Why Cyclists Should Run | Can Running Really Help Your Cycling?

Why Cyclists Should Run | Can Running Really Help Your Cycling?

– Right, brace yourselves. I’m gonna put a quite
controversial case to you. Why cyclists should run. – Run? No, I mean, I know I’m
dressed for the occasion but surely you’ve heard the old saying, never run if you can walk,
never walk if you can stand, never stand if you can sit,
never sit if you can lay down and if you’re laying
down, why not have a nap? – Yeah, okay I agree. So traditionally, running is
seen as chief evil to cyclists. But there are plenty of
good reasons why you should, just occasionally go running and I’m gonna try and convince you, Chris and you guys
– I’m not sure. It’s gonna take a lot of convincing. – Okay, well I’m gonna try. – Let’s go! I guess the main reason
cyclists don’t run is a bad experience. – Yeah, I think a lot of
cyclists maybe in the off season or to try something
different, they try one run and then they hobble around
with their legs in agony for weeks afterwards cause
their muscles just ache so much and trust me, I know how
much your legs ache if you go for a run after months and
months of just cycling. But I also know that that
feeling, does not last forever. Running gives you sore legs
if you’re not used to it because the muscles are
loaded eccentrically, ie while extending. Now, cycling uses the same
muscles but they’re almost entirely loaded only while
contracting which is called concentric loading. Now when a muscle works during extension, it causes much more damage
to the muscle fibers, the muscles do adapt and get used to it but it takes a little time. So if you only ever ride
a bike and never ever run, then the first run you try
is going to make your legs hurt like crazy afterwards. – Running is really great
for balancing out your muscle groups, cycling is a great
sport that’s very specific. And by working these other muscle groups, you help build your long terms fitness that’s great for other
aspects of your life. – [Emma] Cycling is not weight
bearing so if it’s the only sport you do than it can lead
to decreased bone density. Calorie restriction
can contribute to this. If you’re super strict with
keeping your weight low, and why is low bone density a problem? Well because it means your
bones are weaker and you’re at higher risk of
fractures when you crash. Now, supplementing your
cycling with any weight bearing sport will help to
increase your bone density. Now that could be weight
training, or running, or any sport involving running
to avoid these problems. If you hit a low spot with
cycling and you’re fed up with training or even simply riding your bike, it might be that you’re
in need of a mental break. Doubling in a different
sport can be really fun and refreshing. – The off season is a classic
time to try a different sport. But even if you’re in the middle of season working scores are ready to go, it can be beneficial to try
something a little bit different – Yeah, I used to take a week
off mid season most years, normally after the Giro in July. And I always used to go for a few runs that we can, even though
I did feel pretty slow running and my legs hurt
like hell afterwards, I really enjoyed it and then afterwards, second half of the season,
I’ve come back feeling really mentally fresh and much more enthusiastic about racing. – I hope I’m gonna feel the
same after this run, Emma. Cause my legs are killing me! – Yeah, you’re gonna feel
great for the mariturner. – If you have to travel for work, or you’re going on holiday
with family or friends, it’s not always possible
to take a bike with you. – In fact, it’s often really hard, especially on those short business trips where maybe your hotel doesn’t
have a bike high scheme or your gym isn’t state of
the art and doesn’t have those really cool spinning bikes. – Yeah, and time is often
really short in that kind of trip as well, whereas running,
is a really time efficient way to maintain your
cardiovascular fitness and run shoes and a running kit, they just don’t take up very
much space in your luggage. So it’s perfect really. – [Chris] Yeah, and you
can take two or three sets, you can run three times. – [Emma] And no stink – [Chris] Come on, we better get going. – If the only exercise you
do is cycling and lots of it. You might have noticed that
when you get stronger at cycling, you don’t
necessarily get any better at day to day activity. – Absolutely, when I was
training and racing full time, I used to find it absolutely
exhausting taking the dog and the kids out for a walk. – Yeah and when I was racing full time, that was a sacrifice I had to make, but nowadays, not pro anymore, I want to be able to be
sociable I want to you know, go for a hike with my
parents or go for a run with my boy friend or you
know, if you’ve got kids you might want to learn to run
so you can run alongside them so if you can run, you
can do all those things and be sociable! – Makes good sense to me, Emma. – It does.
– How bout we get going? – Oh man, I’m knockered, we’re running– – It’s your idea! Let’s talk about the weather. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan
of cycling in the rain, especially now it’s not my job. Even with the best kit,
I still don’t fancy getting a wet bum. – No, it’s true. Riding in the rain really does suck but running in the rain is strangely fine. I mean, don’t even get me
started on cycling in the snow or worst of all in my opinion, sleet. – Uch!
– Uch! But now it’s not really my job
to try to be fast on a bike, I actually love the fact that
when the weather’s crappy, not like today. – I don’t know, there
were clouds over there. – Yeah, I’m not too
worried about those clouds but anyway, when the weather’s bad, I don’t have to go out and
freeze my backside off, on a bike, I can go running and stay warm, and enjoy it! – [Chris] Yeah, that kinda
makes good sense to me. – Did I fail to mention
already that running is just really fun! – But it hurts! It hurts like mad! – Yeah, that only lasts
a few weeks, Chris. Then you’ll feel fine and
you’ll be so much stronger! – A few weeks, Emma? – I need to get him
tired for the maratona. – A few words of caution
though if you’re starting out running for the first time and you’re a pure cyclist. Your cardiovascular fitness
will be of low limit to you but your joints and muscles
will need time to adapt. So, start small and build up gently. – Yep, in fact I would advise against starting running in the middle of your season or before a target event because that muscle soreness will really tip the top end off your cycling pace so maybe try starting
off in the off season, as cross training or in
your mid season break. And if you come and keep
running like maybe once a week during the cycling season, you won’t ever get that
muscle soreness again. But just taper off before any big events. – Sensible advice, Emma. Hopefully this video will
inspire you to try and mix up your training just a little
bit more than normal. – Yep, let us know in the
comments if you love running like I clearly do. Or if you like any other
kind of cross training. And if you like seeing
cool videos on how to run and how to get into running,
click down here for some of GCN’s really good content.

