» 5 Benefits of Cycling for Runners

5 Benefits of Cycling for Runners

August 12, 2012 | Steven McElwee

Over the past week, I have had pain in the back of my heel. It was so bad a week ago, that I was not able to run. The next week, I was traveling to Virginia, and despite my strong desire to run and explore the area, I resigned myself to the hotel’s fitness center. It was one of the best things that could have happened for my training.

In the fitness center, I did not even attempt the treadmill but instead chose the stationary bike. What I found was a no-impact way to get a good cardiovascular workout. I did not think I would have enjoyed it, but after 20 minutes, I was hooked. I tried the elliptical machine too, but I have settled into cycling for cross-training, and here’s why.

  1. Most trainers I have read, who talk about cross-training, highly recommend cycling. They say that it strengthens your knees in a way that running does not. It develops parts of your legs that help improve your stability and prevent injuries.
  2. Cycling has no impact on bones and joints. It allows you to get a very good workout between your running days without causing sore feet and knees.
  3. Cycling is something you can do with friends and family who are not fitness enthusiasts. Lots of people will ride with you just because it is fun to ride bikes.
  4. You can ride outdoors or indoors. If you want to get out and enjoy fresh air on a beautiful day, you can just hop on your bike and ride. At the same time, with an indoor, stationary bike, you can get a good workout indoors while watching TV or listening to music in any weather.
  5. Stationary bikes are affordable. If you are investing in cardio equipment for cross-training, a stationary bike costs far less than a treadmill or elliptical machine. I picked one up on sale at Sears for about $200.

I’m planning to run three days and cycle three days each week. I’ll keep you posted on any improvements it makes in my running speed and stamina.

What about you? Are you using cycling for cross-training? Please let me know how it’s working for you in the comments.

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