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Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 05-27-12, 07:22 AM   #1
fuji_owner
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Is running not good for cyclists?

So I've been doing running 3 times on weeknights, alternating with riding short distances (~5-10mi) once or twice on weeknights, and one long distance (~40-50mi) on weekend.

I've noticed that after a day or two of running, I feel really weak on the bike. I realized my leg muscles are readjusting every time I run and then again when I ride. The calves get sleeker after the running, which makes them less powerful for riding.

Should I choose between one or the other? I know biathletes and triathletes do both, but I don't know how they do it.

Does this make sense to anyone, or is it just me?
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Old 05-27-12, 07:26 AM   #2
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Running makes no sense.
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Old 05-27-12, 07:45 AM   #3
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I jog and always will, jogging is great on windy days and for navigating shorter distances. It's as enjoyable to me as biking. Does it harm things? From a cardio standpoint I find intervals jogging complement the endurance on the bike and vice versa. I don't notice any perceived weakness unless I decide to stop doing both for a period of time.
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Old 05-27-12, 07:47 AM   #4
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Running is for people that don't have the sense to use a bike.
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Old 05-27-12, 07:55 AM   #5
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Running is great. It's probably better for you than cycling, actually, given the weightbearing nature of it. It's recommended for cyclists, especially ones that ride a lot like pros, to run a bit per week to maintain the weight bearing nature of it. Plus the fact it's more physiologic in terms of being adaptable for life and everyday living, and it's a win.

I was a pretty respectable cyclist able to hang with Cat3 guys as a no experience beginner just from heavy marathon training alone. Lots of track and field guys have similar experiences. (It takes a lot more than running to hang with the big dogs on the bike , though.)
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Old 05-27-12, 08:14 AM   #6
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I always felt that I wouldn't run unless I was being chased. Last Fall, faced with the boredom of the trainer during winter, I took up running, first at the track at my gym, then going outside on weekends. I found that I actually enjoyed it, though it did beat me up more than biking. Did a half marathon in April. Now that weather is better and I'm riding more outside, I haven't run in a few weeks, but I feel that the winter running definitely improved my biking-more than the trainer would have done.
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Old 05-27-12, 08:22 AM   #7
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mile for mile, running gives you a harder workout, saving time if you're in a pinch. also, mile for mile, running is much harder on the body. If time is the issue (not weather), you could do some intense intervals for a shorter time.

I know too many old people who were marathoners at a younger age that have knee problems, that I and they would attribute to marathoning. However, it's only a correlation.

AND, I don't feel like I get anywhere running at 6 mph vs cruising at 16 mph.
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Old 05-27-12, 08:27 AM   #8
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Running Sucks, and it's not good for your joints.
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Old 05-27-12, 08:31 AM   #9
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Running Sucks, and it's not good for your joints.
False. Running has been shown to have no detrimental effect on joints unless you've had surgery or your knees are already shot to begin with. In fact, people who run have been shown to have better cartilage - this is from large scale studies that tracked people over a long period of time so it's not just because the injured people are dropping out of the sample.
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Old 05-27-12, 08:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by fuji_owner View Post
So I've been doing running 3 times on weeknights, alternating with riding short distances (~5-10mi) once or twice on weeknights, and one long distance (~40-50mi) on weekend.

I've noticed that after a day or two of running, I feel really weak on the bike. I realized my leg muscles are readjusting every time I run and then again when I ride. The calves get sleeker after the running, which makes them less powerful for riding.

Should I choose between one or the other? I know biathletes and triathletes do both, but I don't know how they do it.

Does this make sense to anyone, or is it just me?
You likely feel weak on the bike because you're not riding very much. You really only have one ride per week as a 5 or 10mi ride isn't going to do much for your biking fitness. If you want to get faster on the bike you need to significantly increase your riding time. If you only have a finite amount of time to devote to running/biking then pick one if you want to maximize performance.
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Old 05-27-12, 11:07 AM   #11
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Your body will easily adapt to both. There is no reason for your muscles to get weaker, then stronger again, as you alternate between running and biking day-to-day, as long as you build both up gradually. What is important is getting enough rest and getting proper nutrition (protein, if you're building these muscles up).

Depending on training load, you may feel fatigue going from a hard run one day to biking the next day, or vice-versa. This is not to be confused with "muscle readjusting" and is just basically, they're tired. Having a rest day in there helps depending on how hard your effort is.

I started off with biking and built up a fairly large base, before I started running somewhat seriously. Running is a lot more impact so you have to be careful to take the time to build up your running base very gradually (I kept getting injured the first few months until I worked out my running form and eased in the miles, now I'm largely injury free running). This year I've been able to put in 35-45 miles per week average running, while doing a long ride every weekend (80-100 miles) as well as 3 double centuries squeezed in. I don't recommend the once a week long bike ride unless you've already got a large bike base built up. Alternating short rides and short runs and slowly working up the distance is probably more beneficial, if you're trying to build up both at the same time.

