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!  


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Episode Transcript

Rob Pickels  00:04

Hello and welcome to Fast talk, your source for the science of endurance performance. As athletes, it’s easy for us to become curious. Most cyclists get sore even 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.

Rob Pickels  00:30

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.

Rob Pickels  00:49

Here to talk with us about how to take advantage of this crossover effect is a coach who has no problems with cross training. Lauren Vallee, the owner of Vallee Endurance. Fresh from racing The Ironman World Championship in Kona, 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. If you are looking to put her advice to practice, head to Fast Talk where Vallee gives us some of her go-to bike and run workouts.

Rob Pickels  01:01

Along with Vallee we talk with other cross training experts including physiologist Dr. Bent Ronstadt, retired professional cyclist, Brent Bookwalter, and top coaches Neil Henderson and who Xiang Emiri. So put on your bike shoes and your running shoes and let’s make you fast.

Trevor Connor  01:40

As a cycling coach, it’s really easy, even tempted to focus on the workouts and the training plans. After all, this is the bread and butter of being a coach, but there’s much more that affects an athlete’s performance. So new this week for Bastok labs module eight of the craft of coaching with Joe Friel unpacks, the black box of sports psychology, tapping a diverse group of experts from around the world, including Dr. Andy Kirklin, Julie Emerman, Rob Griffis, and Jeff trophy. By applying the bio psychosocial model to endurance sports performance, these experts show better ways to consider an athlete stress, how to engage and motivate athletes, and how to help athletes build confidence, resilience, motivation and enjoyment of their sports. So see what’s new and endurance coach in the fast talk Loire Valley, thanks for joining us. This is the first time we’ve had you on the show. Heard that you are actually a neighbor of Emma Kate, our content strategist. So very excited to have you come join us for an actual episode.

Lauren Vallee  02:47

Thank you. I appreciate the invitation. And hopefully this is the first of a few visits would be great.

Rob Pickels  02:55

Yeah, definitely looking forward to it. And if you’re a regular listener of the podcast, you know that Trevor has talked about his back in the past. And, you know, Trevor just came back from Tobago, and unfortunately, that pesky back of Trevor has got itself thrown out. So, you know, Laura and listeners we’re getting Trevor today in in an ibuprofen fueled haze, so, so it’s gonna be a great episode.

Trevor Connor  03:19

Yeah, you are seeing my bedroom, because that is as far as I’ve gotten the last two days.

Rob Pickels  03:25

Perfect. So what are we talking about today, Trevor? It’s kind of getting to the offseason for some people, they might be thinking about some other sports. How are those working together?

Trevor Connor  03:35

Well, we’ve talked about this before, and everybody thinks about this, you get to the end of the season. If you’re a cyclist, you’re ready to get off the bike. If you’re a runner, you’re ready to do something different. And we all think about cross training, which I think is a great thing in the offseason. So that motivated this episode. But really, the more we thought about it, the more we thought a really good question is just should cyclists be running? And should runners be cycling? The sports are different, they both have their pros and cons. And it’s a valuable question to say, are they complimentary? Are you going to help your cycling by running? Are you going to help your running by cycling? So we’ll go a little bit into the differences of them. But the whole way through? Really, the focus is on why you should or shouldn’t be doing the alternate sport. So with that, like I said, Well, we’ll talk about the why throughout the episode. But Lauren, let’s throw it to you. Could you give us the very quick two minute of why cyclists should be running and why runners should be cycling or if you think they shouldn’t be why they think they shouldn’t be?

Lauren Vallee  04:42

Well, I think that broadly, I think that runners should cycle and I do think that cyclists should run and there are reasons for that, that we’ll dive into. But first and foremost, I think, perhaps grounding the conversation in what makes an athlete successful and what not really drives performance in any athlete and that’s consistency. And so one of the things that will, you’ll he’ll, I will come back to and probably beat it to death. But anything I can do as a coach to encourage consistency and an athlete is really important and anything that an athlete can do to encourage consistency and their own training. Year round really will be the thing that over time really progresses an athlete forward and, and keeps them in sport for longer.

Rob Pickels  05:31

No longer and correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re primarily a triathlete. I am a triathlete. Yes. You know, not gonna lie. Is this a little bit of a biased opinion from somebody who’s doing both? Or is there you know, some solid? I don’t want to say at least evidence, but anecdotal evidence that yeah, this is mutually beneficial for a runner to pick up the bike and vice versa?

