Affects of Cross-training on distance running?

Question:I'm a female college distance runner (18:30 5K) who wants to switch to triathlons as soon as my collegiate eligibility is done. I've done a couple sprint triathlons already and want to do more this summer, but my coach is very hesitant to let me cross train much. I will be running about 55 miles a week this summer and would love to add in or replace runs with a couple 30-40 mile bike rides - has anyone seen negative affects in running by adding biking? Or positive?

Thanks so much!


Triple Jump or Long Jump tips?

I have heard that swimming can elongate you tendons and ligaments and could lead to issues. I know if I do too much of my cool down in the pool in the breast stroke instead of the crawl, I tend to feel it in my knees on my next run if it is within 24 hours. But if you stick with the crawl, aka freestyle, you should be ok.

I have never felt an negative effects from biking. Just make sure you have a proper fit for your bike and that your pedal to shoe mesh is at the correct angle and you should be ok.

The only thing I can think of that may be making you coach hesitant about the bike is that it tends to build up the mass in your thighs instead of slimming them like running does. I guess in the long run that could cause you to be carrying more weight on your runs.

Until you finish your collegiate career it is probably safer to limit your rides to 20-30 miles no more than twice a week.

Running question?

The principle of specificity of training says that the best way to train to run is to run. Biking will make you a better duathlete or triathlete but it probably won't make you a faster runner. That said, doing those rides probably won't hurt your running either. 30-40 mile bike rides aren't that long. Even an occasional 70-100 mile ride shouldn't cause a problem.

Here's an excellent article that looks at the affects of cycling cross training and running.

I am surprised your coach is against cross training. Running actually trains very few muscles.The purpose of cross training is to strengthen neglected areas so that a runner can run without getting injured.

Middle School Track Records?

Actually, I saw my long distance run times get much better after I started biking. Unless you are overdoing it to the point where you neglect your running training, biking will only help you. And there is much less chance of injury, and less stress on your legs.

How do i work harder?

I can understand your coach being hesitant in allowing you to cross train for a few reasons. First you are a distance runner who will be running 55 miles a week. The amount of stress you place on you leg muscles and joints during this time is designed to get you ready for distance running. By adding a few bike rides in place of running does not necessarily hurt you and does build leg strength that could actually help you, however it does increase your risk of injury or over training especially if you are new to cycling. Being a collegiate athlete you train hard and don't do anything easy, so if you decide to add cycling to your training remember to start slow and allow time to develop your quads.

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