The nice thing is that whenever I have gotten injured running, I can still bike, and whenever I get injured biking (which is rare, most of the time I just get sore, usually my butt, from doing long rides) I can still run.

And yes, running isn't bad for the joints, unless that person has really crappy running form, already has bad joints, or does extreme distances (overuse injury). I do believe however that it is harder to start up than biking, since it has more impact, so start young and "cruise" into old age with a big base built up, and you can keep fit running or biking, whatever you desire.
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Old 05-27-12, 11:42 AM   #12
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Running has been shown to increase bone density. Serous cyclists have been shown to have some of the lowest bone density of all athletes. (citation is from some study another BF actually quoted properly here... to lazy to look for it). Running/jogging has been shown to be very healthy for people in general and is exceptionally less expensive than cycling. Ironically I find no desire to go running.
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Old 05-27-12, 12:33 PM   #13
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False. Running has been shown to have no detrimental effect on joints <snip> shown to have better cartilage <snip> this is from large scale studies that tracked people over a long period of time
Can you supply a link to one of these studies, or perhaps remember the title and author so I can find it myself?
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Old 05-27-12, 12:40 PM   #14
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I run and ride weekly. I am finding that doing both helps the running more than the cycling, mostly speed for me. Running is a better workout in shorter time. Riding is more fun and less painful.
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Old 05-27-12, 12:45 PM   #15
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Can you supply a link to one of these studies, or perhaps remember the title and author so I can find it myself?
One recent systematic review of the literature
http://www.npr.org/assets/news/2011/...y-on-knees.pdf

American Academy of Sports Medicine
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Old 05-27-12, 03:42 PM   #16
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I'm a runner who is also a cyclist and think both activities are great. One thing I've noticed is that many people run very hard, probably harder than they ride. Since running is a weight bearing impact activity, I think it's better to run at a slightly lower intensity than be all dead legged (or worse, injured) for your ride.
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Old 05-27-12, 04:15 PM   #17
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Only time I'll run is to avoid certain death, the cops or maybe two or three old GFs.

That's really a lie. I'll jog for exercise when it's raining and I'm feeling cooped up.

My problem is repeated jogging leads to better running fitness. Better running fitness leads to blown out knees.

I'd really rather swim than run.
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Old 05-27-12, 05:58 PM   #18
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Running is boring compared to cycling. I like speed, and I like covering vast distances. Exercise is much better when it's fun.
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Old 05-27-12, 11:35 PM   #19
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I'd run again if my feet could take the punishment. It used to be a welcome break for me, especially on trails. A body needs some cross training for balance and overall fitness.

If cycling is your main sport, and running diminishes your cycling experience, then by all means run only during the off season.
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Old 05-27-12, 11:49 PM   #20
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what I've found, is that after picking up cycling, my running style has changed.

Before it was medium amount of medium strides.
Now it is many short strides.

I don't think my top speed while running has changed, but my legs sure as heck don't like long strides anymore.


You should try it, various amounts of strides, and you might notice your body only likes one in particular.
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Old 05-27-12, 11:50 PM   #21
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I run 2-3 times a week. I like to cross train so it doesn't get mundane.
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Old 05-28-12, 12:35 AM   #22
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I run if I don't have a bike on me at the time. I've found that biking has given me the aerobic fitness to jog for 4-5km and not be dead at the end of it. Do I enjoy it? Given a choice I'll cycle.
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Old 05-28-12, 04:17 AM   #23
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To elaborate more, if you are a cyclist taking up running, you will probably have a well-developed cardiovascular system but not the required strength in the musculoskeletal system to put up with the impact forces of fast running. Just like a newbie cyclist, start slow and build up distance first before intensity. Your body will slowly adapt to the requirements of running but only over time and only if you give it enough recovery.

The most I personally could sustain was both about 60 miles running and 130 miles cycling in a week. Once I started getting close to over 15 hours training per week, it was too hard to keep up with a full time job and my sleep habits. If I was only cycling, I think I could probably handle 20+ hours/week, but when only running I've usually only maxed out 12+ hours/week before I started to get dead legs after a few weeks. I'm not hardcore enough nor do I like chlorinated pool water enough to be a triathlete...
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Old 05-28-12, 04:33 AM   #24
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Only time you should ever run is if the police are chasing you....
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Old 05-28-12, 06:12 AM   #25
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Running is awesome especially if you're pressed for time. Throw on some shoes and hit the bricks. 30 minutes later you've had an awesome workout and are ready to hit the showers. I'd probably still be getting ready in that time frame for cycling.
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