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  1. #1
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    Running to train endurance?

    Will doing some running on the side improve my endurance better or does doing more cycling instead do the same job?

    just wondering...thanks!

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    Cross training is very important if your a cyclist. You lose leg strength if you don't do anything but cycling because your body is supported against gravity by the saddle. You also need some kind of weight bearing activity that has impact (Jogging, skipping rope) and some weight training to prevent loss of bone density. Walking and cycling are poor exercises for bone density issues.

    I personally weight train (mostly free weights), skip rope and walk, all in moderation as I prefer to ride more than anything else. I jog only occasionally and not far.

    The best treatment of cross training for cyclist I've seen is Bike for Life, How to ride to 100, by Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky. It does present some folklore such as stretching and Yoga as scientifically based, but the book is still very good.

    Al

  3. #3
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by g3ck0
    Will doing some running on the side improve my endurance better or does doing more cycling instead do the same job?

    just wondering...thanks!
    It actually depends on a few things. If you're already a well conditioned cyclist chances are the benefits from running (or any other cross training) will be minimal at best. If your just getting into cycling and are unfit then anything that will improve your endurance will work. Unless there is a reason you want to be fit for running then I would suggest you just work harder on the bike. You wouldn't take typing lessons to learn to play the piano better would you?

    Here's a good article for you ... http://home.hia.no/~stephens/traprin.htm

    Basically it says train exclusively for your chosen sport in the "on" season, cut back training for chosen sport in the off season and do some cross training then (mostly to prevent burnout). It also states that if your reserves are limited or you have limited time to invest then you should stick to chosen sport.
    Last edited by Doctor Morbius; 05-17-05 at 08:22 AM.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


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  4. #4
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Its fine to run to develop running specific muscles and keep bone strength good, but it won't enhance your endurance if it is a replacement of cycling time. However the reverse is a better option: Some runners use cycling over a certain base of running miles to build endurance without the side effects of pounding the body.

    Al

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    I think there is a missing component here. What's the objective of the cycling? If it's racing, then I'd minimize the running, but do sufficient cross training to compensate for the damage/stress that racing, especially road racing does. If it's enjoyment/fitness, then I'd run or do something equivalent.

    I know that if I just cycle, my endurance for other activites suffers a lot.

    Al

  6. #6
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    For me the advantages of running are the ability to get a killer workout in a shorter time, and to help keep my weight down. I run about 12-15 miles a week and along with swimming and some gym time I don't know if my cycling endurance has improved, but my waistline has definitely shrunk. Plus running seems like a basic fitness to have under your belt. Nothing against all of the incredibly fit cyclists out there, but I always found it a bit ridiculous that I could ride 100 miles, but my joints could barely take running more than a mile. In my opinion rounding out the fitness is a much better goal.

    -Marcus.
    Non semper erit aestas.

  7. #7
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al.canoe
    I think there is a missing component here. What's the objective of the cycling?
    Good point. I was assuming the OP was talking about improving their endurance cycling and not their general fitness. I may have read more into the question than was there.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius
    Good point. I was assuming the OP was talking about improving their endurance cycling and not their general fitness. I may have read more into the question than was there.
    I too "read too much".I was assuming general fitness.

    Al

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    sorry for the confusion ha, im looking to get into cycling but i'm afraid that i may not be able to ride too far if my endurance is too low...so i was just asking if more cycling would be enoughto improve my endurance or would running give me better improvement rates?

  10. #10
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by g3ck0
    sorry for the confusion ha, im looking to get into cycling but i'm afraid that i may not be able to ride too far if my endurance is too low...so i was just asking if more cycling would be enough to improve my endurance or would running give me better improvement rates?
    So you are more interested in cycling then? In that case I would say ride more but perhaps ride slower. If you want to do some speed work do it a couple days per week tops at this point and do it during the first part of your workout after a good warmup. Then you can go out on some longer treks without pushing yourself too hard in order to build up some distance and get some TITS ... that's Time In The Saddle! Besides, if your endurance is low you may not be able to run effectively either.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  11. #11
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    thanks for the advice ppl! point taken

  12. #12
    Just riding andygates's Avatar
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    I trained up from zero to a half-marathon at the start of May. It has improved my overall condition nicely and shrunk the belly. My cycling has improved a little, but commuting my hilly route on a fixie had a greater impact. I haven't done a long ride since I started running though, so it's hard ot tell how I'd far on a century...

  13. #13
    I get hit by cars Crash Dummy's Avatar
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    Pretty much any cardio activity will improve your endurance as a whole. Endurance (as I see it) is your ability to keep going at an elevated heart rate. The primary limiter of endurance is how much oxygen you can supply to your muscles, which in turn is limited by the number of red blood cells you've got. Any cardio activity will increase your RBC count. Aerobic activity also improves your muscles' stores of myoglobin, a protein like hemoglobin that only exists in the muscles. It serves to hold more oxygen in the muscles for when it is needed. Thus, for someone who's just beginning a fitness regimen, pretty much any kind of cardio will increase your endurance equally given the same number of calories burned. It gets more complicated with highly trained athletes who already have pushed their VO2 as far as they can.

    The muscles adapt to the way they are used. They become more efficient if used in a cardio-type workout often by switching from glycolitic (sugar splitting) metabolism to oxidative metabolism (that whole krebs cycle thing). You can actually see the difference in these two types of muscle. Glycolitic tissue is pale, while oxidative is dark red due to lots of myoglobin stored in the muscle. Thus, if you want to be a better cyclist, riding will help your cycling endurance more than running due to the fact that it targets the muscles used in cycling. Think of it as fine-tuning exercise. Running will use many of the same musclesused in cycling, but some are used less, while others are used more. Cross training is essentially a way to give the muscles used in your primary sport a bit of a break, to avoid overtraining injuries.
    The Pessimist is always either correct or pleasantly surprised.

  14. #14
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    If the goal is overall health/fitness vs. cycling specific capability, I'd also recommend swimming as a good x-training over running. Running is good though as it is weight bearing.

    Al

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