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Cycling too much running suffers?

Old 08-08-16, 12:46 PM
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Cycling too much running suffers?

I come from a pure runner standpoint with 38 years of distance running. Over the past 8 years I have started cycling averaging 4000k a year. I still run but my running times have really slowed to laughable. Up until 3 years ago I could still go out and train 5-8 miles at 9 minute pace. Now I struggle to run 10 minutes and I just do not feel like I am striding correct. I wonder if any tri's here have gotten the cycling up and ruined the pure running form they had.


I don't where else to post this but I like cycling too much to give it up and right now I am in solo 5 hour century shape at 55 so cannot complain at all. I did 70 miles Saturday no stops not even unclipping in 3:28 but struggle to maintain 10 minute running miles. I feel like a real loser running and if you saw me on the out running you would never believe I was a 3:06 marathoner 25 years ago and up until recently few years could still string together 8 minute miles.


They all say cycling helps your running but and I cannot find too much against it but right now I think that is a bunch of baloney. I would be interested in what Triathletes experience in training and different muscle firing groups working.
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Old 08-08-16, 12:49 PM
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Old 08-08-16, 01:03 PM
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This is totally normal. I would say that anytime you stop doing anything for an extended period, your form will suffer. Your cardio capacity is there, but running and cycling are very different, and I try to think of them as distinct buckets of fitness. I do both pretty regularly, and I have found that for me, my performance in one has very little to do with my performance in the other.

I started cycling a full year before I ran at all. I had decent base fitness at the time(for a casual cyclist anyway), but it took my running a full 6 months to develop any sort of respectable capacity for distance or running pace. Running felt like it killed me when I could bike all day. The more I ran, the better I got, but it didn't really improve my cycling fitness. Running more kept my base cardio intact, but didn't make me faster on the bike. I hadn't run very much in the last month, and the opposite happened. I'm as fast as I've ever been on a bike, but I plowed through a 10k on my lunch today - a full minute slower than my usual pace.
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Old 08-08-16, 01:04 PM
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1. You're getting older, at some point you'll have diminishing returns on running investments with or without bike training.
2. Still at our age I suspect we can still improve. Instead of is bike training slowing down my running a better question would be is not running as much as I used to slowing down my running?
3. I believe biking in itself doesn't make you a faster runner, however it does make you a stronger runner and thereby possibly making you faster especially on a hilly run.
4. Finally by doing both I believe it will lessen your chances of injury, so we have that in our favor.
FWIW, some of my best running times were when I had an injury that prevented me from run training and was only able to bike and swim for 6 weeks, go figure.
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Old 08-08-16, 01:18 PM
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I guess I should know this but I just like to ask these questions. I also realize I am an getting old for sure. The funny thing is my cycling fitness has actually got better over the past 8 years and I know right now I am at my limit for that, I won't get faster. The cool thing about cycling is I can still ride with the A group but cannot run with the granny group.


My base is always there I should just be grateful I can run with no real aches or pains. I can run for 10 miles no issue just takes me a long time and I find that uneven group and sidewalks are a bit of effort. I like to run in the residential streets that have little traffic but no curbs to jump up and down on.


It is true that when I was completely away from running due to injury I came back strong. Last year during August and Sept I back/hip issue so I road everyday got 1000 miles almost each month. I think after stopping the cycling and returning to running I was back to 9-10 minute pace in matter of days. I would take that now instead of the 10-10:40 pace.


I know if you tri's saw me swim you would probably tell me to give it up completely, take me 45-50 minutes in a pool to get a mile.
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Old 08-09-16, 07:39 AM
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My running times have slowed as well, but I think it's simply aging and body wear and tear. That said, I'm trying to fight back by running less miles and adding more speed work. I've never really been a go to the track and run intervals kind of runner. I'm more the fartlek kind of guy. Are you doing any speed work? Try changing up your running routine a bit and add some speed work if you're not already. If you already are doing some speed work, try running a little less miles, while still keeping the long run at its current distance. Try to do more running on fresh legs, too.
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Old 09-12-16, 07:46 AM
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It happens. I really think this is the hardest part of triathlon training. This Sept marks the one year ann from when I stopped being a cyclist and started on the path of being a triathlete. I immediately noticed that my cycling suffered, big time. Being a horrific runner and a nonexistent swimmer, I was forced to focus on those two things to get to the point where I could finish a sprint tri event successfully. Next year will be different, I'm going to focus harder on cycling again now that I have my base in swimming and running.

