New to Cycling, Long-Time Runner

I recently submitted this question to the TrainerRoad podcast tool (and am still kicking myself for neglecting to mention how much I like the podcast and the product), but my husband suggested I come here too. Short version: what are some tips and possible traps to watch out for as I start bike training with a long aerobic history?

I have decided 2020 is the Year of the Bike. Not because of injury, but because riding a bike is fun. I seem to have some natural talent and want to see where training can take me. I just turned 39 and have been a consistent, serious runner for 25 years now. Consistency is probably my biggest strength–I’ve run more than 10,000 miles in the past 10 years and have averaged around 30 miles per week for at least five years. I was solidly mediocre until I had my daughter 8 years ago, which somehow transformed me to the slow end of fast (M: 3:45; HM: 1:45; 5K: 22:40).

I have done a few endurance workouts, a ramp test, Taylor-3, Bluebell. I can handle the aerobic load just fine, but I feel like my muscles are holding me back. I’m just wondering if there are any special considerations to keep in mind as I start my first base phase.

Thanks all!

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Running to biking is a much easier transition on the body than vice-versa. If you can keep a couple short runs/week, you can prevent losing all the body’s run adaptations. Otherwise, if/when you go back to running it could be a bit more challenging than you expect/remember.

Your legs will adjust to the cycling. Right now your legs don’t have the strength to keep up w/your engine. Give it time. Pick a plan. Be consistent. The initial gains will come fast since you’re new to cycling.

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Pick a plan via the plan builder and honestly I would do the LV versions and add rides in if needed. The 3 rides might not seem like a lot but it is better to add extra than fail multiple.

Good luck and welcome.

Ride your bike. Ride your bike some more. Then ride it some more.

Seriously. Don’t worry too much about “training”, IMO (and I realize that may get me banned here. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:). At this stage if your cycling experience, gains will come quickly…but you will benefit from building a similar deep base that you have from running.

Ride your bike. Ride it a lot. Some days ride easy, some days ride fast, some days ride tempo. Do what feels good, but just ride your bike. The gains will come quickly and you will love it.

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Similar background (but male) and found the transition to cycling very encouraging because the workouts/rides just don’t beat me up the way running does. This meant I was able to build up mileage and time on the bike quickly without the injury concerns I had while running. Also found cycling to be much more social, so you may want to consider finding a local team or shop that does regular rides.

On the flip side, a couple of years ago I went back to more running after mostly cycling for about 3 years. My hip flexors were really tight and, although I was still strong aerobically, I struggled with speed work. The range of motion for cycling is much smaller, so it’s easy for me to get rather tight and lose flexibility.

Lastly, have fun!

Welcome to the wonderful world of cycling. I am an ex decent standard runner as well (M -2:47, Half 1:17 5k 16:48) and started riding and time trialling a few years back. Would agree with the just ride more and pick the low volume SSB idea. I would add that some serious strength training would be in order a couple of times a week - I found that hugely beneficial - although that may be because I am 5’7" and 60kg! I think developing a bit more muscle mass helps especially when starting to push the SS/Threshold/VO2 max sessions (and these will bring you on massively). In the first time trial I did my HR maxed out at 151bpm when I was 46, Now I am 51 and in a 10m tt my HR is in the range 165-171 despite being older…I am convinced I now have more muscle mass to use and therefore a higher heart rate. Also keep at the TR sessions - they work - I have seen a 25% increase in power since I started TR last October - like you say if you have the engine you can make big gains quickly. Good luck.

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are you lifting in the gym? you could do some linear progression programs to help the muscular side.

runners sometimes lack the ability to go REALLY hard from the handful i’ve coached; i’m honestly not sure why, but i think it’s because they are used to the aerobic side so much and therefore don’t know how hard they can truly go.

once feb/march rolls around, make sure you hit some vo2max and anaerobic efforts before the spring. get used to going HARD once or twice a week.

that’s my one tip! Good luck!


I do all my weights in the gym - hex bar deadlifts, leg press, goblet squats and upper body work (don’t trust myself we barbell squats as I have had back issues in the past) - although it is a juggling act when you get to SSB2 and all lower body stuff is going on the backburner when Build starts.
You might be right about running and going hard - it is mainly because if you turn yourself inside out in an interval run session you won’t recover for a few days or you increase the injury risk if you run the next day. This compromises mileage volume and mileage trumps everything when you are running marathons - even the true elite don’t run very fast (for them) very often but they cover massive mileages (150miles/week - often running 3x a day). Even for us mere mortals you will run a much faster marathon on 60-70 steady miles/week with a weekly tempo run at half marathon pace then you will on 40 miles/week including intervals…I know I have tried both.
Cycling is different - if you are not training hard most of the time your TSS drops as does your CTL and your form dips…sadly!

Thanks, everyone! I am planning to start the low volume SSB in just a few weeks. @brendanhousler, @jdman – I have been lifting weights for several years now. I found that very heavy lifting hurt my running performance, but I think it’s good for the bike. And @brendanhousler, great point about going really hard. That’s definitely true of me, as evidenced by my embarrassingly flat paces below about 2 miles.


Oh, I forgot to mention that I am planning to continue running around 2 days per week, probably something 4-8 miles, easy, each time. My best running friend has run the middle part of many very long runs with me, and I want to return the favor for her.


i actually lift all year; just need to place it in the right spots so you can ride hard and race, and lift!

