The crisp air, the noise of the ground under your feet, and that feeling of your body being warm in the cold. Love it!
Add to that less cleaning, and less time consuming and running makes a lot of sense for training; especially on limited time.
But convenience and romantic images aside, why is it actually beneficial for cyclists?
Impact resistance and repetitive strain
Cycling is a very repetitive sport, meaning long hours spent in the same position or doing the same thing with your legs. In inexperienced cyclists, or those with poor bike positions, this can lead to knee pain, back pain and shoulder pain. Running not only challenges you in a different way, but the impact can also prepare the joints for that repetitive cycling movement as it will strengthen up the connective tissue around the muscles and joints. It is a different movement and it can also strengthen your lower back, or just provide some relief from being in the same position most of the time.
You're always working
Riding down a hill is easy, physically. In fact, unless you are on a technical and long downhill section on a mountain bike, riding downhill is a rest. Not with running. It shifts the impact to different parts of the body and you are constantly working to move, meaning your heart rate never gets a chance to recover. You are always putting in effort.
It keeps your body guessing
If you keep riding the same loops or at the same intensity, you will eventually just get good at that loop or become stale. The same as when we train in a gym, if we keep the same training plan (bench press for example) we will adapt, get stronger, but then plateau.
The way to overcome this is changing your training. For the gym, this might be changing the bench press to a dumbbell press.
Changing training like this shocks the body as it is a different movement. While similar muscles might be recruited, the body has to adapt to a different process. This is the same with running.
As well as these benefits, you might find running presents a far lesser risk of injury due to dangerous road/trail conditions. We have all had a couple of "near misses" in the snow, black ice, or difficult terrain on fire roads. It might not worth being out on the bike when the conditions are like that.
Running is a great way to get good training done with minimal fuss and minimal time. If you're looking to get started, ensure that you go very slow for the first few weeks and only do short runs, or chat to one of our coaches who can include running as part of your cycling training plan.
More posts by Adam Copley