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Does Running In The Off-Season Improve Your Cycling?

If you're a cyclist who wants to keep fit and improve your performance, you might be wondering if running in the off-season is a good idea. Running is a great way to maintain cardiovascular fitness, strengthen muscles and bones, and prevent injuries.

But how does it affect your cycling skills and endurance?

The answer is: It depends. Running can have positive and negative effects on your cycling, depending on how you do it, how often you do it, and what your cycling goals are. Here are some pros and cons of running in the off-season for cyclists:

  • Running can improve your VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise. This can help you perform better at high-intensity cycling efforts such as sprints, climbs, and time trials.

  • Running can increase your leg strength and power, especially if you do hill repeats or intervals. This can help you pedal faster and harder on the bike.

  • Running can improve your mental toughness and resilience. It challenges you to overcome discomfort and fatigue. This can help you cope with the demands of long-distance cycling events, such as Gran Fondos, centuries, or stage races.

  • Running can add variety and fun to your training routine. It allows you to explore new places, enjoy nature, and meet new people. This can help you avoid boredom and burnout from cycling.

  • Running can cause muscle soreness and stiffness, especially in the calves, hamstrings, and quads. This can affect your cycling performance and recovery and increase your risk of injury.

  • Running can reduce your cycling-specific fitness and skills, such as pedalling efficiency, cadence, balance, and handling. This can make you slower and less confident on the bike.

  • Running can interfere with your cycling training plan. It takes time and energy from your bike sessions and makes you miss out on workouts specific to your cycling goals.

So, should you run in the off-season or not?

The answer is: It depends. If you enjoy running and want to reap its benefits, you can do it once or twice a week as a cross-training activity. However, you should limit your running distance and intensity and avoid doing it before or after a hard bike workout. You should also pay attention to your body and adjust your running frequency and duration according to how you feel.

If you don't like running or want to focus on improving your cycling-specific fitness and skills, you can skip it altogether or replace it with another low-impact activity, such as swimming, hiking, yoga or long walks. These activities can also help you stay fit and healthy in the off-season without compromising your cycling performance.


Whatever you decide to do, remember that the off-season is a time to recover, rejuvenate, and have fun. Don't stress too much about your running or cycling results. Just enjoy the process and prepare yourself for the next season!


That is it. Thank you for reading. I hope you found it to be a useful resource. Questions, comments and high fives! Drop them here.


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