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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone found running to be of benefit to their overall mtb'ing performance and cardio shape?

Do most of you only bike, or does anyone cross-train with running or other cardio exercises?

Dave
 

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DJFPima said:
Has anyone found running to be of benefit to their overall mtb'ing performance and cardio shape?

Do most of you only bike, or does anyone cross-train with running or other cardio exercises?

Dave
Running is good cross-training, but it won't make you faster unless you are doing it in place of time sitting on your butt. If you use it to replace bike time, it will slow you down.

I'm strictly on the bike from January through September.
 

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DJFPima said:
Has anyone found running to be of benefit to their overall mtb'ing performance and cardio shape?

Just for winter only. Running outside was better than doing nothing. Not as good as the rollers, but after a while, I start hating riding indoors. But running also helps with building bone density and rebalancing muscles; there are benefits to winter running in that sense. I believe too much cycling can have negative effects: mental and physical.

Do most of you only bike, or does anyone cross-train with running or other cardio exercises?

Being that I live in a snowy area, I do snowshoeing, skate skiing, and back country snowboarding. Great way to build an aerobic base for cycling in March, as long as you're conservative with your intensity.
Skate skiing seems to be the best since you can do it alone with no worries, no avalanche danger, is low impact, and is fun as hell (I'm actually looking forward to winter now). Mixing this with some indoor riding (to keep cycling specific muscle memory in check) keeps me sane and in shape during the winter.
 

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By no means am I an Elite Racer, however I like throwing in 1 or 2 45 min. Full Body Work outs with weights (for example Squat, Bench, Chin Up, Lateral Raise, Hyper extension, and some Ab Exercises once or twice a week) and a Trail run every week or two.

I'm a strong believer in a balanced body (have had problems in the past from having certain muscles over developed in my legs causing issue with my knees when playing other sports as a result). and overall fitness (MTB is great for the legs and cardio but leaves much to be desired for the upper body.)

I would also suggest Trail Running over road running, the hilly environment and always changing pace to avoid rocks and roots will give a cardio workout closer to cycling then road running would and isn't as hard on the joints.

However does it make you faster, probably not, does it make you slower I can't see how. I also find it helps avoid getting burnt out as you work other muscles and don<t get boared of 8 or 9 mths of doing nothing but biking.
 

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Like others have said, it will most definitley improve your cardio fitness level, especially trail running, and will probably help you shed a few pounds (unless your an xc bean pole already).
I do remember getting passed by Jamie Whitmore, a pro xterra triathlete, at a local mtb race. She lapped me even though she had a flat tire :eekster: so running must help!
 

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I'm dealing with adding running to my routine right now. I have a fitness test for a new job coming up, and running short (sprints) and long distances (ok, only 5 miles, but that's long for me) are required.

RIght now, I run 3 days a week, 25-40 minutes at a time. Do I feel stronger? Yeah, kinda. I feel stronger off the bike, and the core is definitly stronger. Cardio? I dunno. The heart rate is higher during the running, but I'm not sure 30 min of running is having a big effect.

The hardest thing is getting motivated to do two-a-days. I hate running! :madman:
 

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Here is my routine but I could be over training:

I get up every morning around 4am, at gym around 430 am. Lift weights till 5:45am, then I do a 45 minute spin class. After spin I do a 15 minute core class (abs and lower back). Sometimes I play basketball a couple of times a week in place of spin class.

I go to work. I have a desk job so no real physical activity. :)

After work, I try to ride 1x or 2x but usually only 7 to 13 miles (depends on trail and what time I get out of work). On weekends I ride once but around 26 miles.

Like I said, I could be over doing it. I'm taking this week off because I have a sore knee.
Anybody ever get that feeling when you take time off from working out that you feel out of shape?
 

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Guppie58 said:
Here is my routine but I could be over training:

I get up every morning around 4am, at gym around 430 am. Lift weights till 5:45am, then I do a 45 minute spin class. After spin I do a 15 minute core class (abs and lower back). Sometimes I play basketball a couple of times a week in place of spin class.

I go to work. I have a desk job so no real physical activity. :)

After work, I try to ride 1x or 2x but usually only 7 to 13 miles (depends on trail and what time I get out of work). On weekends I ride once but around 26 miles.

Like I said, I could be over doing it. I'm taking this week off because I have a sore knee.
Anybody ever get that feeling when you take time off from working out that you feel out of shape?
Is that an answer to the original question?:confused:
 

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I asked the same question a while back and the consensus was that it toughened your body up but wasn't the best bike training. I went out in December and put in a few runs and after I couldn't go down stairs very good and my hip was sore for months. My hip healed and now I try and run once a week for 30-60 mins to stay tough and to remind me why I love to ride.
 

