A snow covered path with footprints, between two fields

Cycling and Running

I like cycling, hiking and climbing rather than running but I read an article that makes me think that cycling and running are incompatible. In one sport the leg becomes a spring and as you run it becomes fine tuned to reflect the energy back into forward motion whereas in cycling torque is key.

Why Do Cyclists Have Bigger Legs explores the physiological difference between running and cycling. Specifically a runner wants muscles that are springy and provice forward motion whereas as cyclist wants to provide torque and downwards force to propel the bike forwards. Apparently trail running and cycling are better friends because both require more strength and power to “raise” the body.

Any cyclist who has ever tried running will know, those first few runs can lead to quite a bit of discomfort in the Achilles tendon and lower gastrocnemius (calf) muscle.” As I type this blog post I can feel that pain in my achilles tendons. I can feel when I’m running, compared to cycling and that’s why I try to increase the distance I run gradually. I know that my heart can cope with running, but I don’t want to strain my tendons, ligaments and joints too much. I don’t want to end up injuring myself.

The article explores the need to generate a lot more force in cycling than in running. This is especially true when climbing steep gradients. When you’re on a steep gradient you need to be able to press down with a lot of force, for extended periods of time to get to the top so it makes sense not just to have good cardio health but also the muscle strength to follow.

This shows that although cycling feels like a cardio sport it isalso about building the right leg muscles to cope with the demands of the sport. I often trained my upper body for climbing when I went to the gym but I didn’t train it for cycling. For cycling I used Zwift so I didn’t notice whether my legs changed in shape or volume.

I read this out of curiousity and interest.

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