Lauren Vallee  05:52

That is a great question. And I don’t think I’m bias. If I look at anecdotally, I do coach runners who I program cycling for, for recovery, strength building. For variety. Actually, I’ll talk about this later to for mental training and evaluation, which is something that most people wouldn’t think about. And vice versa. I have some cyclist who run. And I have found great success actually in, in those two solos, you know, individual sports those athletes doing well, when they incorporate at least one other modality. You know,

Rob Pickels  06:29

I’m thinking this episode, I might end up being a little bit of a naysayer, because recently, because of lack of time, I haven’t been on the bike as much and I have been running and let me tell you, I have been so incredibly sore, that I’m looking for every reason in the world that I should not be running. And and that cycling is the only thing that a cyclist can do. But you know, talking to you and Trevor, I’m not sure I’m gonna come away with that opinion.

Trevor Connor  06:55

So here’s my, here’s my really important question to you. Is there training transfer from rolling around your bedroom in your office chair?

Rob Pickels  07:05

That’s training. Yeah, it is

Trevor Connor  07:07

all I have done for the last two days.

Lauren Vallee  07:12

long as you get some mobility of some movement.

Trevor Connor  07:14

Yeah, it has been that you should have seen me right before this podcast, because I got to my desk. I’m like, Oh, I forgot my headphones. So I’ve like rolled around to the chair a good half an hour later, like, I don’t have the cable for my headphones, I roll somewhere else, I get the cable. I looked like an eight year old man.

Lauren Vallee  07:30

That’s flexibility and adaptability. That’s, that’s brilliant.

Trevor Connor  07:34

That’s my workout for today. That’s all you’re getting out of me. So let’s dive a little deeper into the differences all with the question of Is This a reason to cross train or reason not to. And I think we have to address what’s a little bit of an elephant in the room. That the naysayers to cross training, which we’ll bring up, which is specificity, specificity, specificity, you need to train very specifically to your sport to get adaptations. And they will show you that the muscles that you use in cycling or and running are very different. So you can make a solid argument that cross training, you’re not working the same muscles, you’re not going to get that much of a benefit. Now I have a counter argument, this actually comes out. So I’ll start this off, and then you guys can run with it. This actually comes from Israel, and and you might recognize that name. He’s the guy who really introduced periodized training to North America, and Europe. And his point was, you’re trained to think so you train skills, which are highly specific, but you also train capacities. So it’s like your aerobic system or your cardiovascular system. And he feels that does transfer that is not nearly as specific. Before we discussed this question, let’s hear from Coach Neal Henderson and his thoughts on specificity and what does and doesn’t transfer.

Neal Henderson  08:59

So metabolic capacity to some degree has a lot of transference from one activity type to another. So if you have fitness from running specifically, you’re going to have some of those fitness benefits from a metabolic point of view when you get on a bike. There are going to be very clear differences though in the exact absolute kind of capacity to perform based on the type of muscle contraction. So if you are a swimmer and you go for a run, your muscles are not going to be used to that E centric movement as your foot lands when you run and so you might have an energetic capacity to do more work you may run into a mechanical issue and potentially even start causing cramps because your muscles are being contracted in a way that they are not used to initially but there is some transfer and and in some of the metabolism in general fitness, though to have your absolute best performance, you do need to spend time doing the specific activity that you want to perform your best at.

Trevor Connor  09:58

So what do you guys think?

Rob Pickels  09:59

Well For me as the naysayer, like I said, it’s not specificity. It’s pain, pain, pain, and then good luck arguing against that one with me. But that that point aside, yeah, I do think that we do oftentimes talk about the concept right of energy systems, how are we producing energy? What is our cardiovascular system and the components that make that up vo two Max and these other physiological variables. And I do think that training in general that is focused on improving those variables is potentially quite transferable across sports, right? We know that runners have very high vo two maxes and utilizing that to train vo two Max that’s potentially worthwhile for cyclists. But I do think that we can take this specificity thing and say, Hey, if you want to be the absolute best cyclists in the world, you can’t do all your training is running. Right, Chris Froome is not winning the New York City Marathon anytime soon, and vice versa. But you know, Lauren, I’d love to hear from you, especially as somebody who trains athletes who have to cycle and run, you know, is specificity, something that you’re thinking about as a coach and utilizing the two sports in that manner?

