Training Balance - Strength/Running/Cycling

Good afternoon!

Bit of newbie here. Recently started road cycling this year and found it quite addictive. Bit of a progress driven individual so hunting those FTP gains long term. I also do enjoy a run (short distance albeit) and again love the thought of progressing and eventually getting faster. I’ve also been strength training for years and will probably continue to do some form of muscle hypertrophy work regardless, I know these don’t really go hand in hand.

My question is, is there anyone in the same boat trying to balance multiple disciplines? And if so, what sort of regime would you recommend? Here is what I currently roughly do and its probably not allowing very much recovery at all tbh but unsure how I could balance it better:

Monday: Threshold Run - 8K, 3x2K, 2x3K - 90-100% effort
Tuesday: TR Cycle - 1 Hour
Wednesday: Interval Run - Multiple Sets of 400m, 600m, 1000m Sprints - again 90-100% effort
Thursday: TR Cycle - 1 Hour
Friday: 10K Slow Run
Saturday: TR Cycle - 1.5 Hour

The runs are obviously abit more planned, just briefly laying it out. I’ll also (pre-lockdown) fit in 4 full body weights training sessions so some days I’ll train twice.

My 2nd question is, in the gym, should I be focusing on any particular lower body exercise to benefit cycling and/or running? Currently I do squats and a bunch of accessories but fear they may actually hinder my cycling/running performance.

Thanks in advance!

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I am in exactly the same boat. Long time lifter, long time runner, new structured cycling. Still working on the balance, and its super super easy to over do it and jack yourself up. I have halfed my total lower body volume but still do heavy deads and squats. Now i just do 3 sets of each twice per week rather than big 5-7 set days for each one. I also settle for little to no progress in the lower body lifts, just maintaining.

Current schedule is:

Mon: Ride early, lift lower body afternoon. This is the hardest squat day of the week and the hardest intervals of the week on the bike.
Tue: threshold run early, upper body lift late
wed: off
thursday: ride early, lift lower late (hard deads, easy squats)
friday: easy run, upper lift later
saturday: long/difficult ride
sunday: long run, sometimes lift in the evening but its all upper body stuff, this is generally bro lifts if i do it at all

I find the running days really dont take much out of you. You can run pretty well on legs beat up from cycling and feel fine after warming up. I am pretty sure none of this would work to someone new to lifting. I had to miss lifting legs for 2 weeks not long ago and the DOMS when i got back to this made the first week a nightmare.

The biggest thing with this is recovery. If i dont eat enough, the wheels come off. If I drink to much, the wheels come off. If I dont sleep enough/well, the whole thing blows up. You have to be willing to just skip stuff when your body tells you. If you push through you have no will to train the next week, the burnout risk is high if you go too hard. And dont do extra on anything if you feel good, it costs to much for the next workout.

zwift racing is stupid, i keep getting sucked in and working to hard on a worthless race and it jacks up 2 weeks.

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I’m a triathlete so I try to balance cycling, running, swimming, and strength training. The best approach for me at the moment has been to have a clear order of preference. For me, I want cycling to be my focus at all times and follow the base / build / speciality progression. Running and swimming I tend to just maintain or sharpen when I need to while lifting is there to support my cycling. I’m currently foregoing the swimming and keeping things light since I’m a new dad (baby is 3 weeks old!).

Monday - TR + squat, deadlift, stretch cordz
Tuesday - easy run + foundation stretches
Wednesday - TR + bench, military press, core
Thursday - easy run + foundation stretches
Friday - TR + pull-ups, rows, core
Saturday - easy ride or off
Sunday - off or trail run

I might swap Friday, Saturday, and Sunday depending on my life schedule. Once I get to build and specialty, I’ll add in track sessions for speed work and masters swims (hopefully!). A given build week will have the following while speciality will reduce volume but maintain intensity.

  • 3-4 cycling sessions
  • 1-3 running and swimming sessions (a total of 4-5 combined, depending on the run or swim focus that week).
  • might reduce lifts to 1 or 2 days but haven’t decided yet

🙋 I do run and cycle a bunch.

I mostly take the mid (build) to high (base) volume trainerroad plans and add to them so I get about 10ish hours on the bike. Then I add running in form of 2 shorter runs (30 - 45 mins) and 1 longer run (1.5 hours). As the longer run happens on Sundays, I normally replace the scheduled bike workout for that day with an easier shorter endurance session. All runs are easy paced (Z2).

Works like a charm. Though it takes some building up to it. :blush:

I support your passion for both running and cycling. I think you’ll find a lot of triathIetes follow these threads as well. I would just be worried about the amount of intensity you show in your example. It looks like your Monday/Wednesday runs are pretty high intensity. And most likely your Tues/Thurs TR workouts will be high intensity. That’s a lot for the body handle for 4 straight days but it all depends on the individual and how you handle it. For me (and I’m an older triathlete) , I found that doing more frequent and less intense runs made me a faster runner but it is a larger time commitment. 1 Threshold or higher run a week was about all I can handle along with the TR workouts.