CTL is often misapplied though, as athlete’s use it is the actual measure of fitness (even strava uses the form fitness freshness words vs the training peaks acronyms), when in reality it is very misleading when it comes to event readiness if your TSB is super negative…people chasing the numbers incorrectly very often.


I’ll agree with @Power13 here.

You say “you have natural talent and want to see where training can take you” is your goal like raw power numbers? Or is it something else? Racing? Beating your friends?

Trying to figure out what is the ultimate goal of hiking here for you. That would help us answer your question a bit more

Interesting read ( thanks for that)…I suppose the main difference for me is that when I ran I raced less often - in the spring I would do 1x20 mile race and maybe a half marathon in my 16 week build up to the London marathon. This allowed me to juggle all the things mentioned and do a proper taper for a single A race. Now I just time trial on the bike and you can race every week (twice a week if you want to) easily in the UK with little travelling so I just race from April - Oct most weekends - but I find that since a 10m/25m tt gives you less TSS than a longer session you form drops if you race to often (of course it is probably partly fatigue based as mentioned). A 50m tt takes more out of you and needs more recovery so I do less of those (don’t mention 100m tt my back won’t take it!). This past season the only thing that picked my form up again was hard short (1 - 2 min) VO2 max sessions like Bluebell/Bashfull - I suppose they complimented the threshold training supplied by racing. Of course I’m sure a coach would be able to focus my goals and get slightly better performances by prioritising fewer races…but I like racing and most races have great post event cakes as well!
Thanks for the advice

My goal is to race and to get enough points to hit cat 4, assuming they don’t change the system, and to hang in the group for the Tour de Millersburg and the Tburg Crit next summer.

Cool! Awesome goals to have! Crits are a ton of fun and pretty humbling. LOL.

Have you raced much before? what is your history riding a bike prior to this year? (I’m going to assume not a ton of experience given the way you talk about cycling) The reason I ask is that while, yeah, everyone TR talks about power on the bike for racing, I’d probably say bike handling and being in a tight pack is pretty important in racing. This is not something you’re going to learn while sitting on a trainer.

Not sure where you live and whether it’s a deep winter place or not, but I would recommend you ride outside more vs the trainer. I would configure my bike EXACTLY how I’d want to race it and gain a comfort level with my setup so I know how my bike will react under a broad set of conditions. Also you have chances to ride in groups as well to learn pack handling skills.

The other benefit of riding outside is that you get to explore your local area pretty well and find a lot of cool spots out there. Running always seemed pretty boring to me as you could only go within a 5-10 mile radius somewhere. You can actually get somewhere on a bike.

Bottom line, tho - sounds like you have an engine, you’re right that your muscles just need to catch up to your aerobic capacity. have fun out there!

form may drop, but if you’re getting a ton of A-race, event specific work in, it might not be that bad; and that you could perform well on less hours. 100m TT, meaning 100 mile time trial?

fwiw 1-2m is not vo2max, but anaerobic. very different!

yes less racing MAY be a good idea, but not necessarily; it’s probably the non-race days that need to be tweaked, or just eliminate mid week racing and focus on the weekend. Big question as that needs to view the entire forest and we’re stil staring at the trees in this thread.

if you want to get more detailed let’s link up on training peaks, really only way for me to see everything that you have going on. it’s all awesome tho, a good problem to have as opposed to not riding!

let me know if you have other questions!


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ahhh 100m = 100 minute time trial?

when does that ever take place?! that’s incredibly long as an event itself (sounds awesome lol)

100M = 100miles - they are pretty common in the UK and former pro Marcin Bialoblocki smashed the UK record in 3hrs 13mins on a course near me last summer so the top guys are really hammering them at close to or above 30mph. He also did a 1:31 for 50 miles a couple of years back. We like nothing better than putting on a very tight skin suit and riding up and down the road very early Sunday morning as fast as possible…sanity is not a common commodity among UK time triallist - You can even do 12 and 24 hour races if you are really in need of the men in the white coats taking you away :grinning:

I have not raced much at all. I’ve done the Drops to Hops B Race, in Cooperstown, twice. I raced the Tburg (Trumansburg) Crit last year in the Women’s 4/5 and the Women’s super race (P1/2/3/4/5). It’s 7 tight turns with a nasty little hill. I like to ride with our weekly Women’s Road Ride group in the summer. I ride with the “fast” group.

I live in the Finger Lakes region in New York, and we have a relatively serious winter. I did get out a couple days ago. I am definitely looking forward to the outdoors soon. I have a new Specialized Amira that I am getting to know and love. (I have been riding on a 10+ year-old Cannondale with a triple that I got for $200 from Craigslist. :slightly_smiling_face: )

Cool! Well. Yeah. Winter. Sorry. I’m in California so I’m going riding tomorrow. (This is 100% a gloat. Ha.)

seriously tho - yeah, not much you can do in the deep of the winter. I wonder if the Year of the Bike (2020), may not turn into a couple years - I wonder if it’s not worth it to invest in some cold weather gear and get outside? I’m not 100% sold on that. Maybe next year if you’re still serious.

I’ll take my comments back a bit - seems you know what you’re getting yourself into. Congrats on the new bike and kick some ass in the year coming up!