Giving cross-training a try: Cycling


Cycling (Photo credit: tejvanphotos)

Early work hours, a mild stomach virus, and the Super Bowl on Sunday all conspired to make my regularly scheduled Monday post very late.

That’s okay though, sometimes it is good to let go of a schedule and mix things up a bit. At least that is what I’m telling myself now after an intense evening of spin class  on Monday evening, once I was certain my body felt better and I downed plenty of fluids throughout the day.

The spin class was my second. The first took place last Thursday. I must admit at how shocked I was at the exertion and soreness that followed the hour long class at my local gym.

When Jeff Horowitz wrote “cycling primarily works the quadriceps, a big muscle group that running doesn’t effectively work,” in Smart Marathon Training: Which Kinds Of Cross-Training Are Best For Runners? he wasn’t kidding. That quad soreness wasn’t made easier by the long, hilly run I ran Friday in my neighborhood.

Beyond the muscle soreness and slight whining, I have to admit the spin class put a certain spring back into my step. The benefits of cycling-as-cross-training make sense, and is something I wish I engaged in earlier. According to Horowitz, cycling increases outer hip strength and may prevent IT Band flair up, something many runners, myself included, are familiar with. Spinning is also non-impact, meaning I’m not beating my legs up more than I already do while running.

Some studies according to even show cycling might increase speed for runners.

In the past I swam on down days on the group training schedule. I never quite felt the benefit of swimming in terms of complimenting my running. So, we’ll see if cycling becomes my new, second favorite sport.

The only real danger I can think of is wanting to get one of those really nice bicycles so I can head outdoors and cycle with friends.

Do you cross train? What do you do? How do you work it into your schedule? Have you seen benefits?


5 thoughts on “Giving cross-training a try: Cycling

    • Yeah, reading up, it is amazingly true how slow running is to build up and utilize the quads, even after some serious hill repeats. I”m also liking the spin class because it adds a little variety to my workouts.

  1. I actually went biking today just for the sake of biking. I rode a bunch of trails and a good stretch of paved stuff. It was a ton of fun and I can’t believe that I haven’t been doing this for cross training! I will definitely be doing it more often.

    • Awesome. I’ve flirted with the idea of a bike in the past. A friend suggested spinning first. Looks like I might be saving up my money for some new wheels in the fall.

  2. I used to ride my bike to work. Thinking I’d get cross training in on my commute so would ultimately “save time”. But I thought the bike totally shredded my quads. They were ALWAYS sore. I also found that after biking home I’d be too tired to run. So that whole cross training planned totally bombed!

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