Running to improve Cycling?

Thought I’d toss this out to the group. Was thinking about incorporating some running into my broader training with the thought that it may help increase my overall cycling performance, particularly vo2. Could be totally wrong in my assumption but I can ride distance with little issue but running a mile feels more difficult. The thought was to either replace some cycling days or add to it.

So injury potential aside, and with the understanding that you’d need to begin running very slowly, does running improve cycling performance and top end abilities? Ie maintaining a higher w/kg

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I mix the 2 with some success. I figure it keeps my knees and bones healthy and provides an extra dimension of movement other than just cycling. I’ll try and run a handful of times each week. It’s good for a mellow run outside or a tempo 10km depending on my mood. I rarely do very fast intervals now but i can still run fairly fast for an old guy. Sometimes i really don’t want to sit on my bike but a nice run is just the ticket. It won’t make me a faster cyclist, that is what TR is for, but it makes me a more well-rounded athlete for sure.
M49, 76Kg, 4.3W/Kg, 40min 10Km.


Your time would be better spent doing a vo2 max workout or strength training.

I did some cycling during summers when I was a runner (4, 7, 10 thousand kms) but I wasn’t a good cyclist. My strength endurance was lacking. The last of those seasons was more about the bike and some running more like @RCC is describing. I could run pretty fast with minimal (for me) running training - three very easy half an hour runs and one tempo/threshold around 4 min/k. But I don’t think it was helping my cycling any. Sure as a cross training it isn’t so bad but I was also doing strength training which certainly helped more.

If you enjoy both, do both. Just two days ago I couldn’t fathom another day on the trainer as there were some heavier showers. Went for a run after a couple of month without one. Was fun, did good but I feel my calves two days after. I am pursuing cycling because I have the time now. If am short on time in the future I’ll get back to running more.

Thanks for the video. Glad there were actually some studies referenced vs anecdotes. If I’m understanding this correctly, the straightforward answer to my question is no. However, it seems that lifting could be beneficial.

Cycling is primarily a concentric muscle contraction exercise, where running has alot more eccentric strength involved. As a long time cyclist who picked up running last year, that adjustment was huge for me.

I think overall, I struggled to split my focus and especially as I got closer to my Half Marathon. I just couldn’t recovery from the volume that It required to be good at either sport. YMMV

Agree with everything said so far about bone density. I will say that I took away much greater endurance in my calves for mountain bike descending. Im still feeling those positive effects even though I haven’t run a step in 6 months.

I’ve never been a runner, and didnt plan on it unless it was some type of real benefit. Seems like unless you’ve been doing it for a while the likelihood of injury is pretty high and some strength training would provide more benefits.

I watched the follow up strength trianing video to the first one provided and while I’ve heard mixed things, the science seems to say that 2 days a week of heavy lifting should have some real benefits. Anyone have experience here?

I did a master’s degree in exercise physiology back in the mid 90s (so take this w/ a grain of 25 year old salt). My research topic focused on cross training around injuries (ie can an injured runner maintain run fitness by swimming, etc). The bottom line from the research back then was that running could improve swim and bike performance, but not vice versa. Would be an interesting topic for a Coach Chad Deep Dive


Would love to hear what the current science says… especially since coach chad has been doing some running.

iirc, in the past coach chad said that no, running would not help your cycling. but, it will make you a more well rounded athlete. something along those lines. as such I have started to run as well several years ago as a "load bearing’ exercise, bone density and all. besides, you can’t be on the bike 7 days or week, or at least I am guessing you shouldn’t. : )