Time to transfer cycling fitness to running


I may join the Army next year ( around september ), so I’ll have to get into running.

I run a few times a year ( when my bike is on repair for a long duration ), and am just able to run 3x 15min / 5min.
But its 15min above ftp and my body isnt used to hiting the ground this much I guess so I get sore.

If I start now, I’ll be able to just run once a week until January, and from February 2 maybe 3 times a week ( not giving up cycling ).

I guess my objective will be to be able to run an hour at a good pace.

  • About how long should I expect my body to catch up with my cycling fitness ?

Small fitness background :

  • been cycling around 6h a week for about 2 years, 8h a week for about a year and now ~10h a week for almost a year
    All this as a food courier, adding some intensity training besides that, and a few long rides

  • fitness-wise, I can comfortably do 5/6h rides
    Although its not my most comfortable effort level ( I feel better around ftp / vo2max )

  • as a kid I played rugby for 6 years, tennis for 2 years ( plus some other sports for a short period of time ), and as a teenager I went 3 years in a firefighter school like program ( almost 10 years ago )
    So maybe I have some running fitness left from all this ?

  • I didnt test in a while, but I’d guess my FTP is around 3.2 W/kg
    Don’t think its relevant but there you go

To quote my reply from a similar question in another thread…


Interesting, so from what you wrote, it may take around a year to be able to run 1h at a decent pace ?

Depends on what you consider a decent pace. But I would say definitely less than a year

I’ve taken a few decent sized (3-9 months) breaks off of running over the years. I think that’s long enough that I was kinda starting from scratch again.

I’m not at my computer right now where I have all my workout data from the last 13 years, but when I get back I can take a look at my training logs and get you some of my personal data

1 Like

Looked back at one of the more recent breaks I took. 24 weeks where I only had did 0-2 runs a month (and none of those were over 3 miles). During this time I was doing the SS mid-volume followed by 40K mid volume.

When I decided to get back into running I cut mid riding back from 6 rides a week to 3. Then I began running 3 times a week. I started at three 2 mile runs, then three 3 miles runs, then after that just slowly increased up my mileage. For the most part I tried to just run easy. Tried not to increase by more than 10-20% from one week to the next. However their was a runs where I went much further than I should have (and I paid for it) as I had signed up for a virtual 12k that needed to by a certain date. After 2 months of 3 times a week I bumped my running up to 4 and then 5 times a week. I continued to maintain 3 days a week of biking at that time.

Here is my log of my runs as well as my weekly volume expressed in time and distance. I had some decent runs here and there as I progressed a long but I felt like December 4th (after 3 months of running and having 5 weeks above 20 miles a week) was when I turned the corner and felt like running an hour wasn’t particularly hard. The only thing to add about my N=1 experience is I do have a fairly extensive background in running (on-an off for a couple decades). I was 36 yrs when I did this. I feel like it takes me longer to come back to running now than when I was in my 20’s.


1 Like

Depends what mean by ‘decent pace’ but no, far sooner I’d guess. Say 2 months of easy regular runs (starting with run/walk) to get muscles used to it then progress pretty fast. I’d think more like 5-6 months

1 Like

Ardent runner here. Though cycling is my main sport and passion. For the past 35 years - started with this as 13 - it has always been a battle. Naturally, winter is running season for me. The transfer of fitness takes a very long time. Not the aerobic fitness but the motion apparatus. Especially when running fast. This takes such a long time to get used to. It got better when I kept on running in summer for at least two times. However, running fast still took its toll. I’d say in order to run fast sustainably your looking at at least a year. To run fast and long longer. Of course, talent plays a role too. Some adapat faster than others. However, most folks will injure themselves in the process and delay the entire process. Especially those with good aerobic fitness because they go fast/long too often too early. Running is difficult. And almost everyone is going too fast.


Thanks for the feedback and data, it helps getting things in perspective !

I don’t know myself honestly, it’s just what the guy that was in the army told me.

Small update :

I just did my first run in a while, with the objective to go really slow and see how it goes.
I was able to run 7k for about 1h10m at an estimated pace of 10m/k
I could have gone faster but constantly had to remind myself to go slower when my body went faster by itself, and I could have gone longer but decided to stop and to be wise

At the end I was more comfortably running around 8m/k so I think may be able to run at 9m/k for an hour
I felt good and am pretty happy with this first run

So I guess now I’ll just have to learn to run faster at the same effort level

1 Like

I’ve gone through stages of trying to run hard to get faster. I was on the Tri plans for a while with TR, and then prior to Christmas with a buddy who used to run the 800m (loves speedwork). Neither approach worked for me. Plenty aerobically fit but was burning out.

