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Jul 31, 2021

Want to Improve Your Run Performance and Embark on a New Adventure? Go Cycling…

We are all well aware of the importance and impact of cross training on enhancing our run performance, but cycling is somewhat unique, in that it can benefit runners on both ends of the spectrum—recovery and training. And as a runner, my bikes (road and mountain) are two of my most valuable and favorite training tools. Here’s why.

Improves Performance
Cycling conditions our bodies to be better runners and assists with building strength, speed and stamina. While our hamstrings, hip flexors and calves are the major power sources for our running, cycling uses complementary muscles such as quads, glutes and core, which are essential to making us stronger, faster runners, as well as helps us fight fatigue in the latter stages of our races. Long, steady rides can boost our endurance with minimal risk of injury and without having to repeatedly log long runs. Pushing up a hill (or incline) in the big changering of your bike will increase your strength. And, doing short sprints while out of the saddle builds speed—the more vertical your body is while sprinting the more ideal, as this closely mimics running. Also, incorporating intervals while biking is a great way to replicate the intensity of a running workout, but without the impact.

Aids in Recovery
Cycling also aids us in recovering our bodies from running by giving our muscles and joints relief from the pavement pounding endured during runs. Many run injuries stem from the continued pressure we put on our hips, knees and ankles from our long runs and cumulative mileage. Due to being low impact, cycling allows us to do more with less stress on our bodies. More time pedaling balances our run workouts and gives us adequate time to bounce back before the next run. Cycling also permits us to keep up our training while suffering certain injuries, such as runner’s knee. It can also facilitate with recuperating from an injury by promoting blood flow and reducing muscle soreness.

Provides Adventure
We workout for a myriad of reasons—to be healthier, to look better, to be more social, to rack up bling, to offset our love of food—the list goes on and on. I choose to exercise for all of these reasons, and running is my number one go to, but cycling provides new adventures and constantly challenges me physically. Plus, it’s another activity I get to do outside, and it engages me if different ways than running. If you are looking to get started with cycling, start by renting a bike at a local bike shop, taking an indoor spin class at the gym or seeking out a cycling meetup in your city, as these are great ways to explore whether cycling is for you, as well as discover the type of bike that suits you best—road, mountain or hybrid.

Cycling is an ideal way to cross-train, whether you are healthy or working through an injury. It can up your run performance, advance your recovery from your runs and add adventure to your workouts—all while taking the tension off of your joints. Happy riding!

By: Joy Harrell @joyrunsrealestate

Joy Harrell is a licensed real estate agent and co-owner of The Sift Sisters bakery based in Houston, Texas. She is a native Houstonian and graduate of the University of Houston—go Coogs! When she is not helping people buy, sell or invest in real estate, she can be found hanging or traveling with her hubby, running or biking the streets and trails in and around Houston, mentoring girls or testing new food and cocktail recipes.