Lauren Vallee  11:12

There’s two things I want to address. I’ll address the multisport question. And then I want to go back to what Trevor said about benefit. So the first one is, if I understand or remember your question, Rob, it’s how do I think about like one discipline impacting the other physiologically? Is that what you’re asking?

Rob Pickels  11:32

Well, I think, I think in general, what you have is a unique perspective as somebody who has to think about both sports when you’re training your athletes. Yeah, so

Lauren Vallee  11:42

I think with any coaching program for whatever sport you have, again, you have to consider what is the athlete need, what is the requirement of the race. And so in triathlon, a lot of people think of it as a swim, a bike and a run, and that you just need to be fit and swimming, fit and cycling, fit and running. And that’s a false thought process. And triathlon is really one sport that has three different disciplines that all impact one another. So I can’t be thinking in isolation, okay, I need a vo two Max set for my swim a vo two Max set for my bike and a vo two Max set for my run, then I need a threshold set for my swim the thresholds have for my because that would take up your entire week, if I’m thinking for each individual sport, I need to hit each energy system whatsoever. And so I have to be really intentional with where I put the intensity in a certain session during the week. And so a lot of times what people will call like a gray area or a zone three type effort kind of tempo we work, I will actually have that type of work done on the run off of the bike, because you’re a little more fatigued off of a hard or long bike ride. And this is actually taking advantage of the fact that you’re a little more fatigued, and it produces really, really good results I’ve found for for triathlon racing. So I’m always considering how fatigue will affect what someone can produce and how that impacts the rest of the week. So there’s no right way to do it. And I guess the other thing I’ll say is, there are certain athletes who can only run so much in a week, or can only ride so much in a week. And so I also have to take that into consideration. And you guys interviewed Rach McBride and my partner Matteo murkier about Rachel’s success, and Rachel basically writing most of her most of their training. And, you know, the question was, how are they doing this. And I’ve seen the training that Rach does, and it’s a really great balance of intensity and volume on the bike, and really specific running sessions for them.

Trevor Connor  13:48

Yeah, to continue with that. And going back to his reference points about capacities versus skills. When I coach a triathlete, I do think about skills and building those capacities differently. So when I’m thinking about, how do we build that aerobic engine, I figure out what’s the work I want an athlete to do, then I decide, so go, say, I want this many interval sessions in a week, here’s the sort of interval work I want to do, then I’ll decide what disciplines they’re going to do that interval work in. But when it comes to the skills, you have to think about them separately, you can do all the running of the world, that’s not going to improve your swim stroke. So you need to put in the time in the pool learning to improve your swim stroke, you need to improve your your running gait. And those are highly specific. You can’t do them in any of the other disciplines.

Rob Pickels  14:36

Yeah, I think that this is a good place to mention a couple of the research studies that I looked at when I was prepping for this and, you know, a knock against all of them is that they’re relatively small subject sizes. I think it’s hard to get a lot of people you know, to convince enough cyclists that running is good to get research subjects there. But um, you know, one of them was was done by a researcher named Wallace and they added cycling training into a running program. Now this was in addition to the running that people were doing. So it was an increase in volume. But that increase in volume, even though it was on the bike improved their three kilometer running time trial. So specificity would say, that shouldn’t happen. But the energy system side of things kind of agrees with that. So that seems like it makes sense. There was another one that came out of maybe Sweden or Norway, I forget which, but a Nordic country, it was a case study on a single elite national level cyclist, and that cyclist in the wintertime when it was too cold to be riding outside, they reduced their cycling training volume, and added in some running intensity, and actually saw improvements in their view to max and Time Trial performance. So again, you know, exactly the same concept that you’re talking about, how do we mix and match these different modalities, and we are seeing benefits in the opposite sport. And then the last one was a research paper on some female recreational runners by Malala. They essentially added some high intensity interval training on the bike. And they also saw some improvement in their run performance as well. So, you know, the specificity argument should say that no, none of this is going to happen. But we have at least three small research studies that say, yeah, there is some transfer here.

