Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Switch Between Cycling and Running

The biggest obstacle to tackling a different discipline is the fear that it will undermine your cycling. Many cyclists build their heart, lungs and legs into a machine capable of riding over Mont Ventoux only to discover that they still can’t run for a bus. ( :D yes, it's true)

According to Mark Walker (sports science consultant and professional cycling coach) there’s a sliding scale: unless you’re preparing to win the Tour de France, it’s unlikely that adding a new discipline will undercut your riding fitness. “There is a common theme to all endurance sports, cycling, rowing, speed-skating: you build up a big volume of base endurance training and then you build your specificity,” Walker says.

“If you’re an amateur and you want to do a marathon and still enjoy some sportives and maybe do some cyclo-cross, there’s no reason why you can’t do all of that together. If you’re a habitual cyclist, transferring to running can potentially cause muscle soreness or injury. I wouldn’t have anyone transfer to, say, cyclo-cross, where you need that explosive sort of running, without first becoming familiar with regular short runs.” 


Caitlin Bradley, of triathlon coaching set-up Team Dillon say “Cyclists aren’t used to impact, so running can have harsh effects on the legs. Also, we are sitting down on a bike, so our heart rate starts at a lower rate, while running has your heart rate increase immediately, so it’s a totally different feeling. We also rely on masses of core strength when we run.”

Running is one of the highest injury prone sports due to the high impact stress associated with it. Running on softer surfaces such as grass will moderate some of the risk of running. Many cyclists know used to be runners but switched sports due to injuries. One thing that causes running injuries is eccentric contractions. In an eccentric contraction the muscle lengthens as you attempt to shorten it (this is why my quads hurt so much going down the stairs, but not up). The calf and quads experience this with every step while running. Everytime you take a stride you are breaking and the muscle contracts. Basically, the muscle is being pulled apart.

On the contrary, cycling relies on concentric contractions – meaning the muscle shortens as it contracts. This is what most people typically associate with a muscle contraction. Since cycling is a low impact sport it allows you to go out for longer and put yourself through more suffering than most other sports will allow. Your energy will wane and your mind will give out long before your joints, muscles, ligaments, etc will concede. In the end, running does not mimic the demands of cycling, and the golden rule is keep your cycling training specific .

The amount of running you can comfortably maintain without affecting your cycling is a very individual thing but in short, moderate running is very good for your cycling. Mainly because it’s an efficient way to get in an excellent aerobic workout in a short amount of time. People like ourselves, who have regular lives outside of cycling, don’t always have time to do a 2-3hr ride but we still want to get in a good workout. A quick run can achieve this.

How cycling can make you a better runner?

1. It’s a great form of active recovery.
Active recovery, such as moving your legs with an easy bike ride, can increase blood flow, flush out lactate, reduce muscle and joint stiffness, and help you get back on the trails sooner.

2. You’ll build strength in complementary muscles.
If your workouts are exclusive to running, you’re only building up certain sets of muscles to perform certain functions. Though your running muscles will become stronger initially, at some point you’ll plateau, because doing the same thing every day will eventually stop yielding results. When you start cycling, you’re using muscles in your legs and core that complement the muscles used for running, making you stronger, more efficient, and faster. 

3. Increase leg turnover. 
Pedaling a bike requires consistent motion and a steady, smooth cadence. Sound familiar? That’s because the exact same thing is true for running. The world’s best marathoners have a leg turnover rate of about 180 steps per minute. Your cadence on the bike can transfer to running. 

4. Your ankles, knees, and hips will thank you.
Runners, especially those who do longer races like marathons and ultras, put a pounding on their body. Because of this, it’s hard for some to maintain high mileage without injury. Cycling gives you a good workout without the impact of a run. If you’re not comfortable with replacing an entire run workout with a session on the bike, even substituting a portion of your run with a cycling workout can make your joints happy. 

My opinion

I started added running in my workout since last year. Like cycling, i must endure some pain and build endurance gradually before enjoy it. Its taken almost a half year to turn myself from poor runner (who can do only a few meters run before my legs given up) into a 5K runner.

Unlike when i do cycling, when speed sometimes its a things to look, i don't really care about speed (pace) when run. Simply, i just want running without injury. Rather than push myself to run faster, i always observe the road surface, my run posture and breathe technique to prevent injury while add more distance gradually.

Now, in work days, i prefer 3-5K run for exercise and leaving cycling in weekend. Its refreshing and i think you should try it too....

Cycling Weekly 01/2017

Ride and Run On!

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