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Increasing running mileage vs adding some light biking (Read 1591 times)

    For road cycling at least, isn't the upper/core stuff just positional?  You're leaned over the handlebars holding yourself up for hours on end.  I don't really consider that "working" the muscles.  At least the way I rode I was rarely out of the saddle pumping on the bike like I was climbing the Alps or anything, it was flat where I rode.

     

    Cycling is funny. It relies on a strong core (abs/back) but does very little to help develop that core. If your core is already strong from other activities you might never notice. Your lack of excess movement in the saddle demonstrates that. People with a weak core are prone to excess movement in the saddle. Excessive movement has a negative impact on pedal stroke and causes energy to be wasted which results in slowness and fatigue. Therefore, while a strong core might not make you faster a weak one will probably make you slower.

      FWIW, I got injured in mid-February and spent the bulk of this summer cycling instead of running.  I'd just run a pretty all-out 5k in 20:41 two weeks before the injury.  My log's public, so you can see what little running and jog-walking I did.  In October, I ran a 20:55.

       

      Unlike spaniel, I found cycling worked more than merely my quads.  Maybe it depends on bike fit, or cadence, or gearing, I dunno ... but I could get a decent lower-body workout from riding.  And I definitely felt some upper-body involvement, although not to the level of strength training or anything.

       

       

      Everyone's different.  For me, the limiting factor with increased mileage or intensity seems to be bones and connective tissue, not muscle.  So I think *I* could benefit from increased volume via cycling more than running if I'm near my workload limit.  YMMV.

      “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman


      Feeling the growl again

        I definitely feel it in my quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves when I do a long, higher effort ride.  Again it's probably a YMMV kind of deal and probably has a lot to do with the geometry of the bike and the rider's position.

         

        As far as the arm workout, people who lock their elbows are not likely to experience the triceps soreness, but they are going to transfer every bump and ripple in the road to their skeleton.  With elbows slightly bent a person is essentially doing small tricep dips during their entire ride, assuming they aren't using aerobars or sitting relatively upright.  The bent elbows also forces the core muscles to work a lot harder.  I steer with body english as much as I do with my arms...perhaps more.

         

        Perhaps my position stunk, who knows.  Not like I had anyone to teach me, I just rode.  My first road bike was a frame size too big even.

         

        My cycling days overlapped my heavy weightlifting days, so my upper body was probably fit enough that I just never felt anything from it.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

          I am currently running around 60mpw and have been doing so for the past 2 months approx. I am trying to run a sub 3 hour marathon as my primary goal. However, I would also like to start doing some biking as I have some triathlon goals as well in the future. I have been doing the usual mix of long, tempo, and intervals with easy runs on my other days. To push the mileage higher I would run easy miles. Would say 10 extra easy miles benefit me any further for running as opposed to biking easy on my down days. Thanks

          My short answer would be; why not do 3~5 times a week of doubles?  But the long answer would be--more on the line of what Jeff had said--; is your goal adding 10 extra miles a week or to run better (sub-3)?  What makes you think adding extra 10 would make it possible for you to achieve that goal?  Or are you just saying that?  If you evaluate your own physical make-ups and past history of performances and training pattern, and realize that you'd need some more weekly miles, fine.  But just throwing that to the table, regardless of how good of a advice it may seem at the time, is nothing but a crap-shooting approach.  You don't get injured by running more IF the progress matches your own development.  If not, if you're pushing beyond your own development process, you WILL get hurt whether you're running 20MPW or even less.  On the other hand, if you're doing it right, you won't even get hurt running 120MPW.

           

          To me, just throwing added exercise of cycling is another crap-shooting.  It's, to me, like saying; "Well, I'm going to make chicken curry tonight so I'll buy some pork..."  I mean, why?  This is the hardest thing I have to understand here--so many people do that.  They want to run better by doing something other than running.  I mean, if you don't like to run that much, fine.  That, to me, is a legitimate reason.  "I don't like running that much and I want to do other things..."  Fine.  But people don't say that because somewhere deep down, they DO know that it's rather embarrassing to admit that.  They know it ain't right.  So they would come up with some excuse.  There's no ifs or butts to it; best exercise you can do for running is running.  So if you CAN run, go run; and run more.  60MPW is a high school level.  If you are smart about it, you shouldn't get hurt.  

