Should Cyclists Run in the Offseason?

Why Not Run?

Is there any reason not to include running in your offseason cycling plan?

If you have trouble with your back, knees, hips or ankles and those troubles are aggravated by running, there is good reason to exclude running from your fitness routine. If you exclude running, I encourage you to find another weight bearing activity to keep your bone density from diminishing.

For cyclists who are extremely pinched for time, and can only afford three workouts per week, all workouts need to be cycling if the primary sport is cycling.

I think there are good arguments to include two or three running days in your offseason program. If you run some 20 to 30 minutes in each offseason workout, this can be an excellent complement to your winter cycling program. You might even decide to keep running in your routine year-round.

More: Do Cyclists Need to Cut Calories in the Offseason?

How to Start Running

First, be sure to get a good pair of running shoes. Don't run in your work tennies or lawn mowing shoes. Pay a visit to your local running store and have them help you out.

I prefer that new runners begin conservatively and use a run/walk program. This minimizes injury risk by giving your tendons and ligaments time to adapt to running. Because most cyclists have great aerobic fitness, they tend to start with too much running volume too quickly. While their muscles can likely handle the load because of cycling fitness; it's the joints, tendons and ligaments that may be unhappy with the new impact sport.

To help you get started, below is a chart showing a progression that can have you running 30 minutes, in five or six weeks.

More: Why Road Cyclists Should Try Cyclocross in teh Offseason

Week#

Tuesday

Thursday

Saturday

1

Run/Walk for 20 min:

Walk 10 min, then

5 x (Run 1 min, Walk 1 min), Zones 1-2

Run/Walk for 20 min:

Walk 6 min, then

7 x (Run 1 min, Walk 1 min), Zones 1-2

Run/Walk for 30 min:

Walk 10 min, then

10 x (Run 1 min, Walk 1 min), Zones 1-2

2

Run/Walk for 20 min:

5 x (Walk 2 min, Run 2 min), Zones 1-2

Run/Walk for 21 min:

7 x (Walk 1 min, Run 2 min), Zones 1-2

Run/Walk for 30 min:

6 x (Walk 2 min, Run 3 min), Zones 1-2

3

Run/Walk for 20 min:

4 x (Walk 1 min, Run 4 min), Zones 1-2

Run/Walk for 20 min:

Walk 2 min, then

3 x (Walk 1 min, Run 5 min), Zones 1-2

Run/Walk for 30 min:

Walk 9 min, then

3 x (Walk 1 min, Run 6 min), Zones 1-2

4

Run/Walk for 20 min:

2 x (Walk 2 min, Run 8 min), Zones 1-2

Run/Walk for 20 min:

2 x (Walk 1 min, Run 9 min), Zones 1-2

Run/Walk for 30 min:

3 x (Walk 2 min, Run 8 min), Zones 1-2

5

Run/Walk for 20 min:

5 min walk, then 15 min run, Zones 1-2

Run 20 min steady in Zones 1-2 (optional: walk 30 sec at each 5-minute mark)

Run/Walk for 30 min:

3 x (Walk 1 min, Run 9 min), Zones 1-2 (optional: run 30 min steady)

6

Run/Walk for 20 min:

4 x (Walk 1 min, Run 4 min), Zones 1-2

Run 10 min steady in Zones 1-2

 

Steady run 30 minutes

Run (or run/walk) 30 min or  3.1 miles (5k)

More: 7 Reasons to Plan Your Cycling Offseason Early

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