Lauren Vallee  16:20

It just, I think, to jump on that, I think, if you’re continuing to cycle while you’re adding writing, and you are still getting specificity of training for cycling, and so if you’re doing easy aerobic runs or short, fast, like 15, second uphill sprints to try and create some power, I think that physiologically that makes sense that there would be some benefit, you know, and vice versa the other way around, too. So as you know, I think like, Trevor, you said that Chris Froome isn’t going to win the New York City Marathon anytime soon. But if he’s if he’s, you know, adding short bouts of running into his training, I don’t think that would necessarily be a bad thing. If there was a reason for it, that’s the biggest thing is, like a lot of athletes just add stuff to their program willy nilly and have no intention or structure. And hopefully, we can address how to put structure to adding a new sport to your training.

Trevor Connor  17:11

And I’m really looking forward to diving into that. And to that point, you know, I think one reason this goes back to his era, and he made a really good point, in his review of cross training, that goes to, again, to actually specificity and he flipped the specificity argument. It showed that overtraining, and particularly burnout actually is specific. So you can get to a point where you don’t want to look at a bike again. But you can feel fresh as a daisy when you put on the running shoes and go out for a run. So he made a really good point, particularly for athletes like Chris Froome, that if you’re trying to build an overload, spending a ton of time on the bike might push you into that overtrained or burned out state, replacing some of that with running may still give you that overload without the risk of burnout.

Lauren Vallee  18:00

Beautifully said, I think that I agree very much with that.

Rob Pickels  18:04

Let’s take this conversation a little bit deeper on the physiological side of things. We know that cycling and running are both aerobic activities. Right. But you know, Trevor, what are your thoughts on how how we’re cycling and running, impacting the aerobic system in different ways.

Trevor Connor  18:21

So one thing that I think is really important that came up and even some of the studies you just mentioned, is they’ve shown that if you can match intensity, so we do have now running power meters and cycling power meters. So you can you can match by power, that running seems to work the cardiovascular system better, seems to have more of an impact on the VO two Max, you also see greater fat oxidization and higher metabolic demand. So there is an argument that you’re going to see greater cardiovascular gains running in less time. So it’s also more efficient, which is a real good argument for cyclists to include running.

Rob Pickels  19:00

Yeah, and that’s probably really related to the amount of muscle mass it’s active while you’re running. Right, you have your entire lower body, you have your core musculature providing support you have your upper body is swinging, I think oftentimes you’re going to see increase in vo two max or an increase in vo two values for runners than you will in cyclists.

Trevor Connor  19:21

You know, the other side of this, which contributes to the efficiency is you do see that running enhances conversion to fiber type to the type one from type two, which is better for your aerobic engine.

Rob Pickels  19:34

The other thing that I think you’ll see on efficiency is that musculotendinous stiffness right from running, that the power that you’re applying through the soft tissue in your body is maybe reaching the pedals a little bit more directly if you have some tighter tendons and your muscle activity is better. So just to finish

Trevor Connor  19:54

out this conversation of the differences that you see between these two sports I think there’s two really important ones that do make a good argument for why cyclists should be running and why runners should be cycling. And that’s some of the disadvantages you see in each sport. So ruddy has a lot more eccentric activity in it, which is that when the muscle is contracting, well, it’s actually lengthening. That happens every time you impact the ground, because you’re literally your leg is acting as a brake, so that muscles lengthening, but it’s also trying to stop you so it’s contracted. What that means is that running produces a lot more damage, it has a lot greater risk for injury. And going back to that study that Rob talked about, with the the female runners doing the 3000 meter run, what are their explanations for why you didn’t see the the women who did a lot of run intervals improve was because of that injury and the fatigue caused from all that damage. They just couldn’t adapt. They couldn’t handle all the high intensity work. And so they weren’t able to improve, even though they were doing a ton of high intensity running training. So that’s the thing that you have to be careful about was running on. The other side of that is, of course, you see a lot more inflammation and Dom’s and running than you wouldn’t cycling.