           

          This is, by the way, NOT to say cycling WON'T help.  I think it does and it does pretty well.  It is one of the best aerobic exercises, it's non-weight bearing, no pouring...  And you can do hours if you want to.  It's easier to do.  My wife went for a bike ride with her friends 2 weeks after her open-tummy surgery (which wasn't very smart...) and she did it for 2 hours.  At the time, she couldn't even run for 15 minutes!  So you can get a looooong exercise in without hurting yourself; which would help your aerobic development regardless.  And, unlike some folks here, I believe cycling is a great strength training FOR SPEED DEVELOPMENT.  Cycling is a great substitute for uphill running--if you chose to make it that way--which is a speed training in disguise.  The fact you can go the distance is also another good point--HOWEVER, I know some people use "I don't have time" as an excuse for leaning toward a training program such as FIRST which actually suggest you do cross training such as cycling in between, I found out that you'd need to do almost 3 times longer to gain the same aerobic benefit as running.  So in order to get an hour's running benefit, you'll have to ride for 3 hours.  No scientific backing; just my personal experience.

           

          The bottom line; if your goal is to break 3-hours, it's not so much, could be of course, the matter of increasing the weekly mileage from 60 to 70; you just have to train correctly, in a good balance, and strengthen your weaknesses--evaluating what your weaknesses are--and train appropriately to your own development and make sure you taper enough so you won't have dead legs by the time you get to the start.

           

          There are more to running well than just adding more mileage.

            And, unlike some folks here, I believe cycling is a great strength training FOR SPEED DEVELOPMENT.  

             

            You mean me? As for developing running speed with cycling...I'm not there yet but I like the concept. Just in the posts above I think we're seeing different people getting varying results, probably due to various starting points and goal outcomes. I suspect one of the reasons why cycling has been good for my endurance is because it works the oxygen transport system (laying capillary beds) similar to running. As I'm coming back from an almost 5 month running layoff I'm thankful for all the endurance I've maintained with cycling, especially since I've lost lots of running speed (which will come back with more running). I suppose if I had been much less run fit to start with I might have reported that cycling made me faster.

              You mean me? As for developing running speed with cycling...I'm not there yet but I like the concept. Just in the posts above I think we're seeing different people getting varying results, probably due to various starting points and goal outcomes. I suspect one of the reasons why cycling has been good for my endurance is because it works the oxygen transport system (laying capillary beds) similar to running. As I'm coming back from an almost 5 month running layoff I'm thankful for all the endurance I've maintained with cycling, especially since I've lost lots of running speed (which will come back with more running). I suppose if I had been much less run fit to start with I might have reported that cycling made me faster.

              No, actually I didn't have you in mind! ;o)  I think you actually nailed it; it all depends.  I mean, I think cycling can be a great tool for developing aerobic capacity and, like I said, it SHOULD help for speed development too.  Maybe you can do well with 5k race???  But, once again, this is where event specificity kicks in, for marathon, well, a huge part of running a marathon well is the ability to take poundings.  There's no pounding involved in cycling.  If VO2Max, or oxygen carrying capacity ALONE can make you a champion marathon runner, then Lance should have done a tad better.  But I believe he did say, after his first marathon, that he didn't expect his legs to take such beatings.  He did alright--in fact, better than I had expected and gained a hell of a lot more respect from me since he ran, I think, 5 or 10 seconds faster than my first marathon!! ;o)  But that's the thing; if OP's goal is to run a good marathon, then I'm not sure substituting running with cycling is really a good idea.  I know zoomy said something about upper-body strength.  Sure, it would probably help your upper body strength.  But would upper body strength help you run a better marathon?  Again, we're getting into the territory of "I wanna make chicken curry so I'm going to buy some pork..."  C'mon, folks.  Focus.  What do you want to achieve and what that particular activity help you to achieve?  

