Pedal Your Way to Better Running

Most runners know they should cross train. And yet it’s hard to break from the routine of lacing up day after day. We’re slaves to mileage and time, and we’re convinced that missing our target numbers will mean decreased results. But studies have shown that runners who replace 50% of their runs with cycling perform just as well as those who train by running alone...but they absorb far less wear and tear.

Cycle Life works with many runners and triathletes. Some cycle to cross train, others ride to maintain their fitness during the offseason. All of them say that adding cycling to their training has made them stronger and healthier runners. Here’s why:

More Work...But With More Recovery - Because cycling is non-impact, it can be used for active recovery in the days after long runs. Even as your legs pedal and you put out maximum effort, your joints are able to rest. Replacing one or two days of running with cycling will let you workout more without added wear and tear. A personalized, high-intensity ride will provide the workout you need to meet your goals, but spare your joints, lower your risk of injury, and shorten your recovery.

Similar Workouts - You can mimic tempo runs, intervals and hills on a bike. Running or cycling, it makes no difference to your heart and lungs. Doing intervals at 80 percent of your maximum heart rate is the same in sneakers as it is in the saddle. Effort is what matters. Out on the road, it can take some trial and error to find that sweet spot where running and cycling meet. But in one session we’ll establish your baseline and create a personalized workout that will increase strength and endurance.

Increased Leg Turnover - Like running, cycling requires a consistent motion with a smooth and steady cadence. The best marathoners have a leg turnover rate of 180 steps per minute. That’s the equivalent of maintaining 90 RPM on a bike. For an experienced runner taking up cycling, that’s easy enough on flat road. But what if the tension is increased? More power is needed to maintain that same 90 RPM. Regular cycling workouts will help you build the strength and endurance to keep cadence through high tension intervals. Out on your run, that will translate into increased leg turnover and more speed.

Pushing Past the Plateau - No matter how many miles you run, how fast you run them, or what terrain you run them on, it’s the same activity. You’re still using the same primary muscles and, after a while, they can plateau. By adding another activity to your training, you can continue to build those primary running muscles, as well as secondary, supporting muscles. Cycling, in particular, helps runners because it works power muscles like the quads, glutes and calves. But it also engages complimentary muscles like the hamstrings, hip flexors and core. This translates into into more strength, stability and endurance on race day, especially in the final miles when fatigue sets in.

But changing up your workout is more than physical. It’s also good for your mind, which can get too-used to the same activities. Mixing things up with an hour-long ride can engage your brain and bring the newness back to your workouts.

Book a Free Session - Whether you’re a serious runner training for a big race, a triathlete trying to improve your running split, or recreational runner looking to take a step forward, Cycle Life can help. Our Computrainer sessions are individualized workouts that get the most out of you and help you safely and steadily build upon your current fitness level. Your first session is free, so give it a try. For more info, visit

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