marathon training & bike commute

Planning the London 2014 campaign!

My commute to work is now a 9 mile bike ride each way.  Sometimes I run instead.  How should I adapt a training schedule to allow for that, if at all? I plan to try the Pfitzinger plan that peaks at 70 miles per week, which will be a step up from previous rounds where I peaked at about 60 miles per week (and had a shorter commute).


  • I don't think you can integrate bike commuting as part of a marathon training plan, unless it really is on the open road. IE London there is too much stopping and starting to get in the zone. One thing you need to get used to is the effect of the cycling on your legs, because you may still feel knackered.

    Running home or into the office on the other hand is ideal!

    I have a 10 mile commute to work in London, so have had similar questions in the past. I have tried to integrate it, but even for tri training, I think it is just background low-level work.

    Best of luck

  • I have just spent most of the summer 'out' with injury, instead of running I stepped up the cycling doing high and low intensity rides 1 to 3 hours. With practically no running miles in my legs I did a great run in an off road 15 miler, almost equalling my time from last year but suffering cramp. Then did a PB in a flat 10 mile two weeks later!

    Clearly for me cycling is almost as good training for running as running; I say almost because of the cramp! And note the emphasis on 'for me'. I think that cycling is easier on the body so incorporating cycling into my run training seems a great idea.

    My thoughts are that you can substitute a ride for a recovery run and some of your longer runs.

    But this is a work in progress for me!

  • I'm experimemntimng with this too. My commute is 14 miles each way. So too far for me to run (though I plan on running it home once a week after Christmas). I'm lucky that my commute only has 2 sets of traffic lights and is open road almost all the way and I just spin each way in around 39*14or15 so not a massive effort. I do the morning ride fasted and find the weight drops off.

    I find I run much better when I am also doing a lot of cycling.

  • I started cycling to work just before the Olympics - mostly to avoid the tube during that period, it's not far enough to have any real gain in fitness though, but all those short journeys must add up to some benefit? - ie it burns more calories than sitting on the tube. I have really enjoyed it, my favorite part of my work day at the moment is when i cycle out of work and head back to Kings Cross. I found on days after a race or a long run, the early morning bike ride helps my legs feel better for the rest of the day.

  • I know what you mean about the ride home being the best part of a working day!

    When I watch the clouds doing their thing during the day I often berate myself for not driving in, but once I jump on and ride off I feel great even if the weather is bad..... and not because I am going home!

    I always feel better for a bike (or run) in to work it is win win win for me! Saves money, good use of time and I feel better (work better?)

  • Thank you for the thoughts everyone.  I've never managed to count all the traffic lights on my route! So no, it's not a great workout when cycling and even on foot you have to stop frequently to cross roads. But still it's a commute to look forward to and I can fit in an interval running session with weird mixture of 600m,1200m,50m etc. efforts.

  • I'm not convinced it works that well.

    I've been doing a lot of cycling this year and not as much running. I'm definitely a bit slower on the runs, and my legs are sooooore after long (for me) anyway 13 mile runs.

    Better than doing nothing, but not as good as running.
  • my commute is 7.5 miles each way, through london traffic. I count 48 sets of traffic lights on my route to work, so even if i stop at just half of them it's an average of 1 every 500metres. Plus the road is full of pricks, so it's not the kind of ride where you can really open up and go hell for leather. You could spring to each set of traffic lights, and many do, but I just pootle along like Miss Marple and catch them up at the next lights. Given the low intensity of it, i don't consider it as a substitute for any of my weekly runs, and just put it down as a bit of additional calorie burning, and possibly helping the low level endurance building (i guess in a similar way the "HADD" training is supposed to work).

    If i'm having a really heavy week, or feeling totally knackered from running, i might cry off cycling in so much, and sit on the tube, listen to some tunes, and try to ignore everyone I come into contact with, like a real commuter.

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