100 thoughts on “Why Cyclists Should Run | Can Running Really Help Your Cycling?

  1. as I sit here nursing a pulled muscle on my hip which will now keep me off my bike for three weeks I do wonder if I should have done that 10Km run !!!

  2. I have no issues with my cardio fitness where riding is concerned and can easily complete a century, but run out of puff quite quickly (within 5K) when I'm running.

    Can't quite figure out why, but I just seem to be really bad at it.

  3. I can't be the only one that actually likes the sore muscles from the occasionally run (lumbering job is more like it). Makes me aware that I actually convinced my body to do something it's not accustomed to doing.

  4. I get burned out doing only cycling 10-14 hours a week all year long. So I run, swim, xc ski and hike. I really enjoy running, but I came to cycling from running.

  5. I wish I would have seen this a week ago! I was off on vacation (without a bike) and after two days of too much food and holiday cheer, I decided to go for a run. I ran a half marathon having not gone for a run in over a year. You're right, they are different muscles and from a cardiovascular standpoint, I wasn't held back. Two days later, I can still barely walk! I was, however, able to ride 65 miles the day after running without much trouble.

  6. Run? What is this run you talk about? Funny, my partner gave up running to start riding. Knees were giving up!!
    Also, does Emm have tight left hamstring?

  7. Cyclists can gain a lot through yoga. BTW, loved the comment about 'off season' — living in the SF Bay Area, we don't really have such a thing 😉

  8. I changed to cycling when my physiotherapist advised me to start a non impact sport. Nevertheless, after I have been told by you and recently also by friend of mine how running complements cycling, I tried it after two years of absence form the sport. Everything you promised happened. I am now looking forward to the day when the pain disappears :-)).

  9. good video! I do both about equal but have competed a lot in road racing, half marathon and 5K. I love cycling and running equally.

  10. My general annual plan is:

    Running – Jan-March with a goal HM at the end of March.

    Cycling – April-September with lots of club TTs

    Duathlon – October-November

    Whatever I feel like for the last ~6 weeks of the year (Off-season).

