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  • Cycling to Improve Running?

    Does anyone here incorporate cycling or other forms of cardio into their running/workout plan? I've begun considering it ever since I started experiencing some knee pain a few weeks ago. I'm looking for a way to put less stress on my joints while still making progress on my 2 mile run time.

    I've heard from some people that cycling is in no way beneficial to reducing your run time and can actually be counter-productive... Is there any truth to that statement? That doesn't make sense to me, but I'm fairly new to this.

    If any of you include cycling, swimming, yoga etc. into your workout plan, could you please post your routine? Any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

    I can't speak to the effectiveness of biking for running, but IMHO, intense cardio of some kind is better than none - especially if you are injured or dealing with joint pain etc. A good pair of running shoes can help too.

    I started doing yoga abt 4 months before I shipped out - I went twice a week and found it really helped lessen post workout pain and improve flexibility. By the time I got to OSUT I knew enough stretches I was able to do 5 mins of them before going to bed, and I had zero injury through all of training.

    What sort of stretching are you doing atm with your workouts?

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    • #3
      Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

      Right now I just do some basic calf, hamstring and shoulder stretches because they are the only stretches I actually know how to do. (I'm sorry that's such a vague description.) I've never really been taught any warm up techniques, which is probably a large part of my problem.

      That's good to hear that yoga helped you with pain and flexibility. I will probably begin an at-home program since paying for a class isn't really an option right now.

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      • #4
        Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

        Biking - especially spinning (and not just your run of the mill exercise bike) can help with your cardio threshold while not adding the impact on your joints. As for your running, I would make sure that you are watching how you plant your feet to avoid the painful aftermath. Keep your strides shorter so your feet stay underneath you - this will mean that you are landing on the balls of your feet, picking your knees up and NOT landing with your heel first. If you are running using this "mid-foot" stride, it shouldn't be painful. You can google "mid-foot" to get a better idea of the technique.
        I'm a distance runner myself, and I run 4 days a week and spin 2x to keep my my cardio without the impact. I'm no Olympic athlete, but I've found it to be a good plan for me to keep conditioned. Kudos to the yoga, too! Works wonders on the body and mind!
        PM me if you have questions

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        • #5
          Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

          I incorporate biking(stationary) into my workout routine between run days. In addtion to biking I do a lot of elliptical, stair master and ruckmarching. I'm a 12.00 min 2 mile runner, so at this point I don't see any gains in running by using the bike or any other form of cardio besides running. I cross train the cardio to keep things interesting and to increase my cardio threshold. However, back when I used to run 16.00 min 2 miles I found that the bike and elliptical did help significantly in reducing my run times.

          Getting on a good running plan that is progressive in mileage is important, and getting a couple rest days is VERY important. There could be many reasons why you are experiencing knee pain, for the best answer to that problem you should see a specialist. Some possible solutions are your running form as mentioned by selmore, your running shoes, your weight(if you are overweight) and the surface you are running on. For shoes you want the right shoes for your feet. Not all running shoes are created equal, I highly suggest going to a running shoe store where they watch you run and help you select the right shoe for you. Chances are they can make a custom insole for you too which will go a long way at helping prevent joint problems and shin splints. Pay attention to the surface you are running on as well, if you have the option to run on the black asphalt as opposed to the concrete side walk run on the asphalt.

          Research stretching techniques! Not only does increasing flexibility reduce the chances of injury but it increases your stride which in turn increases your speed. Very very light stretch before you run and a good thorough stretch after you are done running.

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          • #6
            Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

            Wow, thanks everyone for the helpful information!

            My plan for now is to continue my 5 day a week running plan, adding in some better stretching techniques and starting a yoga program. I also plan to start biking on my rest days. I'll also try to work on my running technique, since my natural stride somewhat resembles a penguin when I run.

            After thinking about it, most of my running is done on a concrete sidewalk with a lot of hills. I live close to a high school, so I'll make use of the track and see if the knee pain subsides.

            Thanks everyone again!
            Last edited by roseagle; April 9th, 2012, 11:27 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

              If you are new to running I highly suggest against running 5 days a week. 4 days would be the max until your body can get used to the mileage, 3 would be ideal for now. I run marathons and I'm currently training for an ultra in December. I only run a MAXUMIM of 5 days a week and my weekly mileage is pretty high. Rest days are very very important. You can do cardio 5 days a week but you should have at least 2 days of complete rest. You actually see the best gains and the most improvement on your off days. Rest your body and get a good amount of sleep.

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              • #8
                Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

                I've been a cyclist for many years, but not a runner. I'm currently on my second week of Couch to 5k and I think its a great program to start, if you have enough time. I have 5.5 months until I ship so I can afford to take it slow and build up. I think the cycling will help with your cardio for sure. I can really tell a difference when I haven't been on the bike in a while in all of my other activities. I also hike 1 or 2 times a week and there is this fairly brutal trail close to our house that we always do....straight up with huge rocks to step up on...serious stairmaster for about a mile. Anyway, when I'm not cycling (or running) I just feel like I'm gonna die getting up that thing, whereas if I have another cardio thing going on I can really tell the difference.

                I think cross training is hugely important. And yes if you can throw yoga in even one day a week I think that would help too. Good luck!

