Cross-training is one of the best ways to improve performance in your chosen sport. It involves training in an alternative sport to strengthen muscles and improve fitness. For runners, biking is one of the best sports to cross-train. Not only does it improve performance but it also makes you stronger and fitter.
Lets see how -
Drastically reduces injury risk due to muscle fatigue
Runners train by running. But running for long periods poses the risk of injury to athletes. Overworked muscles need time to recover. Your muscles would not have recovered sufficiently to train the next day. In this scenario, many runners prefer to cycle after a strenuous day’s running.
During biking, different sets of muscles are used. You can train with them while allowing your major running muscles to rest and recover. It also flushes out toxins accumulated in the lower part of your body after a strenuous day of running. A great way to stay fit even if you do not run!
Superb cardio workout
Unlike running, biking is a low impact exercise. It does not put a strain on your knees and joints. You can alternate biking with running to get that cardio workout without putting a strain on your lower body. Cardiovascular health improves as a result of any risk of impact-related injuries. What’s more, you burn fat too!
More muscle strength and endurance
When biking is combined with running, you get more muscle strength and endurance. Biking allows you longer cardio workouts than running. Its impact-free movements take a lesser toll on your body and target your muscles differently. When combined with running, cycling will give you a well-rounded workout making you stronger and fitter.
Hit the rhythm differently
When you workout on a bike, your biking rhythm or cadence easily transfers to your running. Both sports involve steady and consistent motion with a smooth rhythm. When you cycle, start with an easy speed of about 80 rpm for your cadence.
Once you reach the speed, you can switch to more difficult gear and maintain the same rhythm to intensify your workout. The same cadence easily transfers to your running. You can start on a bike and once you reach the 80-90 rpm, switch to running immediately. This will have a positive impact on your running speed and rhythm.
Reduce your running time and increase the impact of training
This is a process called a brick workout. Not only does it allow you to recover quickly after a workout, but it also gives you the same, if not more benefits than running all out. The brick workout builds muscle memory and neural pathways that help your body regulate pace and effort. Combine biking with running to get more out of your training.
Complementary muscles get stronger
Running strengthens a certain set of muscles over time. Initially, running will be a good workout. After some time, you will get stronger and better at running. But, like all exercises, you will hit a plateau where the gains are meager with the same amount of effort. This sometimes is frustrating.
This can be avoided when you combine running with biking. Biking hits a different set of muscles. You use your quads, glutes and core muscles. These muscles are complementary to the muscles that are employed while running.
Cross-training with biking, will give you better results and make you a strong runner. It also allows you to keep pushing your comfort zone and takes your training to the next level.
Keeping fit while being injured
When you are injured, running is difficult and even detrimental to healing. Don’t lose your fitness during injury layoff. When you do biking, you can stay in relative shape until you start running again. Biking is a great way to burn fat while you are recovering from an injury.
Research has proven that some physical activity while being injured aids recovery while keeping you in shape. Biking is a great way to workout. Even if you bike for long periods, the impact on your knees is much lower than running.
Easy does it
When you start cross-training running with biking, go easy at first. Going too quickly or too intense in the beginning, you risk injury. Go slow and build up the pace as your body gets used to the rigors of cross-training with running and biking. Once your body gets used to it, you can keep pushing your limits.
To round off
By combining biking with running you will get stronger, increase your endurance and build up your muscles while minimizing impact-related injuries. This will help you run better than ever before. Try it and reap the rewards.
Braeden Elliott is a passionate fitness enthusiast, dedicated to inspiring others on their journey to optimal health and well-being. With a background in exercise science and nutrition, Braeden brings a wealth of knowledge to his writing, offering practical insights and evidence-based advice.