Running is the classic fall back fitness regime for many cyclists and it has a number of advantages as a cross-training option.
It not only significantly stimulates the cardiovascular system but also promotes joint and bone health by way of the ground forces coming up at you through your feet.
One of the disadvantages of cycling as a ‘main activity’ is that it is ‘low impact’ and therefore does little to enhance your bone density or overload other tissues such as ligaments and tendons. While this ‘low-loading’ is an attraction if you have developed joint problems that stop you doing other sports, it can leave a gap in your overall fitness if you are not filling it with something else. Running is therefore a good option if you have a background of running activities, are not overweight, have good posture and no injuries as it can improve both your aerobic fitness and enhance your bone and tissue health.
Though cycling gives us great cardiovascular fitness, it’s repetitive and low load nature can mean that our strength, flexibility and core control can be lost. The old adage goes ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’ and these aspects are often ignored until there is a problem that forces us off the bike. What’s more, they are critical in allowing us to fulfil our cycling potential, so here are a few ideas to keep you active through the winter months.
Circuits using whole body exercises are good for achieving multiple benefits such as cardiovascular fitness, strength endurance, core stability and balance.
Examples of strength exercises that might be included are walking lunges, squats, push ups, and bent over rows. Cardiovascular exercises such as running or star jumps might be included at alternate ‘stations’ to raise your heart rate and keep it up throughout.
Circuit training sessions are generally organised within a group and can be a good option if you thrive on company and competition to stay motivated, and have the exercise experience and fitness to perform the exercises involved with good form, even when fatigued.