How Cycling Can Help You Improve Your Running Performance
Improve your running performance when you add cycling to your training
Are you a marathon runner looking to optimize your performance? Have you recently discovered marathons and want to learn more about training? Either way, maximizing your stamina, endurance, and physical fitness is crucial to improving your running performance.
Running is an activity that necessitates the use of leg muscles to a large extent. A complete training program is crucial if you want to improve your running performance. It’s important to exercise and strengthen all muscle groups. Fitness experts recommend that you cross-train. Cycling is a great way to cross-train. Riding your bike at least once a week can help you train smarter and improve your running performance as a marathoner.
Cross-training involves activities other than your usual sport. In the case of marathoners, it involves exercises other than running. You might run fewer miles, but cross-training helps engage more muscle groups, enhance endurance, and strengthen leg muscles.
Why cycling is beneficial
Many runners choose cycling for their cross-training and also follow this advice when increasing their mileage. Here are some benefits runners can take advantage of when they begin cycling:
Prevent overuse of leg muscles
Overuse injuries are very common in long-distance running. Integrating another activity can make all the difference between an overuse injury and making it to the finish line. Using the bike reduces impact on your body, especially your feet, while continuing to strengthen your leg muscles. Pro tip: if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out! Learn how the Ascension Seton Sports Performance experts can get you back on track and headed to your goal.
Strengthen complementary muscles
While short distance runs or sprints can help build muscles, long-distance running is known to hinder muscle growth. The main muscle groups used in cycling are the upper leg muscles like your quadriceps and hamstrings. However, you also use your calf muscles, gastrocnemius, and soleus. Cycling also engages your core and back while giving your arms and shoulders a good workout. As a form of resistance workout, cycling builds and strengthens these different muscle groups.
Expand lung capacity
True, you’ll log fewer running miles by cycling. But you won’t sacrifice some of running’s benefits, like expanding your lung capacity. Simply put, the more fresh oxygen you take in, the more oxygen can be pumped to your muscles. That’s a good thing! While on the bike, you can also practice breathing patterns. The more you can comfortably control your breathing, the lower you can keep your heart rate. A lowered heart rate can relieve some of the stress your body experiences during training.
Cycling is an ideal addition that can better your aerobic system while being easier on your muscles, joints, and tendons. Riding your bike once or twice can improve your running performance. It’s a great complementary activity that can help you achieve faster running times and reduce the chance injuries. Do you cycle as a means of cross-training? Let us know why in the Austin Marathon Facebook Group or on Twitter.