Aside from strengthening leg muscles and developing endurance, here are five reasons why cycling makes for a great cross-training option for runners
There are three things every runner must always work on: endurance, power, and speed. Which is why it’s important to cross-train on a regular basis. A good option runners can try is cycling. Regular cycling sessions not only strengthens leg muscles but also develops core stability, endurance, and complementary muscles.
Cycling also boosts a variety of muscles used in running like the quads, glutes, and core. Ironman 70.3 champion Linsey Corbin told Runner’s World that cycling is the perfect cross-training sport for runners because there are several workouts one can do on the bike to improve strength (riding uphill in big gear, for example). Corbin also said that short sprints are another way to boost heart rate and speed while a steady and long bike ride helps build endurance.
Besides augmenting performance, here are more reasons why runners could benefit from cycling:
Aids in post-run recovery
A medium-intensity bike ride helps runners recover from a long distance run by increasing blood flow in the calves, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Low impact cycling also repairs and flushes out lactic acid while reducing muscle joint stiffness.
Provides aerobic training
Cycling is known to improve overall cardiovascular fitness. Runners can build speed by doing short sprints out of the saddle on a regular basis. Interval cycling workouts also pushes the body to go the extra mile, forces it to adapt quickly, and helps build strength.
Take Corbin’s cycling routine for example: 10×1 minute of going all-out on the bike with a two minute recovery of slow pace riding then cool down for 15 minutes.
An alternative when injured
Research has proven that staying active while injured is one way to recover faster. Injured runners can opt to cycle because it’s a non-weight bearing exercise that strengthens the quads, outer hips, and glutes, which makes it pretty similar to a run. Also, 10- to 15-minute cycling workouts on the bike is equivalent to running one mile.
Burns a lot of calories and fat
In order to burn body fat, the heart must work at 65 to 75 percent of its maximum heart rate, which can be achieved by cycling. Interval cycling training is the perfect option for runners who want to shed off body fat, especially since it burns loads of calories in a short amount of time and promotes faster metabolism.
Additional health benefits
Overall, cycling is a great cross-training workout to improve health. It’s low-impact, time-efficient, and is a fun way to get fit. A few more benefits cycling training promotes is decreasing stress levels, anxiety, and depression. It also improves posture and coordination and helps prevent the risk of diseases.