Can Indoor Cycling Help Improve My Running?

Athletes are frequently looking for ways to be faster and stronger. Runners specifically seek out ways to improve their body’s strength, endurance and all-around fitness level. As runners ponder this topic and their options, they may eventually wonder, “Can indoor cycling help improve my running?”

Indoor cycling can greatly improve your running. Strength and endurance can be built by incorporating indoor cycling into your running routine. Speed and interval training found in spin classes or at home workouts can improve one’s agility and speed running.

Cycling is very low-impact and can allow runners to continue to exercise and maintain their fitness if injured. This is especially true if you’re experiencing shin splints or stress fractures. Indoor cycling is a fantastic option for runners looking to improve their overall fitness.

Runners who turn to indoor cycling will find it absolutely can improve their running for more reasons than one. Below, we are going to discuss the benefits runners can experience from indoor cycling. We’ll also include options for integrating it into a runner’s training program in the paragraphs below.

How Do You Balance Cycling And Running?

It can be difficult for some to find the perfect balance between cycling and running. Every runner is unique and strives to achieve different goals. Goals can target your pace, lowering your body fat or covering a specific distance. Once you identify your personal goals you can find the best balance between cycling and running for you.

Cycling and running work some of the same muscles, but each activity can work them differently. Indoor cycling has a lower impact on the body than running outdoors or on a treadmill. This makes indoor cycling a great activity for cross-training on recovery days.

Other times runners may consider cross-training in the form of cycling or swimming. Incorporating yoga or meditation into a runner’s routine may also help them improve their running. 

Indoor Cyclist On A Bike Trainer

Adding Indoor Cycling To Your Fitness Toolkit

Indoor cycling and spinning classes can really push your heart rate to the upper limits. This will help to improve your cardiovascular strength and speed. If you generally work out 5-6 days a week, try integrating cycling into your routine twice a week. This will be ideal for improving your overall fitness whilst still getting that much needed recovery period too.

Some cross-training runners may find that they still run five days a week. They may only use indoor cycling on one recovery day each week. If you are trying to increase your overall endurance you can add a cycling workout into your daily fitness routine. 

Too much pure running can also impede your long term fitness. By regularly integrating indoor cycling into your routine, you will reduce the number of running related injuries.

Runners that do not want to balance indoor cycling with running may choose to only include cycling in their training when they are injured. I used to run cross-country in high school. At my school, we specifically had a cycling trainer for runners that suffered shin splints and stress fractures.

How you include indoor cycling in your running program depends on your personal running goals. Definitely think about including indoor cycling workouts into your training. It will have many benefits physically and mentally.

Related article – How To Improve VO2 Max For Cycling

Group of runners along track laughing

Will Indoor Cycling Complement Your Running? 

Indoor cycling will complement your running incredibly well. Have you ever wanted to be able to train to go further distances in running? Often increasing your distance or pace too quickly can lead to strain and injury. 

Injuries to the achilles tendon, hamstrings, knees, and tibia are common when runners increase their distance or pace too quickly. If you want to increase your distance or pace without risking a stress fracture, indoor cycling is a way to do just that.

My Half Marathon Experience

When I trained for my last half marathon I integrated cross-training through cycling into my training days. Three or four days each week I would follow up my daily training run with a spin on my trainer or out on my gravel bike. 

This ultimately helped me not only reach my goal of running over 13 miles. It also led me to having a faster finish time than previous half marathons.

Cycling has a lower impact compared to running. The continuous pounding on the firm pavement from running is non-existent as you pedal. After training with extended rides after your daily run, you can also increase your endurance and run further later in your training. 

It may be hard to find the time to run and cycle on the same day. However, if you are training for a long distance running event it will lower your risk of becoming injured in your training.

Female Running Along Concrete Wall

Does Indoor Cycling Increase Fitness?

Indoor cycling is low impact and can be used to train aerobically. This makes it fantastic for increasing your overall, all-around fitness. Indoor cycling also helps to burn fat. It helps you build strong muscles. It increases your cardiorespiratory endurance.

Runners who are already fit may find that indoor cycling and spin classes work their muscles differently than when they run. Runners who cycle get a greater all-around workout for their muscles. This helps them perform better in their running overall, whatever their running goals may be.

Sprint intervals on an indoor trainer can also help you increase your fitness through cycling. These high intensity workouts engage your fast twitch muscles, making you a better sprinter. It is also very effective at burning fat and improving your muscle tone and strength. They help improve your agility and reactiveness. Mentally, they may challenge you, preparing you for the struggles of running long distances. So many benefits!

Indoor cycling is an excellent way to build up your all-around fitness. If you are looking to maintain fitness from running through an injury or improve your fitness indoor cycling is a great way to do that too.

Does Indoor Cycling Improve My Running And Build Muscle?

Indoor and running both require riders to use their quadriceps, core muscles, and hamstrings. They work these muscles differently but both help build the strength in these areas of the body as they are used.

Cycling has a lower impact on the body overall than running. This is why indoor cycling can serve as an excellent cross-training activity for runners looking to become stronger especially in their core, quads, and hamstrings.

Some trainers and indoor cycling bikes allow you to adjust the resistance as you train. Resistance training encourages your muscles to get stronger. Interval training works fast twitch muscles. This improves your speed overtime.

Different indoor cycling workouts help riders and runners build their muscles in unique ways. One workout may train the muscles for endurance. Other workouts may focus on improving their reactiveness. Both help build muscles over time through cycling.

Related article – Best Budget Bike Trainers 

Spinning Class With 4 Guys

Frequently Asked Questions

Will indoor cycling slow me down?

No! Indoor cycling will make you faster. It does not slow you down. It improves your fitness and strength ultimately giving you faster running speeds too!

How much biking is equivalent to running?

Experts agree that there is a 1:3 ratio for running to cycling. 1 mile of running is the same as three miles of cycling.

What type of indoor cycling workouts are there?

Indoor cycling workouts of a wide variety can be used to complement your running. Sprint interval workouts can help increase your speed and engage fast twitch muscles. Endurance workouts on a trainer promote cardiorespiratory fitness and increase overall stamina. Resistance workouts help build and tone muscles.

Your local fitness center may offer a variety of classes that promote strength, speed, and endurance. Check out our article on how you can Improve Your Performance With These Cycling Training Plans.

Final Thoughts

Indoor cycling is a fantastic way for runners to build up overall fitness. It also includes benefits like (but not limited to!):

  • Improving speed and agility
  • Increases endurance
  • Builds muscle and burns fat

Runners that are injured may find indoor cycling helps them recover and maintain their fitness until they can run again. 

As a runner, indoor cycling will greatly help you go further and faster if it is properly integrated into your weekly or daily training routine. You will see results as many other runners have from making the time and transition to a fitness regime that includes indoor cycling.

How’s your training coming along?

Hi, I'm Harry, the owner of this site! A 30-something MAMIL - a middle-aged man in lycra. An avid cyclist who is looking to maintain a baseline level of fitness to be able to enjoy the great outdoors on weekend rides with his mates!

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