Despite having always been a cyclist in high school, in college, I decided to give running a shot and ran both track and cross-country. While not racing my bike seemed a bit foreign, I loved the simplicity of running and stopped riding even recreationally.
So when my childhood friend called me to ask if I wanted to come back to our hometown to go for a ride, I was pretty excited to get back on the bike – although I figured I’d get my butt kicked since he was on his D1 collegiate cycling team and had been racing all year with great results.
WAIT… WHAT’S GOING ON?
Without getting into too much detail, what I expected to happen happened. He kicked my butt on the bike in most every situation… except up steep hills. I not only matched him but was able to ride away from him.
It quickly became apparent to me that the body position used when climbing out of the saddle closely mimics that of running and more specifically, running uphill.
MY SECRET WEAPON!
Ever since that day, I’ve used out of the saddle cycling as my secret training weapon for running. As I’m a bit injury prone, instead of doing my hard efforts on a track or running uphills, I would mount my bike on an indoor trainer and perform out of the saddle interval efforts. This way I was able to maximize my cardiovascular fitness and train my leg muscles for running without the impact.
Whether or not you use out of the saddle cycling in place of, or to compliment hard running efforts, incorporating it into your program will most likely help your running performance.
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