Bicycling is an excellent way to cross-train, for competitive and casual long distance runners. Training with a bike can build endurance, muscle strength and leg movement, that improves running times. It can provide a break from regular running workouts and lessen the chance of injury from running. In my squad we say no to monotony!
The fact that cycling works front leg muscles which are not stressed in running helps balance leg muscles and reduces the chance of injury. It also helps stretch out leg muscles and gives feet and ankles a break from the pounding of running. It is excellent rehabilitation from injury or recovery from an intense or long run.
Bicycle training improves cardiovascular fitness because a cyclist works longer. Three or four miles of biking equals about a mile of running, so a cyclist keeps heart rate and lung function at high levels longer. Longer workouts build endurance and can also help with weight control because longer periods of exercise burn more stored fat, I believe that’s the reason why elite triathletes run so well with only 3 run workouts a week, a 5 hour ride is normal in a serious cyclist staple in contrast a 3.5 hour run is a very long run that needs a lot of recovery afterwards. Cycling wears you out less which means you can go for hours and hours without causing too much muscle damage.
One reason why I like the Cascade Exercise Bikes is that they are smooth and easy to adjust making them really pleasant to workout on them, easy to adjust is a key component because if you are not properly fitted risk of injury increases. Complementing your run workout program with two one hour sessions a week will help you raise your performance, sessions need not to be complicated, just holding 70% of your max for an hour 2x a week will help, for better results keep varying your cadence throughout the workout.
I remember when I was in College in Florida two of my running team mates went to Europe for the summer and toured Europe on bicycles. They where doing four hours a day but they did no running at all, and when they came back they where skinnier and stronger than ever and had the season of their lives. After observing that, what else can I say?
Luis Villavicencio – Triathlon Coach – Guatemala