Should Cyclists Run and Should Runners Cycle? – with Lauren Vallee

Coach Lauren Vallee talks with us about how cyclists and runners can incorporate the other sport into their training, not only to improve health, but to increase their performance.

lauren vallee picture
Lauren Vallee in action at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, October 2022. Photo: Justin Luau

As athletes it’s easy for us to become purists: Most cyclists get sore at the thought of running and runners cringe at the thought of pedaling in circles. Many of us have had the concept of specificity drilled into our heads and the idea of doing an entirely different sport might seem like a waste of time.  

Yet the health benefits of cross-training have been demonstrated repeatedly and it’s clear that doing just one sport can lead to imbalances and increase our risk of injury. There is a growing body of research supporting a crossover effect with cross-training that may improve the performance in your main sport.  

Here to talk with us about how to take advantage of this crossover effect is a coach and athlete who has no problems with cross-training—Lauren Vallee, the owner of Valiant Endurance. Fresh from racing the Ironman World Championship in Kona recently, Vallee knows a thing or two about getting the most from both running and cycling. She brings her experience to this episode to teach us how to best use one sport to maximize another while limiting the risk of injury.  

And if you’re looking to put her advice into practice, you’ll find three of Vallee’s go-to bike and run workouts here.  

Along with Vallee, we talk with other cross-training experts including physiologist Bent Rønnestad, retired professional cyclist Brent Bookwalter, and top coaches Neal Henderson and Houshang Amiri.  

So, put on your bike shoes—and your running shoes—and let’s make you fast!  

References

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Brearley, S., & Bishop, C. (2019). Transfer of Training. Strength and Conditioning Journal, Publish Ahead of Print(NA;), NA; Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1519/ssc.0000000000000450 

Brennan, D. K., & Wilder, R. P. (1996). Cross-training and periodization in running. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, 6(1), 49–58. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3233/bmr-1996-6106 

Chan, H. C.-K., Ho, W. K.-Y., & Yung, P. S.-H. (2018). Sprint cycling training improves intermittent run performance. Asia-Pacific Journal of Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation and Technology, 11, 6–11. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asmart.2017.11.001 

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Jafariyan, S., Monazzami, A., Nikousefat, Z., Nobahar, M., & Yari, K. (2017). Inflammatory and immune responses to a 3-day period of downhill running in active females. Cellular and Molecular Biology, 63(7), 76–83. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14715/cmb/2017.63.7.13 

Komnos, G. A., & Menetrey, J. (2022). The Running Athlete, A Comprehensive Overview of Running in Different Sports, 233–237. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-65064-6_26 

Mallol, M., Norton, L., Bentley, D. J., Mejuto, G., Norton, K., & Yanci, J. (2020). Physiological Response Differences between Run and Cycle High Intensity Interval Training Program in Recreational Middle Age Female Runners. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 19(3), 508–516. 

Millet, G. P., Vleck, V. E., & Bentley, D. J. (2009). Physiological Differences Between Cycling and Running. Sports Medicine, 39(3), 179–206. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200939030-00002 

Paquette, M. R., Peel, S. A., Smith, R. E., Temme, M., & Dwyer, J. N. (2018). The Impact of Different Cross-Training Modalities on Performance and Injury-Related Variables in High School Cross Country Runners. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32(6), 1745–1753. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000002042 

Swinnen, W., Kipp, S., & Kram, R. (2018). Comparison of running and cycling economy in runners, cyclists, and triathletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 118(7), 1331–1338. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-3865-4 

Takahashi, K., Shirai, Y., Oki, S., & Nabekura, Y. (2022). The effect of a decrease in stretch-shortening cycle function after cycling on subsequent running. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 25(3), 261–265. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2021.09.004 

Tanaka, H. (1994). Effects of Cross-Training. Sports Medicine, 18(5), 330–339. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199418050-00005 

 

Episode Transcript

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