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Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness
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While this is obvious and has been proven again and again here and other places, I got a front row seat at something impressive this weekend.

Background: The guy in this story has been a local pro mountain biker for years. Raced everything in the book over the past 15 years. Never done any running. In 2012 he basically retired from racing (which doesn't mean anything more than he stopped competing as he has a full time job etc). He still rides once or twice a week. A few weeks ago he decided to start running. He goes out and does a handful of runs here and there. After a month of runs, he decides he wants to try his first running race.

This weekend was a 25k trail race called Bunker Hill put on by the Baltimore Road Runners Club. Strava puts the numbers at 15.5 miles, 2,100 ft of climbing. Mostly single track with a few technical rocky/rooty sections. So this guy goes out, after a month of running (and 15 years of riding) and throws down a 1:52 and destroys the field.

7:13's for 15 miles is no hero pace. But in single track, with that kind of climbing and no running pedigree, I was just laughing to myself.

My ultimate takeaway was thinking about all of the type A's on here, like myself, who look for the perfect balance of bike vs run time. What this showed me (in a very imperfect and unscientific way) was that each sport has much to offer the other by way of fitness.

If you want to be a fast runner, biking can definitely help!
Last edited by: %FTP: Sep 16, 13 14:34
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [%FTP] [ In reply to ]
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This is impressive, and I can believe it.

Apex Cycling - Team Manager
Insta: chris.s.apex
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [cmscat50] [ In reply to ]
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It probably helps that the guy had a really big motor to begin with.

Why is it a suprise that if your very fit at one sport that you won't be at another. Running doesn't have the technique learning curve that swimming does. IF you have naturally good running form, then it's jsut a matter of rapidly developing those specific muscles. Many overlap cycling.

On the flip side, in terms of generating power or total cardio capacity, and cyclist and swimmer has the advantage to a pure runner, in that their training volume can be higher without breaking them down.


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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [motoguy128] [ In reply to ]
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The guy must be really good at picking lines... coz it's like slow motion for him.

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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [motoguy128] [ In reply to ]
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Because I know there are plenty of guys out there that can bike and can't run.....well.

It seems to me there are plenty of great runners and they all can train to do well on the bike. Not all great bikers seem to have the potential to be great runners.

Apex Cycling - Team Manager
Insta: chris.s.apex
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [%FTP] [ In reply to ]
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I think the line is something like, "Athletes gonna be athletic."

/kj

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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [%FTP] [ In reply to ]
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%FTP wrote:
This weekend was a 25k mile trail race called Bunker Hill

This guy ran 25,000 miles?!? Thats awesome definitely going to start mountain biking
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [%FTP] [ In reply to ]
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A while back I noticed one local strava stud (he's prolly a pro or cat2+) go for a run. From his comment,I think he was bored or something and wanted to give it a try. Did 3mi or so, high 6/mi low 7/mi if memory serves. I though damn you, skinny bastard!
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [%FTP] [ In reply to ]
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I'm more impressed that he survived the DOMS associated with running when you havent ran in a while. If a few weeks of running is indeed true, that's pretty amazing, per se.
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [%FTP] [ In reply to ]
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%FTP wrote:
What this showed me (in a very imperfect and unscientific way) was that each sport has much to offer the other by way of fitness.

If you want to be a fast runner, biking can definitely help!

That's the part you got correct.
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [echappist] [ In reply to ]
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That was my take. You can have a huge engine, but running and riding use quite different muscles. Not having those adapted to long distance pounding and doing such a run is extraordinary.
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [%FTP] [ In reply to ]
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Actually, while I don't think it's untrue that bike fitness helps run fitness, reality is also likely true that this guy, having had the genetic ability to be a pro mountain biker, also had the genetics to be a running beast. I suspect that even if he had not biked professional at all, he would still be nearly crushing the field with very little run training on that same course.
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [%FTP] [ In reply to ]
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1) I was strickly a runner for 16 years after I quit little Oly's to focus on my strength. I went from 40 min 10k's down to 36 min. Marathons from 3:12 to 2:49 over a 3 year span. Kept running for the next 10 years, but nothing serious after that 2:49. Then I started up tri's because all my neighbor's were doing them. After 2 years of biking improvement, I focused on the bike this year as my friends kept telling me I had more to gain on the bike than run. Well, I ended up not only improving dramatically on the bike, I have been able to hold my run speed...despite hardly running. Whereas I used to run 50+ miles/week, I have been down to 25 mpw and not slowing down at all.

2) One of my new neighbors had been a competitive cyclist for years. For some reason he started running just 2 years ago. Now he's running faster than I ever did yet he doesn't put in anywhere near the mileage I used to...because he still bikes nearly 1/2 the time.

No double bike fitness can help run fitness.
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [karlw2000] [ In reply to ]
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30mpw running + good cycling volume = close to 55-70mpw of run training for me in terms of race performance up to HM. My 5k-10k times are essentially identical to my pure running times at that volume, with slightly more dropoff for the HM (and likely a significant dropoff for marathon.)
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [%FTP] [ In reply to ]
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%FTP wrote:
While this is obvious and has been proven again and again here and other places, I got a front row seat at something impressive this weekend.

I think the only takeaway from your story is that that guy has a lot of talent.

I can think of a dozen counter examples of elite amateur cyclists failing abysmally at running.

The two don't correlate in any sense of the word. Your friend is a major outlier.
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [Grindcore] [ In reply to ]
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Grindcore wrote:
A while back I noticed one local strava stud (he's prolly a pro or cat2+) go for a run. From his comment,I think he was bored or something and wanted to give it a try. Did 3mi or so, high 6/mi low 7/mi if memory serves. I though damn you, skinny bastard!


Weight is probably the most important, yet most overlooked aspect of running well. Makes watts/kg look downright unimportant in comparison to performance.
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Re: Bike fitness can dramatically help run fitness [needmoreair] [ In reply to ]
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Na. He might be the best of them all, but anyone who has descent athleticism (more required in running than cycling) benefits from the motor building done in cycling.

Every competitive cyclist I know that has dabbled in running, excels easily.

But yes, Chris Beck is talented for sure.
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