Effect of cycling on running base.

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  • #22222

    Hi guys

    So I’ve read that HIIT training basically shortens your aerobic base. I’m doing a good bit of cycling training alongside my running base miles. A fair amount of my midweek cycling is high intensity. Will high intensity cycling be really detrimental to my running base?


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    Anonymous on #22233

    I think it’s more accurate to say that a disproportionate amount of high intensity “weakens” your base rather than “shortens” it.

    As far as training modes go, I suspect that a lot of high-intensity cycling will weaken your aerobic capacity if it isn’t supported by enough zone 1/2 work. How much is hard to say due to the non-weight-bearing nature of cycling and individual variations in adaptation. Cycling has less benefit for weight bearing sports, so perhaps it also does less damage at high intensity.

    It’s hard to say. You’d probably have to test it somehow to find out.

    In general, what’s your distribution of training minutes between high and low intensity? What’s the ratio between zone 1 and 2 work and minutes training above zone 2 (across all training modes)?

    TK on #23307

    I think cycling is great for building a running base as I’ve noticed my fitness greatly improve with 1-2 days of cycling/week. However its not very structured and I ride as hard as I feel like that day so can’t say for sure how high intensity cycling really affects the running base. Then again too running is top priority for me.

    Anonymous on #23370

    @rivrrapids: That’s surprising. Your experience runs counter to all other athletes.

    Low-intensity cycling is probably a good recovery activity for runners. Perhaps that’s the benefit you’re seeing?

    In our experience at UA, cycling fitness does not transfer well to running in particular or weight-bearing sports in general. The muscle groups are different and less muscle mass is engaged on a bike than on foot.

    People often ask if they can use cycling as training for running, but I’ve never heard anyone ask if they can use running as training for cycling… I suspect the reason is that cycling is fun and, for most, running isn’t. The real question is: “Can I use this fun thing to prepare for the not-fun thing?” Sadly, no…

    Here are a few articles that you may find interesting:

    * To run faster, triathletes should stop swimming and cycling (New York Times)
    * Training makes runners more efficient, but not cyclists (Outside)
    * Does riding a bike help you run faster? (Livestrong)

    Anonymous on #23430

    In addition, I’d propose that perhaps the positive response to the addition of cycling to a running program has more to do with the “break” in the overall impact of too much running than on the actual cycling itself.

    richard.ferron on #23505

    I’ve always struggled to understand this opinion on the utility of cycling. First, I see many cyclist racing in Skimo and VK and they are doing VERY well. I get that if they were training specifically, they would probably be even better, but still, big engine, power and quad strength seems to help them.

    Second, even if it’s not weight bearing, the choice of gear can make your muscle work very hard in a position that is not so far from a VK steep uphill position, so you get a good quad workout, without the impact and without the necessary access to a steep mountain path.

    Third, it’s great for recovery workout since you can spend lots of Z1-2 time without impacts.

    So, the way I see it is that it might not be perfect, but it certainly has it’s use. Am I wrong?

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