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Can Cycling Be Used As Cross Training for Running (And Vice Versa)

Recently, I was featured in a digital magazine called Marathon Handbook. This is a website that is dedicated not only to the expert or top level runners but is special in that it helps those just getting started or having trouble with their training. They provide everything you need from expert guides and tips, coaching advice, training plans, and offer support through a large community of like minded runners. It was a pleasure working with them and their team (shout out to Mia) for getting this accomplished. If you would like to read the entire article while also checking out their website, please fell free to click the link below. After exploring you can come back here and read the rest of my portion of the article and what I have experienced with my patients and clients.

Marathon Handbook Article -

Cross training just like in every sport is a very important aspect of a training schedule for every athlete. Specifically for runners, there are not enough especially in the recreational side who do not do enough cross training to prevent injury. Cross training allows you to get out of the usual cycle of repetitive movements, doing something, using different muscles, and muscle activation sequences that either complement or enhance primary sport performance (running) when they return.

Cycling is a wonderful way to cross train as a runner especially if you need to have a good recovery day after a hard training cycle, in the off season, or if the runner is injured. Incorporating cycling as a recovery day during or after a hard training cycle can be used as a way to flush out the legs and reduce soreness while still getting a good cardiovascular training effect at the same time. Injured runners who cannot tolerate the impact of running but still feel fine cycling, can use this as a tool to maintain some level of fitness and cardiovascular health while recovering.

One caveat I have about going to and from cycling and running is that you need to be mindful that each activity requires different musculature. If you are a cyclist who is trying to get more into running or a runner who took an extended break through cycling, returning back to running may give you a little surprise. A good cyclist does not require the use of their calf during each revolution, acting as a strut to develop all power from the quads and gluteal muscles. When going from cycling to running therefore, the increased power and activation for propulsion of each stride through the calf while running can lead to tendonitis or extra aches in your calves or feet. Despite being cardiovascularly ready to run, easing back into running after a long stint of just cycling is best in order to prevent this type of breakdown. Be Smart. Plan it Out. Change things up. Everything will be okay.

If you have been struggling to either get pain free while running and/or cycling or have been having a hard time finding the training schedule that works for your, please feel free to reach out on my website and fill out an enquiry form for a FREE phone consultation with a Doctor or please feel free to directly reach out at 516-387-4669. I would be delighted to guide you in the best direction to help achieve your goals.

Dr. Robert Berghorn, Jr.

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