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                • #9
                  Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

                  Best thing to do: Swimming. swimming is an amazing way to work your entire body, and is easy on your body-long term, and allows it to rest after running the day before. (minimizes "stress injuries")

                  Cycling is a good way to rest between running days, however, impact overall on the body is minimal compared to other choices such as swimming. So it's up to you. But if you want to get better a running, you just got to run. And run and run and run some more!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

                    I'm locked from editing my posts now?

                    Anyways,

                    If you want to improve running, but want a break between running, swimming as mentioned is a great way to go about doing it. Other physical activities that help with cardio:
                    • Shovelling sand and gravel
                    • Walking with 15lb dumbbells or kettlebells at a brisk pace
                    • Low crawling back and fourth on a football field or plains. (Crawling is a full body activity, it actually burns more calories and is higher cardio than even running or swimming, especially at high paces)
                    • Carrying sand bags back and fourth 50-200 ft at a time, stacking them, repeat for x times and x time.
                    • Digging trenches
                    • Running lumber
                    • Cutting firewood
                    • Pulling/ pushing a car (have someone on the steering wheel, and do not go onto public roads if you do try this)
                    • Pulling a trailor
                    • Pulling a riding lawnmower (with engine disabled) with a rope around the block for kids. (neighbors would most likely appreciate it, and kids seem to have a lot of fun, just watch your heels and distance of the rope, and when you slow down, slow down gradually)


                    If you want a break from running, but want sometime of resting period, but wish to still build cardio, these are other activities that do help.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

                      Originally posted by FutureEngineer View Post
                      I'm locked from editing my posts now?
                      Might be a post needing moderator approval or a forum specific issue. Otherwise no individual has such limitations.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

                        Originally posted by FutureEngineer View Post
                        I'm locked from editing my posts now?

                        Anyways,

                        If you want to improve running, but want a break between running, swimming as mentioned is a great way to go about doing it. Other physical activities that help with cardio:
                        • Digging trenches
                        • Running lumber
                        • Pulling/ pushing a car (have someone on the steering wheel, and do not go onto public roads if you do try this)
                        • Pulling a trailor
                        • Pulling a riding lawnmower (with engine disabled) with a rope around the block for kids. (neighbors would most likely appreciate it, and kids seem to have a lot of fun, just watch your heels and distance of the rope, and when you slow down, slow down gradually)
                        Have you been spying on my workouts?? LMAO Are you for real? Not knowing the OP's current fitness level, he could get seriously hurt simply trying any of these.....

                        Safety First!


                        Oh, and so I don't get in trouble for not contributing....

                        P90X
                        Last edited by Chris36; April 12th, 2012, 08:58 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

                          Originally posted by Chris36 View Post
                          Have you been spying on my workouts?? LMAO Are you for real? Not knowing the OP's current fitness level, he could get seriously hurt simply trying any of these.....

                          Safety First!


                          Oh, and so I don't in trouble for not contributing....

                          P90X
                          P90X is extremely high intensity doing it to pace. He is looking for a break in running, that said, in the case of P90X, I'd rather go with crossfit, IME it is more diversified. That said, if his physical condition is that bad, he needs to see a doctor regardless of circumstances to do anything at all.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

                            Originally posted by FutureEngineer View Post
                            P90X is extremely high intensity doing it to pace. He is looking for a break in running, that said, in the case of P90X, I'd rather go with crossfit, IME it is more diversified. That said, if his physical condition is that bad, he needs to see a doctor regardless of circumstances to do anything at all.
                            You could've just said Crossfit instead of recommending events like pulling large objects over long distances. There are easier ways to ruin your back. Like picking rocks.

                            I'm in decent running shape and there's no way I'd attempt any of the events you recommended.

                            That said, Crossfit is good.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Cycling to Improve Running?

                              Originally posted by Daric Wade View Post
                              You could've just said Crossfit instead of recommending events like pulling large objects over long distances. There are easier ways to ruin your back. Like picking rocks.

                              I'm in decent running shape and there's no way I'd attempt any of the events you recommended.

                              That said, Crossfit is good.
                              Because normally, when people don't have the $$$ to hire out to do said things, they do that kind of work normally just working in the yard, building a shed, digging a drainage ditch, going under the house to re-run their piping, etc. The "workout activities" I listed, are all daily activities a lot of people do on a daily/weekly routine. Not everyone has gas or electric heating, hense the firewood chopping being listed, etc.

                              Laborers, Plumbers, Carpenters, even Mechanics to labor work to that regard. (How heavy do you think the wheels on your HMMWV weigh? That Armored plate on your MRAP that had to be removed to access the engine? the headlight assembly to replace it?) I simply listed typical, everyday tasks. If you are afraid to injure yourself that much, I can't see how one could even push their lawnmower to mow the lawn. Or be worth anything at all in their own household.

                              That said, crossfit is good. I've enjoyed it.

                              Also, if you're using your back in anyway, or you feel anykind of stress or sensation in your back, you're doing it all wrong. Even shoveling, your legs should be the base of support, and you should have minimal twisting of the waist, and no stress on your back. In every exorsize I listed, in no way should you be using your back.
                              Last edited by FutureEngineer; April 11th, 2012, 10:57 PM.

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