Rob Pickels  21:18

On the flip side of that a question that I’ve had that I have not seen research from is does that East centric movement in running lead to increase in strength in the musculature that you don’t get right. And hopefully you read something I wasn’t able to. But I could almost see that as being beneficial to cycling, despite the fact that it increases injury risk, like you’re mentioning,

Trevor Connor  21:41

that was actually a chapter written by a GA, a Cognos that are read ahead of this. And it was an explanation for why cyclists have run. And basically the way he explained it is the running improves muscular endurance, the durability of the muscles. So because cycling is only a concentric motion, you can get a little bit of a fragility in the cyclists legs, if they’re not doing any sort of eccentric motion. The other danger that you have a cyclist is you need that impact to build and keep your bones strong. So you do see a loss of bone mineral density and cyclists. So if all you’re ever doing is riding your bike, you’re actually going to build this fragility. And either running or getting in the weight room is going to help a lot with

Rob Pickels  22:26

that. Awesome, thanks. I’m glad that you were able to read that, as we just pointed out there

Trevor Connor  22:31

dangerous to just writing or just running. As we discussed in this next clip with Brent book, Walter health is one of the most important reasons to cross train. So did you do any sort of cross training to do run ski, do any sort of other endurance sports,

Brent Bookwalter  22:47

not as much as I would have liked, which goes back to that, that shrinking offseason window, and that preseason window just gets so short. And I think our bodies become so specialized by just riding, riding, riding through the year being at the stage races where we’re not even walking around much. You know, you come into the offseason, everyone’s different, some guys that maybe hit a running background, you know, they could transition into that quite quick and actually get to the point where they’re quote training. But for me, the years that I would do some running, for instance, you know about the time where I finally if I wanted to build up to it slowly to where I wouldn’t get injured. By the time I got to the point where I could actually feel like I was getting some aerobic benefit from running and my muscles that adapted, then it’s like time, there’s no time left, then it’s time to race again, or, you know, the training loads if a bike is going up, so I didn’t do much bike, I would have loved to ski more. But I didn’t mainly out of fear for getting hurt, I think. Yeah, for me, the main variation I did was definitely to do some hiking, which I think was really good, good for bone density and good for that, that skeletal system, gradually load the pack a little more on the back throughout that that window. Yeah, it feels good to do something different slow down and look around. And then yeah, for me, it was still biking. But the mountain bike was eyes and each part of that year too, which is more dynamic, and definitely different than grinding away on the road bike.

Trevor Connor  24:10

So for people who don’t have as long a race season as you and have a little more time, do you think there is a value to doing other endurance sports? Do you think it will help their cycling help their health,

Brent Bookwalter  24:21

I think it’ll definitely help their health. And I think it will help their cycling by helping their health. I think especially I’m 38 years old now. And I saw this happen with myself through my career that the body is not as pliable as it used to be and it doesn’t come back from injury as fast as it does before. And that’s sort of novel stimulus. And that dynamic load that you can put on the body just keeps it it keeps the body guessing and keeps the body adapting and it keeps a viable and moldable. So that when you know we do experience something different, we can actually adapt. So I wouldn’t say that the crossover endurance work would I don’t believe that. If you run a bunch of In the offseason, all of a sudden you’re gonna get on the bike the next year and you know, just because of that have your best year ever be able to do a lot more power and drop all your friends and ride all your best times on your climbs. But I do think it’s part of the mental and physical component to staying healthy and diversified and balanced and that is performance once it comes time for bike season

Trevor Connor  25:20

and interesting to bring up as you get older there’s probably a value in diversifying like that and focusing a little more on the health

Brent Bookwalter  25:28

yeah and really don’t wait till you get older because it’s very much a use it or lose it you know it’s it’s hard to hard to learn new tricks as we get older and if I could do anything different in hindsight now like currently right now I’m I’m really fallen falling in love with like the ski up ski down scheme. Oh, revolution, and the irony is is really big right now. And it’s a it’s a wonder it’s an awesome workout. It’s it’s a great way to be in the winter. You have to have mountains and snow, obviously. But um, yeah, it’s, uh, I have a little bit of an alpine skiing background so I can get down safely. might be different from someone who’s never never skied before, but, but yeah, utilizing that. Yeah, new fresh movement, pathways and change of environment too. I think it’s good to mix it up.