    Doing that this year led me to: 1:34 Half (March), 22:01 10 mile TT (September), 19:56 5k (October), 3:19 Ballbuster (November). 🙂

  11. A timely video, thanks. I just started running a couple of months ago. It hurt & has been hard. The comment at 4:57 sums it up. I've had to focus on running technique (pulling unweighted leg forward rather than driving of rear leg) to slow down & reduce injury. I can now run without muscle & tendon pain but the joints take 1km to loosen up each run & the impact on the knees is coming along slowly. I find running on grass helps to reduce impact.

  12. This morning it was foggy and just a couple of degrees north of freezing. There's no way I could have enjoyed riding like I did trail running 12 miles with my Lab! Never cold once! And a foggy winter forest? Delicious, quiet, nice air…

  13. Absolutely. The two, while they don’t directly improve the other, do so indirectly. My own personal experience is that running makes my legs stronger for cycling and cycling makes my lungs/cardio stronger for running. I need a little bit of impact and bone density from running for the bike and I just can’t seem to get in shape as well cardiovascularly than through cycling. Cross training works, which is why people do it.

  14. Boring ass running just don't get what people see in it. Give me my bike any day of the week. You can blend different hobbies with it like photography and travel further than you ever could running and just because your a quick runner doesn't mean you will be a quick cyclist. There are a fed runners in the cycling group I ride with and they're among the slowest members of the group.

  15. As a triathlete, this put a smile on my face. There’s Nothing better than busting out a quick marathon off the back of a 180k TT.

  16. As a physiotherapist, usually I’m disappointed by the content of these clips where athletes try to explain exercise physiology. But, this was quite bright, mostly: Many good points. However, I will point out that the description of concentric exercise as “when a muscle contracts” and eccentric exercise as “when a muscle extends” is inaccurate. That’s not the correct use of the word extend/extension. And both concentric and eccentric are contractions. The correct difference is as follows. Concentric contraction is when the muscle is shortening. Eccentric contraction is when the muscle is lengthening. Cycling is entirely concentric for the leg muscles unless you’re slowing down on a fixie or landing jumps. Running has an eccentric component for the glutes, quads and calf muscles as you land and absorb load. But, there’s also concentric contraction, especially when running fast, or up hills as was mostly demonstrated in the video. The concentric vs. Eccentric difference is just one of many reasons cyclists get sore when they run.
    With respect to whether cyclists should run or not, it comes down to one main question: do you want to be able to run? If you want to be able to run reasonably well, then do some running. It’s not terribly good for injury prevention or performance in cycling.

  17. My bones turned to mush after the last 15 years mostly cycling and swimming. OK, I did walk 2,000 miles in 2015 on the Pacific Crest Trail, but not more than 25 miles a week since then. I'm as sturdy as an amoeba.
    This GCN video induced me to begin running. I've run 1.8 miles every day for five days now. No. Wait. I didn't really run. I shuffled, keeping my stride short to minimize the trauma to my quads, which suffered greatly in past efforts to add running to my life. I only really hurt after the second run.
    Hm. I can see 1.9 mile runs in my future.

  18. I find that i can run 7 miles at ease with cycling. As in going 4/5 months without running, then deciding to run for a change its kinda easy.

  19. Yes but, cycling does have benefits and can be paired with other activities if running is too damaging to your joints

  20. UGHH Fine I'll try running again. The last time I trail ran, my legs were sore for a week! Though it probably didn't help that I went with someone who runs more often!

  21. I tried it. Even entered a triathlon and won my age group(60 – 70), then injured my achilles trail running. That was 9 months ago, with very little healing to date I was told, if you run, you will experience injury, now I'm listening. And I am done with running.

  22. Running is to me a good complement to cycling in the off season. It maintains and maybe improves you cardio. It's also a good way to lose some kilos in long term so that you can climb faster in the summer. Beware of the pain in your legs when you're not used to bear your weight. I can testify that i had some troubles the past few weeks when i came back to running.