I’ve changed approach since then and I spent a couple of months just running easy. 30 min Z2 runs 4-5 times a week. I was pretty disciplined at keeping the pace down, if I’m tired and having a slow day I don’t try to push it. It has improved my running immensely, much fresher, less niggles and biomechanics (run form) has improved a lot. I only started throwing in harder runs once a week a couple of weeks ago. My pace has been increasing very quickly.

I don’t think trying to run for 1hr 10 straight off is a good idea, unless you were just trying to see what you were capable of. I’d step it right back, you’ve loads of time, you can make enormous progress in a year. If you start out too hard you risk injury, which can set you back months. Patience is your friend. Try to run on grass or track as much as you can, if that’s an option for you. Much easier on the joints.


I’ve recently had more success with just running intervals (run/walk). Just running easy for longer just got me to run slow, without much progress. I think the mechanics of running fast are sufficiently different from running slow that just running slow doesn’t prepare you for it.


Have you done any indoor wrk or trainerroad plans?

You have plenty of time to transfer to running. Impatience will break you.

Start with short runs and increase frequency. Eg 3x20min rather than 1x1h.

If time is a struggle start with 15mins. Anyone can run for fifteen minutes before breakfast or dinner.

If you ran once last two weeks, run twice next week…but same time on feet.

Your running should be easy, nose breathing, short strides and you feel like you are finishing early, not dying to stop.

Patience is a virtue, you will get there. What’s the military entry requirement?


You’ll be pleasantly surprised and simultaneously disappointed with your expectations of soldiers as runners. If you can run 3 miles at an 8:30 pace that’s probably about par for the course unless you want to join one of the elite units or go to the challenging schools later in your career :slightly_smiling_face:

Edit: if your body weight is under 150lbs, do a 35lb weighted ruck March 6-8 times in the months before enlisting if that’s your route. Don’t need to go crazy but it’ll help injury prevention


A few questions….
How old are you? Height, weight (don’t need to share but would help when answering).
Do you have a running background at all? (Run high school xc/track, local 5ks, etc)
What country are you going into the Army? What are the standards?

Jolyzara is right on point… most military standards are open source. I just assumed US military, but I didn’t even bother to look! My apologies.

Angrod, looks like you’re French from your profile?

Came here to say this.

I don’t know about other country requirements these days, but US Army aren’t quite the runners they used to be. You’ll for sure be at the sharp end with your cycling background. That said, if you want to shine, start to build up the durability in those legs which is so different than cycling.


I think I’m gonna do it like you did.
Although I won’t be able to run this much since I stil have to ride my bike 10 to 12h a week for work

Yeah, I was just trying to feel what I was capable of at a low intensity.
Just be able to gauge my future efforts more easily. As soon as I felt my legs were gertting weaker I stopped.

I’ve already experienced over training twice on the bike, so now I really don’t want to push it too hard.
I think I’m just gonna do Z2 runs for several months, probably 30min runs like you did, and when I feel more comfortable add a day of intensity once a month or every two weeks to see how it goes.

I don’t have the option to run on a softer ground, but I feel fine with it for now.

1 Like

hmm ok, i’ll keep this in mind

I did a mid volume plan, had a burnout because I couldn’t sustain it wiht work
When i recovered several months ago, tried a low volume plan removing 1 ride a week from the plan, and had a burn out too ( I wasn’t able to disciple myself correctly during work )
Then just used the TrainNow feature a bit.
I didn’t exercice for about 1 year because of covid and crashes but i’ll mainly use TR in the winter.
So outside of work I amost only do HIIT workouts on a climb.

I might do this, although I really liked running without stopping.

Thanks for the tips

haha ok
8:30 pace seems pretty easily achievable

If possible I’d like to join Special forces, and if not I want to do challenging stuff like “Légion étrangère”
A big part of my motivation comes from the human challenge

Noted !
I plan on doing Camino de Santiago next year, maybe several times

I’m just about 150lbs
Why would I have to be below this weight ?

26yo in two weeks, 175cm ( 5’9 i guess ), around 68kg ( 150lbs )
For my running background :

Yeah I didn’t specify which country
It’s France

What are those standards ?
Like you’re saying you can find average running speeds and such on the internet ?

The only running test I know of in the beginning is the “Luc Léger”
It’s when you have to run between checkpoints, a sound cue tells you when you have to be at the checkpoint and you have to go faster and faster until exhaustion