Can runners benefit by reducing their running miles and replacing some of their training with cycling? We look at the evidence and come to some surprising conclusions.
As triathletes know, cross training has many benefits - amongst other things, it can help reduce injuries, reduce boredom, and give you better all around fitness.
However, many runners do nothing but running, eschewing the potential benefits of other forms of exercise in a quest to log as many miles as possible.
As a trainer I've also found biking to be useful for long distance runners, or those training for long races, such as marathons, allowing them to work on their endurance without the weight bearing effects of excessive running.
Indeed, many coaches now advocate replacing active recovery runs (junk miles) with bike rides, and believe that it can reduce the risk of injury and prolong your running career.
Until recently, this argument was mostly based on common sense or apocryphal stories, but some recently published scientific research has finally provided evidence to support this view.