When you are in your 20s, all your friends who want to get in shape, go to the gym. However, when you turn 30, it seems like all the people around you suddenly catch the marathon fever. Since it is a discipline that doesn’t require expensive equipment or membership that will guilt you into training, it is ideal for busy parents and individuals with more responsibilities.
Interestingly enough, seniors are more likely to pursue marathon running than younger generations. In fact, a study on the Copenhagen marathon shows that the age group 60-69 has the highest growth in participation, with is an increase of almost 65 percent! Although you don’t need to follow a specific schedule when training for a marathon, completing this race requires some preparations. One of the effective ways you can get ready for this challenge is cycling.
Yes, spending time on your two-wheeled pet can help you become a better runner. Here are just several ways that show how cycling can improve your running and help you prepare for the upcoming marathon.
It helps you recover faster
Have you ever done a long run and spent the next day lying on the couch, too sore to even go to the kitchen, let alone do any sort of exercise? If this sounds way too familiar, an easy bike ride the day after a hard run can increase blood flow, flush out lactate, reduce muscle and joint stiffness, and help you get back on track sooner than if you were to just sit on your sofa watching TV.
Incorporating cycling into your routine counterbalances your tough run workouts and gives your body enough time to recover before your next run. In addition, it can help you stay in shape while recovering from a running injury.
Cycling improves your endurance if you plan to run a marathon and you want to reach the finish line. It helps you achieve a good endurance base. Although long runs will help you reach that goal, cycling is an even better way to improve your endurance. It is a low-impact exercise, and therefore, you can spend more time on the bike than running on the road.
Try to ride your bike (slowly!) for about four hours at a time, and you will improve your endurance without increasing the risk of injury. Another way to do it is to bike 10 miles for every one mile you run. You can gradually increase the length of this workout until you are able to pull off a 40-mile bike ride followed immediately with a 4-mile run.
Cycling helps you build strength
Although running is great for building lean muscles, you need to do some cross-training in order to improve your power and strength. Running and cycling work similar muscle groups. If you include cycling into your weekly workouts, it will help you address muscular imbalances and improve strength, which is essential for fighting fatigue in the latter stages of the marathon. Cycling helps increase quad and glute strength, which can help you avoid injury and turn you into a faster runner.
Your joints will thank you
It is a known fact that running puts a lot of stress on your ankles, knees, and hips. This is especially true when it comes to longer races such as marathons and ultras. Therefore, maintaining high mileage without injuring yourself can be really hard.
However, cycling gives you a great workout without causing joint pain. That doesn’t mean you should replace an entire run workout with cycling. Instead, you can simply substitute just a portion of your run with a session on your bike. Your ankles, knees and hips will surely be grateful.
Cycling can truly help you with marathon training. Not only does it improve cardio, but it helps you build muscle groups required for running and improves your endurance. Therefore, if you are determined to reach that finish line, focus on running and treat cycling as a secondary sport.