  23. It's also worth saying don't land on the heel of your foot. I used to get knee issues after running, until I saw a video on YouTube on ruining technique. It said to land on the ball of your foot, with your foot landing underneath you not in front. If you land on your heel with your foot ahead of you then you are basically putting on the brakes, each the start of each step

  24. run ? I used to ride so much, I had trouble walking…my legs would be following a circular motion path
    (true story !)

  25. I have started running this week ( mostly because of this video) , 3 runs in and walking down stairs is a struggle! i remember when i first started cycling my legs would hurt like hell for a day or two especially after big climbs so i guess im just gona have to be patient, but please reassure me that my legs will get used to it soon?

  26. When i cant spend two hours on the bike, Ill go on a run to sustain my lungs and aerobic health, which is exactly what cycling is all about.

  27. Can Low-Impact Sports Like Cycling Be Putting Your Bones at Risk?
    Research has raised concerns that activities like cycling and swimming may put too little pressure on bones.see nytimes, even if it doesn't help cycling speed it might protect you from fractures. I broke hip @ age 60 in simple fall .Gave up running after back injury 30 years ago. Will start short runs again.

  28. I'm a big fan of running off road, really helps with the CX season. I think it's a really good idea if you can't be bothered to go out for hours on the bike and get all your kit etc sorted. Just put your trainers on and head out for 30 mins

  29. Another bonus with running, is in my country most mass participation running/ walking events are way cheaper than cycling events, probably because more people run and or walk. The price of events is always a major factor if you don't have much money to spare

  30. I run as cross training for mountain biking. I also run while I'm travelling. It's nice to just throw on some clothes, shoes and go running, wheras with cycling it takes more take to get out.

  31. They go together like ham and cheese – once you get over the initial adaptation to doing both, and provided you ease into it, give your body time to adapt, and get rid of any wonky asymmetries or anatomical wackiness in your stride. I feel sorry for anyone who cannot do a long ride or run in beautiful country – for what they are missing.
    The poor part of the video is the "once a week" advice – that's insufficient frequency to ever really adapt and begin to enjoy or benefit from "the other" sport. Run 3, Ride 3 or 4 days per week is a good, workable balance.

  32. I am a runner who uses cycling when I'm not running or doing very little running. I've found it easier to go from running to cycling than cycling back to running.

  33. I sweat more in running than biking but I love doing them both while cycling is like I am flying specially in descend. I lift wts and I am concious of my bone density decreasing as age so I do exercise too for that.
    Life is just so beautiful my nephew tells me life is exercise for me.

  34. I came into cycling from trail running. It's what our bodies evolved to do in order to survive. Any human that can should run.

  35. Should runners do cycling though? I always found cycling to be 2nd rate compared to running for overall fitness

  36. Why cyclists should run? To become duathletes. Then start swimming on the side too and become an ironman/Ironwoman/lady whatever the going term is

  37. Took the plunge and went for a run for the first time in two years while on a business trip the other morning, immediately noticed that the further I ran the more my legs hurt and in the end I walked with a limp the entire rest of the day and have been living with rubber legs for the last couple

  38. Im a duathlete and have been running and riding for 30 years. I find that running helps my cycling and cycling helps my running for sure.

  39. I can’t run without causing pain, I’m trying to get over my knee pain from my running. This has caused me to get occasional knee pain on the bike when I’m putting down power

  40. Running is only fun after ya get use to it otherwise it sucks. Once ya get use to it ya can do like 9 miles and not feel that tired

  41. Not true.. i was running for 6 month in army .. and the pain was with me in my muscles for 6 month .. after that i thank god i done it

  42. Running should rarely be the first choice. The only valid reason to leave the bike at home in favor of running is to do some minimal time at "over-under" threshold training to improve perceived exertion "sense" and translate that to pacing oneself on the bike. That's true also for triathletes. The 'balanced muscle group' thing is specious and really only applies to people with discernible problems in left-right balance or something diagnosed by a medical doctor.

  43. Absolutely fundamental to being human is running, once a week for 30 mins is enough as cycling is 100% more fun, i tend to run off road as its better for your joints, beach or any trail you can find. Fitness is not defined by the sport you do more by your bodies adaptability to different hobbies, unless you are a professional cyclist that is. Really good video, most importantly start small and build after a few runs your body should adapt👌

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