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Why Cycling is Great Cross Training for Runners

What is the best Cross Training for Runners

Running Bears often double up as Cycling Bears – but why do we and so many other runners love mixing up our running training with cycling?

Improve Your Stamina

Firstly, cycling is another great way to improve your fitness and continue to build up your stamina. The added benefit is that cycling has a reduced impact on your leg muscles, meaning that it is great to add to your training programme if you want to still get out, but your ‘running muscles’ need a bit of a break. Additionally, with cycling focusing on muscles such as your glutes and quads, which will help improve your efficiency in running.

We all know how important strong glutes are for injury prevention! There is evidence as well that a steady bike ride can help recovery, reducing stiffness in the legs thanks to the pedalling motion as well as increasing blood flow and getting rid of lactic acid build up.

An Easy Way to Enjoy the Outdoors

As runners, often one of our main motivations for getting out running, aside from staying physically fit is our sense of adventure and exploration, and we can do exactly the same with cycling. It’s the perfect opportunity to satisfy our need for fresh air on days when another run would be a little too much. For example, often myself when I’ve had a tough run the day before I’ll go out for a steady, flat-ish ride on the bike to help fulfil my need for the outdoors.

I often go out with friends and stop at a café or pub too, so it’s another great way to stay social. Or if you prefer going out on your own, it’s another way to get that headspace and get a boost from endorphins.

Keep your Heart & Lungs Healthy

An intense bike ride can also be used as a training tool for getting your lungs and heart into prime fitness. Things such as spin classes, or at home tools such as peloton can help keep our cardiovascular systems stay in peak fitness, especially when we’re working to almost max heart rate. Additionally, if you have a spin bike or a turbo trainer (can be bought for as little as £60), it can be a great alternative to running if the weather is rubbish and you want to stay dry!

An Alternative to Running When Injured

Another reason why we all love cycling is when we are having injury problems. When we have no choice but to step back from running to allow an injury to recover, cycling can be a great alternative, again down to the reduced impact. It also helps to maintain base fitness so when we eventually get back to it, we don’t have to worry about loss of aerobic fitness. So you can swap a treadmill for a spin bike, or the trainers for some tyres.

An Opportunity to Try Something New!

Finally, it’s always great to try new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone. After all, that’s why we all start and continue to run – to push ourselves to our limits. Getting back on a bike after a while can be tough and a bit scary, but in no time you’ll be back to it as they say – it’s like riding a bike.

About the author: Ellie Bird

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