               

              By the way, some of you guys remember that Japanese runner, Kawauchi.  He has become a hero figure in the US as well because he's an "amateur" runner, has a full-time job and doesn't run a lot--once a day is all he could manage I guess...  So I noticed a lot of American guys (Japanese too I'm sure) embraced him.  He's the living example that you don't have to run a lot!!  Well, he just ran Fukuoka Marathon on the first weekend of December, ran 2:09 something and almost got the Olympic spot (not sure yet).  He ran Osaka marathon a month or so before Fukuoka and I remember thinking, well, he seems to "run a lot"...  He just ran another full marathon in 2:12 this weekend and he's already announced he's running Tokyo Marathon in February.  Well, so much for "he doesn't run a lot..."  The point is; you've got to look at things in perspective.  


              Needs more cowbell!

                Perhaps my position stunk, who knows.  Not like I had anyone to teach me, I just rode.  My first road bike was a frame size too big even.

                 

                The wrong size is pretty much guaranteed to work the wrong muscles or, rather, stress a single group overly much (especially a bike that is too big, vs. too small).  If your quads were taking the brunt, then I suspect your saddle was too low, as well.  That is almost guaranteed to piss one's quads and knees off in short order.  And it's amazing how much the difference of only a cm can make in terms of bike fit/comfort.  I went through a ton of saddles before we switched my stem out to one 10mm shorter...it was like magic!

                I shoot pretty things! ~

                '14 Goals:

                • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                   After reading all the replies I think it is pretty obvious since my mail goal is a sub 3 hour marathon I need to just focus on that for the time being. The extra 10 miles was kinda arbitrary. I read somewhere that for most people that up to 70 mpw is where most of the gains from running come and after that injury etc is more likely with slower gains. I will just add 2 easy runs to my current schedule as doubles and I will have approx 70 mpw.  Some very knowledgeable people around here. thanks for the input. 


                  Feeling the growl again

                     I read somewhere that for most people that up to 70 mpw is where most of the gains from running come and after that injury etc is more likely with slower gains.

                     

                    FWIW this is not true.  It's very individual.  For me 70 mpw turned out to be a sot of "magic threshhold" where things really started to happen and improvements were major.  Going from 50 to 60 mpw not much difference, going from say 65 to 75 mpw definitely major benefit.

                     

                    YMMV.  Experiment of one, so go experiment.  Wink

                    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                     

                    Scout7


                    CPT Curmudgeon

                      Any triathlete will tell you that biking fitness translates well into run fitness, where as run fitness does not help bike fitness much if at all.

                       

                      Just to pile on here, but I have seen a number of triathletes, including some top AG racers, who would argue exactly the opposite.

                       

                      In fact, here's just such a discussion.

                        Just to pile on here, but I have seen a number of triathletes, including some top AG racers, who would argue exactly the opposite.

                         

                        In fact, here's just such a discussion.

                         

                        Thanks Scout...I was going to call this out earlier. Nice link.

                        www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building

                          Just to pile on here, but I have seen a number of triathletes, including some top AG racers, who would argue exactly the opposite.

                           

                          In fact, here's just such a discussion.

                           

                          I'm not sure I get it, nor understand the link that you provided.  It seems like that's another forum of some unknown people saying things similar to what the "somewhat" unknown people here on RA are saying.  

                          Who knows whether any of them (or any of us) know what we're talking about?

                           

                          (In other words, I'm not any closer to an answer to the riddle than I was before I read this post or its link).

                          2014 Goals:

                          #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                          #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                           

                            (I don't know much...)

                            I think when the triathlon guru's proclaim that "biking helps running fitness", they mean that the biking endurance and seat time are great preparation for the 11+ hour Ironman triathlon. 

                            Cycling helps maintain a consistent and managed HR (goal #1 of endurance training), and enables long workouts (5+ hours) without forcing long workouts with the strain and stress of running.

