For some reason, cycling and running are always compared and pitted against each other. Whether it’s the health benefits or the enjoyment of doing both activities, cycling and running enthusiasts always try to show that one is better than the other. However, comparing the two is irrelevant since one activity can be used to improve your performance with the other.
A runner can use cycling to improve his overall performance. But, how does cycling help with running? Apart from improving performance, it helps build muscle strength, assists in the runner’s recovery, and provides aerobic training. Check out these benefits in-depth below.
Helps Improve Overall Performance
Today, professional runners cross training with cycling is a normal occurrence since cycling can help to improve performance. But how does cycling enhance the performance of the runner? Does cycling help you run faster? When a runner rides a bike, it will help in developing the runner’s fitness, endurance, and even stamina. All of these improvements happen without damaging the leg muscles of the runner.
Cycling is also an excellent cardiovascular workout for the runner. A runner will benefit because it helps strengthen the heart as it pumps more oxygen to the runner’s body. When this happens, the heart will pump efficiently during the run while also helping minimize the stress in the body.
A runner who wants to burn fat or lose weight can maximize cycling to achieve his desire efficiently. Yes, running can burn more calories compared to cycling, but the burned calories will be fewer when the runner is more efficient on the road.
So, cycling is the best way for the runner to lose weight. Please note that the number of calories burned in physical activity depends on the intensity and the amount of time you spend doing it. The fat will usually start to burn when the heart is at 65 to 75 percent of its maximum heart rate.
Having said that, riding the bike is the easiest way for the runner’s heart to work as needed to burn fat and eventually lose weight. A runner can strategically switch some of his running activity to cycling to give the body a new way of burning fats and losing weight.
Improving the Complementary Muscles
It is a fact that cycling and running use different sets of muscles. If someone is running, the muscles used are the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and even some core muscles. So, if you run exclusively, your progress will level out or reach the so-called workout plateau as your body gets used to the same activity.
But if you try to combine your running activity with cycling, you will use different sets of muscles that complement all the other muscles used when running. You will be stronger and more efficient when these muscles are developed, helping the runner run faster.
Help in the Runner’s Recovery
Every runner needs to recover from a rigorous running activity. Active recovery helps increase blood circulation while providing a fresh blood flow that provides nutrients to rebuild the muscles and ligaments.
It is usual for a runner to feel soreness on the legs after a hard and long run. But incorporating a bike ride as a form of recovery will help the runner’s legs recover from the hard running activity. It will provide a positive impact not only on the muscles but on the joints as well.
Exercise Despite an Injury
When a runner is injured, the movement and the physical ability may be limited to recover the injured body. However, doing another sport such as cycling can help the injured runner stay in shape. If the runner is injured, it does not mean he will be inactive because he can still ride a bike to keep his body in shape.
Cycling will help work out the body until such time that the injury heals and the body is allowed to run again. Riding a bike while waiting to heal also helps in reducing the time needed for the injury to recover. It is an excellent workout for an injured runner while waiting for the injury to heal.
Going Out of the Comfort Zone
Another way that cycling can help a runner is its ability to make someone go out of their comfort zone. Trying another sport apart from running will challenge your physical ability but also help create a new habit.
When this habit is formed, it will also help your brain work more and exercise well. This situation also helps in improving the mental aspect of the runner. When someone is getting used to doing the same activity repeatedly, the improvement may be limited.
However, going out of the comfort zone is when a runner tries to do another sport like cycling to improve performance. Doing this unusual step will help you achieve new things and unlock potential that can help improve your running skills.
As mentioned in the article, there are several ways that a runner can maximize riding the bike to help improve his running performance. So, if you are a runner still asking how does cycling help with running, I hope that some of the reasons stated above will convince you to have cross training with cycling as it helps improve your performance.