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running

I find running intervals improves my cardio. It is easier for me to push myself while running than it is on the bike, but that may be just me.

Although I really don't like running, it is also a change of pace that helps fight burn out on the bike.
 

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No benefit in running

I have been running and cycling for years now and although as many say there is a small cardio benefit, the muscles used for running are completely different as the ones used in cycling. One would think that for both you are using your legs, which is true, but the muscles involved in the movement are different, hence, no benefit.

Additional, and in my experience, I find running counterproductive, all the pounding on the body from running is not positive for cycling, knees, ankles and hips become sore. In order to become faster and stronger on your bike you must focus in bike specific exercises. In winter time cross training by cross country skiing or rollerblading is very good.
 

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I switch from riding/running every day to running full time as soon as school starts, and run through the winter. It's great base training, but my quads are weak by the time I get back on the bike again. Then I'm motivated to do anything but running for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everyone for all of the comments.

I am currently riding 2 days per week, running 3 and lifting weights on 2 of my running days. My schedule only permits about 2 days per week to get out on the trails, however, I can easily go for a run (just step out the door). I figure running must be better than doing nothing and it seems to be a great cardio workout, although I agree it does work different muscles.

If I want to try racing, is that doable with the above workout schedule or should a majority of those 5 cardio days be solely biking?

Dave
 

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if you can ride for an hour, you're good for a beginner race. at that level it's all about seeing if you like racing, and having fun. you don't need to have a $5000 bike or be an all-star athlete!

also, why not just ride your mountain bike on the road (or sidewalks, law permitting)? the vast majority of my riding is done on the street - i just swap tires and i'm good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Cyco-Dude said:
also, why not just ride your mountain bike on the road (or sidewalks, law permitting)? the vast majority of my riding is done on the street - i just swap tires and i'm good to go.
Call me paranoid, but I am not comfortable riding on the streets. Too many cars and I don't trust drivers.
 

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I've been a competetive runner for over a decade. I've been off and on the bike in that time(more off time). Running will keep you cardiovascularly fit just as well, maybe better than biking. Running will help with your legs, but not nearly as much as seat time will.

The bottome line, for me at least, is that running is a great supplement for cycling. I think that they both complement each other very well. Both are vigorous cardiovascular exercise, and both mainly involve your legs. Even though the muscles used are somewhat different, the stronger your legs, the better. For either sport. The more fitness you have, the better race shape you will be in for either sport.

As long as you have good running shoes(READ: Go to a running specialty store and get yourself fitted properly. Do not go to a general sporting goods store, foot locker, finish line, etc.) Its just like going to your LBS, only this time, the only equipment you need are shoes. The shoes WILL help keep you healthy if you have the proper shoe, and replace them every 300-500 miles.
 

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Running: It really depends how long you are running for, I found that running for short periods of time did not much at all. However being the former long distance runner that I am- running for periods of 1.5 to 2hrs as well as riding helped immensely during the base period. :thumbsup:

Personally wouldn't run every day however and I certainly wouldn't be keeping off the bike to run. I'd find myself doing about 10 to 14hrs a week on the bike, and running maybe 3 to 4 hours a week as well. You soon find yourself looking well fit, and feeling good. Running will improve your general and base fitness it won't make you much faster on the bike without specific bike work though.
 

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DJFPima said:
Call me paranoid, but I am not comfortable riding on the streets. Too many cars and I don't trust drivers.
i hear you. the roads i do ride on are either wide residential or multi-lane, low traffic deals. otherwise i'm on the sidewalk (which is sometimes more dangerous; always look for turning cars and assume they don't see you!). if you can ride on the sidewalk, i'd go for that. check your local laws.
 

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I've found that, after a lengthy "off period," running gets my cardio back much faster than riding. During the season, however, only running intervals offers me much benefit. Running trails would probably be good because (1) the ups and downs would constitute interval training; and (2) the varied terrain would engage the muscles used in cycling more.
 

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Last few years I've been running in the winter when it was too cold or too dark to ride. I developed IT band friction though this winter and spring, and gave up the running for good because it was hurting my situation more than it was helping. This was the advice of a sports physician at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine - this place works with pros and Olympic atheletes, so I figure that advice is sound.

Running is not the best cross-training activity for a cyclist - I would recommend picking another aerobic activity that is easier on the knees, and that balances out cycling from a muscle use point of view. Running and cycling don't utilize muscles that move the leg in a lateral direction, an imbalance that can result in problems like IT band friction. Ice skating, inline skating, and snow sports, swimming, etc. would be better from a "holistic" point of view.
 
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