                            When running while multi-sport training, the consistent and managed HR has been established (through the bike training), and the miles of running are done at a decent effort and decent pace, and the cycling improves the running. 

                             

                            To "Go Long", the biking helps running the triathlon marathon. 

                            To "Go Fast", I'm not sure that cycling helps

                            (... And I recognize that I may have said something totally different before, and I may say something totally different in the future... because I don't know much).

                             

                            I'd guess that HuskerRunner's goals are the 3 hour marathon right now, and with that, I'd suggest doing what good marathoners do (and that's run, and listen to the advice of fast runners and their training techniques). 

                            If the goals migrate to figuring out how to have a high effort for a very long time (ie. 10+ hours), I'd suggest getting a lot of cycling time in (as Burnt Toast recommends).

                             

                            Cheers,
                            Brian

                             

                            My understanding hasn't changed from when I wrote this a couple days ago.

                            Cycling focus on Ironman is because 10+ hour endurance is likely a key limiter.  I think this approach and thinking is different from the saying that cycling makes you a better runner.  Cycling endurance, though, will make you a better triathlete...

                             

                            I thought I'd add some quotes from my favorite book (Going Long by Joe Friel) and training guide... 

                             

                            "Running fitness is meaningless if you are too tired to use it.  Marathon performance for this event is built on superior cycling fitness." pg10.

                            "Cycling accounts for nearly half of your race day, and it forms the core of an effective training strategy for all long-distance triathletes." pg123.

                            "Overall, Ironman-distance racing is not about being fast.  It is about being able to swim smart, ride strong, and run tough.  Many athletes believe that they need to run hard and run a lot to perform well.  Run training is important, but it is not the key to success." pg32.

                            "For an experienced athlete, the key physiological limiter is nearly always cycling muscular endurance." pg61.

                            "Of the three sports in triathlon, running is the most stressful on the body.  It is also the sport that appears to cause the majority of injuries in both novice and experienced athletes.  For this reason, you should approach run training with caution.  There is nothing 'fast' about running well in an Ironman-distance triathlon; even the fastest competitors are running below their open marathon fitness level." pg161.

                            2014 Goals:

                            #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                            #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                             

                              Brian

                               

                              I don't think anyone can argue with the logic or reasoning behind the excerpts you quoted from Joel Friel.

                               

                              I think what Scout and certainly myself take exception with is the comment below about running fitness not translating to biking fitness. (not that it has anything to do with the OP)

                               

                               

                              Any triathlete will tell you that biking fitness translates well into run fitness, where as run fitness does not help bike fitness much if at all.

                               

                               This has not been my personal experience. In fact, a simple excercise of running an all out 4k and then hoping on the bike will show you pretty quickly that there are many common muscle groups shared by both activities.

                               

                              I'm a much stronger cyclist than I am a runner. In the past four years my focus has pretty much been on running. With out any specific bike training I was able to set a new 40k time trial PR.  I was pleasantly suprised last Feb to find that I could hang with the big dogs in a metric century on nothing more than a daily bike commute. I also realize that my personal experience in no way proves a damn thing.

                              www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building

                                Just to pile on here, but I have seen a number of triathletes, including some top AG racers, who would argue exactly the opposite.

                                 

                                In fact, here's just such a discussion.

                                 

                                You left out the first part of my post where I said "Id go with the extra biking, especially if triathlon is in your future."

                                 

                                The key here is the op said he wanted to start biking because he has some triathlon goals in the future as well as a marathon race. It doesn't matter how fast a runner you are if you're in no shape to run after you get off your bike.

                                 

                                Others had already told him that he needs to be wary of adding additional mileage and that biking may be a good option to supplement his workouts.

                                 

                                It also makes sense that top AGer's would recommend more running if they wanted to improve there running since they is already doing lots of cycling. More cycling for that person will not benefit them, but a novice triathlete's running will benefit from more cycling.

                                 

                                The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

                                 

                                2014 Goals:

                                 

                                Stay healthy

                                Enjoy life

                                 

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