesn't feel like I work the same muscles as I do cycling. The appeal for me is that I have something I can do when the weather's foul - most weekends, I'll look at the forecast, and run on the day that's windier, and ride on the stiller day.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 11,177
    I normally start running when the clocks change in the winter to keep up some more outdoor stuff during the winter. Last year, when COVID hit, I started trying to do a shortish 4.5km run steady before work, but because I started getting really good gains on the bike (mainly through consistency - no work trips or holidays interfering...) I found the runs were just adding to my fatigue and reducing my ability to complete my bike workouts, so I packed them in. Then this year I didn't feel the need to start running when the clocks changed as I was still cycling loads (racing 1-2 times a week on Zwift, following my training plan, outdoor ride at the weekend).

    I have been thinking about doing one a week for the bone density aspect. But I am not really sure how much would really be needed, if one 4-5k run a week is "enough".

    It is really good if you are travelling for work though - easy to stick a pair of trainers in. And hotel gym bikes tend to be a very mixed bag, much easier to run quite often.
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,975
    Mad_Malx said:

    One benefit I don’t think anyone has mentioned is bone density, especially for those of us who are almost certainly past half way with our present body. Weight-bearing exercise stimulates bone growth and cycling isn’t great for this.

    Ah of course. I have dense bones hence putting on weight since doing more running vs cycling :wink:

  • I run atleast once a week, i'm not sure it helps with my strength, but it's great for conditioning. I do interval runs and just general jogs
  • zest28zest28 Posts: 403
    edited February 2021
    I did notice an improvement in running performance with cycling. Some people also remarked it that I got better probably due to all the cycling I did.
  • MrsRMrsR Posts: 81
    edited March 2021
    I'm an endurance runner (sub-3 marathoner) who rides very reluctantly (read: when benched from running with an injury :) ) and have taken to Zwift more recently. I went out on the bike for the first time this week since before the first wave of lockdown (I think it may even have been the summer before that!) and found it effortless on the bike. A combination of improvement in aerobic fitness through consistent running and, I am certain, the extra work on Zwift. My weekly running mileage was averaging around 45-50 mpw over 6 runs a week, and every Zwift session I made sure I worked hard.

    Clearly, I was feeling the benefit from being able to train my CV fitness more effectively on the bike (where every outing can be a hard session) than I can purely through running. As an example, as a running coach I tell my clients that they must take it slowly when building up running, as their soft tissue and bones take longer to adapt to running than their fitness (it is why so many newbies get injured early on).
    Also cyclists who come to running have to adapt to the fact running is largely driven by the posterior chain and cycling can be very quad dominant (although my coach was an international runner so coaches to avoid this). Anyone who rides who takes up running is therefore wise to slowly integrate running to accommodate this shift in focus and allow for adaptation of the musculoskeletal frame from the impact. Like super slowly. It will reap dividends as consistency is crucial as a runner and it is better to manage a three-month period of 2-3 runs a week than 4-5 runs p/w in a month over three months. As someone mentioned, it is brilliant for developing and maintaining (esp in menopausal women) bone density.

    What I love about running is the lack of faffing around (no kit needed except for trainers and a good fitting bra for females!) and it is an incredibly time efficient way to get fit. Hence why so many time poor mums take it up. I roughly equate 1 hour of easy running with 2 hours of cycling. As my runs are all at least an hour, my 2 hour ride felt very light work this week.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 6,051
    2 hours can be very easy, its like running it depends on how hard you go.
  • MrsRMrsR Posts: 81
    edited March 2021
    webboo said:

    2 hours can be very easy, its like running it depends on how hard you go.

    Yes indeed. An easy hour of running = 2 easy hours of cycling. My husband I only covered 30 hilly-ish miles. So I would need another probably 2 hours of easy cycling to make it an endurance building ride whereas in running I could reap the benefit from a 90min-2 hour run. Hence, my comment re running being able to develop fitness efficiently once the body has become inured to it. We can't squeeze more than 24 hours out of our day but we can try to use those hours more efficiently to train smart. :) In running we can't run hard every time but in cycling you can make each workout a real session without similar risk of injury ;)

  • webboowebboo Posts: 6,051
    Maybe if you did your 30 miles in 90 minutes you might get fitter.
  • MrsRMrsR Posts: 81
    webboo said:

    Maybe if you did your 30 miles in 90 minutes you might get fitter.

    Of course but possibly cause dreadful marital relations. Hence why I have come to love Zwift and why running will always be my first love.

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