Because...

Every seasoned tri athlete that I've got to know will openly admit they have a "strong" and a "weak". Most of them seem to be strong runners and weak swimmers. They'll all say they wish they were better cyclists because that's where time is made. Looking at an Olympic tri, the swim is short, the ride is where the $$ is made and the run is short(ish).

Look at it this way, Olymipc tri is 25 on the bike. At 25mph ave, that is 60 min. At 20mph ave, that's 75min. So a 15 minute difference between 25 and 20 mph average. If runner A is running a 9 min pace on the 10K, and runner B runs an 11 min pace...that still won't cover the time lost in the bike is A rode at 20mph and B rode at 25. B will still win by 3 min.

So...in other words, it's still better to be strong on the bike.
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Old 09-12-16, 12:28 PM
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Agreed. Right now running is my weak discipline and cycling my strongest. I'm content with my swimming pace but still need improvement in form and technique.

I personally subscribe to the philosophy of attempt to balance all and neglect none, but put 50% of your time on your worst discipline. Balance the other as you see fit.
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Old 09-15-16, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ypsetihw
This is totally normal. I would say that anytime you stop doing anything for an extended period, your form will suffer. Your cardio capacity is there, but running and cycling are very different, and I try to think of them as distinct buckets of fitness. I do both pretty regularly, and I have found that for me, my performance in one has very little to do with my performance in the other.

I started cycling a full year before I ran at all. I had decent base fitness at the time(for a casual cyclist anyway), but it took my running a full 6 months to develop any sort of respectable capacity for distance or running pace. Running felt like it killed me when I could bike all day. The more I ran, the better I got, but it didn't really improve my cycling fitness. Running more kept my base cardio intact, but didn't make me faster on the bike. I hadn't run very much in the last month, and the opposite happened. I'm as fast as I've ever been on a bike, but I plowed through a 10k on my lunch today - a full minute slower than my usual pace.
I've definitely had the opposite experience. I ran 18:21 back in 2012' and then was out with an injury for about 15 months, and while returning to running started riding the bike just for some extra base fitness. Ended up enjoying that enough and getting strong enough to say I'll give the bike racing thing a shot. Didn't run at all for second half of 2014 all the way until August of 2015. At that point, decided I'd enjoy a fall running block. After about 3 weeks of running with a few basic workouts (2 rounds of straights/turns, a 3x1k, and a 4x1k) I ran 17:56 for 5k on the same course I ran 18:21 on a few years back. Weight largely unchanged. At best was 2-3lbs lighter. Same thing this year, and I seem to be in at least 17:30 shape already, and haven't touched any workouts yet.

Bottom line is that I don't think I lost much, if anything, from my ability to run despite not touching it for over 12 months.

OPs case, one of my first thoughts is age playing a role. Getting older isn't great for physical activity, but it seems to be hugely detrimental to running ability, while there are plenty of guys in their 50s or even 60s that still have massive engines. I'm guessing structural changes just hurt the economy and efficiency of running, even though most of the fitness can still be in tact.

Combine a little less running over time, with 8 years more and a loss of one minute per mile is certainly possible, especially if there has also been a loss in the intensity and focus of the running training.
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Old 09-16-16, 09:31 AM
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To be fair [MENTION=382339]LMaster[/MENTION], I am a fairly new runner and a novice at that. I have improved A TON this year, down from a single 10 minute mile to a 22:51 5k and 52 min 10k. Maybe the increase has come from my overall fitness, but my cycling hasn't improved by this amount in this same time period, which is why I described it as seeing them as two separate "buckets." I suppose if you start training at something, you're gonna improve no matter what, especially if you're already somewhat fit.

Also, I'll refute myself here and say that as I've been running more and spending less time on the bike the last few weeks, I feel extremely strong and snappy when I'm in the saddle, more so than when I'm riding a lot. I suppose this comes from using different muscle groups and actually getting adequate recovery time while maintaining or improving overall base fitness with my running. The cooler temps have helped too, and I had a major slump a few weeks ago when it was ungodly hot. Just my own anecdotal evidence but maybe useful to the OP.
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