Cycling as part of training


I'm looking for a bit of advice, please.

I'm running a half marathon in a fewe weeks and an Ultra next June.  I've done both before and I'm looking more proactively at my training.

I do interval, long and 2 x med per week - but I've just started cycling to work - I only do 4.5 in and back 9 in total per day, 5 days.  How do I count this? I si tenough to be relevant?

It takes me 15 mins in and 15 min back and I work a sweat, quads pumped.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated




  • Just add it in as extra ... and if you take rest days from running, take them on commute days if you can. A bit of cycling like this will help a bit ... but not if you use it to replace any running.

  • I've heard that one running mile is the equivalent of anything between 3 and 7 cycling miles.  Probably it's better to look at your output rather than trying to make anything equivalent between two differing sports.  For example, for me working up a sweat on a 15 min run would be about 2 miles, maybe a little more, so call it 4 miles equivalent effort for the day?  But always remember that cycling doesn't get you fit for running in the same way that running does - which maybe why the equivalents are just guesswork!  Just do what Dr.Dan suggests and count it as extra.

  • I just call my daily cycle commute "extra" cardio rather than using it to replace running. It has helped my general fitness massively - I'm doing 14 miles per day on the bike, 4 times per week, so that's an extra 4-4.5 hours of exercise per week without really trying. I've lost half a stone since last month and the only thing I've changed is adding in the cycling.

    Just because it's not running, don't discount it as something that can help you!

  • Cycling is good as it helps overall fitness. As far as your running is concerned a 9 mile commute should have much of an effect on that days training though I would either not cycle on interval days or use the cycling as a warm up prior to effort. ie don't push the pace on the day that you do your interval training.

    I cycle a lot though not as much as I used to. I used to cycle up to 180 miles a week. That was a 30 mile round trip commute and I worked a split shift. I only found it a problem when I was training for a marathon and my run mileage was going above 50 miles a week.

    If you can you can do drills on the bike - a good exercise is to unclip one foot from the pedle and just use the other leg for a certain time or number of revolutions then swap legs. You'll soon find which leg is stronger, you'll be putting effort into the pull as well as the push. This will help the overall condition of your legs.

    Cycling is also useful as it's nonimpact. Kinder on the legs by far than running so it has it's uses.

  • I cannot see how a short ride will help with running; I 'use' cycling as low impact training for running but not as a replacement. It will not do any harm but do not count it as part of your training; I cycle to work (2 x 45mins) and take in a longer loop, weather permitting (1h 15mins). Cycling must help with your stamina training, but for this you would have to do longer sessions... But keep it up!

  • Ok, thanks guys.  As I thought - cycling isnt to replace running and to be used as an extra.  The one thing I have noticed is the weight loss from cycling to bus, which can't be bad, heyimage Thanks for taking the time to advise



  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Put the cycling down in the diary as Running Equivalent (RI) For example if your normal average running mile is 8 minutes then 8 mins good pace cycling equates to one RI mile. A few years back I ran 50 miles/wk but the cycling RI made it into a 100 mile week. My best racing was when I cycled to work and back, only it was seven miles each way.

  • Well, I started running after doing no other physical activity than cycling. I'd cycled to school every day for about a year or so- 50 miles a week, 10 miles a day on undulating roads, and when I started running I was already able to run 51 minutes for 10k! I agree that it shouldn't replace running but it definitely does help. I've not cycled for 4 weeks due to an injury and I'm now dying doing 5 miles.


  • Thought you may find this article relevent; I know it is running for the cyclist not cycling for the runner but it does explain the diferent effect on muscles...

  • David, I was able to use 4.5 hours a week of cycling as a way of maintaining my base fitness over a 7 month period of no running when injured.   However, that doesn't mean you can sub cycling for quality running sessions.  9 cycling miles a day is very low to even figure although I note that you are caning it and perhaps there are some strength benefits in that case. 

    Put it down as a 'nice to have' - good x training, but you won't be seeing massive gains in your running.  

    I sometimes do ten easy miles on my bike after a hard running session, instead of an easy (recovery) run. However, the 3-4 quality running sessions remain.

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