Trevor Connor  26:16

Just like their athletes, all coaches have strengths and weaknesses. Most coaches are pretty good at workouts and training plans, but there’s so much more that affects an athlete’s performance. The craft of coaching legendary endurance sports coach Joe Friel, admits his own greatest weakness as a coach, the mental side of sport. So for the newest part of the craft of coaching series, Joe Friel taps a diverse group of experts around the world to unlock the black box of sports performance. See what’s new in endurance coaching at fast talk So, basically, to summarize, the reasons a cyclist would want to include running as one, maintain that bone mineral density, the greater cardiovascular gains, you can get more efficiency of time, your 30 metre run, who’s gonna give you the equivalent of like an hour, hour and a half ride on the bike, and a little better muscle balance. So there’s a lot of reasons why cyclists should run. But now let’s throw this over to you. How should a cyclist incorporate running and it says, we’re in the offseason right now, what’s your suggestions for a cyclist is taking a bit of a break from from cycling, and is thinking about including running for the next month,

Lauren Vallee  27:31

I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of why a cyclist might run. And so when a cyclist is thinking about incorporating running into their program, a couple of things stand out. biomechanic biomechanically, when one rides a bike, you’re in hip flexion. And when we’re running, you’re creating power through hip extension. And that is not typically a movement pattern that if you’re only cycling, that you are used to except when you’re walking. And so the first thing is, a cyclist wants to understand that I may have this big aerobic engine. And when I go to run, I am learning a new skill. running as a sport, it seems quite simple, you just need running shoes, but there are things to think about. So I’ll start with that hip flexion position where you’re creating power on the bike. And why it’s important to understand cognitively what’s happening when you’re running is run speed as a function of stride length and turnover, or cadence. And in order to increase stride length to go faster, a lot of cyclists will kick their leg out in front of them, because they’re used to being in hip flexion. And they don’t have that great range of motion to actually extend their leg behind them and drive their leg back using their glute and firing in that position. So it may be that if you’re a cyclist and starting to run, I would encourage you to start with, if you can aim for, you know, 90 strides, single foot strides per minute, that’s great. And I can walk you through how you actually count that. But watches, like garments will tell you approximately what your turnover is. But taking short, choppy steps in the beginning. And running pretty light is going to be important for two reasons what I just said about hip extension and developing the range of motion that you’re gonna need. And the second is developing the resilience and durability in the tendons and the ligaments of your body as you’re starting to run. Whereas we don’t have the same strain on your body when you’re cycling. So

Trevor Connor  29:27

yeah, actually, that’s really interesting. What ask you more about that. So I can tell you as a cyclist, who, in the offseason always puts on the running shoes. I always end up getting a lot of pain and my Achilles and I can tell you, I am a I guess what you’d call a foot dragger. I don’t really lift my feet off the ground and just kind of shuffle run. What should I your Eddie cyclists like me? How should we improve that? What should we be focusing on as we run?

Lauren Vallee  29:55

So there’s nothing wrong with shuffling and actually if you’re using Using reading just as a supplement to to get some more cardiovascular training some variety, it’s not a problem necessarily to shuffle. Actually a lot of triathletes, even top triathletes who are running off the bike, do something called an Ironman shuffle, their feet stay quite low. They’re not like track runners where their knees are driving straightforward, really high, and they have this high heel recovery. And so the first thing I would say is, you may just need to work on short bouts of hard running, possibly uphill. So you know, we’ve got all these wonderful hills, you could do a warm up nice and easy. And I don’t know what your frequency is of how often you run, how often do you run? We’ll just make this real well grounded in reality, how often do you run,

Trevor Connor  30:44

so we’re about to move into the middle of October right now. And I would say for middle of October to the end of November, I’ll probably run about four times a week, through the winter of keep up running about once a week.

Lauren Vallee  30:58

So I imagine one of those is just nice, slow, easy, aerobic shuffle, perfect. Working on your cadence like turnover, and then I would make one of those runs. Again, I don’t know the duration of your like what your weekly volume would be. But you might do something like a 45 minute run with a 15 minute warm up. And then anywhere from five, building your way up to say 10 by 22nd efforts up a pretty steep hill and focusing on driving your heel and foot back behind you while keeping your cadence up. That’s going to create some some big power. And it’s gonna, this is gonna sound counterintuitive, but it’s a little bit easier on your body to tolerate that if you’re trying to create power less pounding really? Well, it

Trevor Connor  31:40

also has some intuitive sense that that’s closer to the cycling motion when you’re running up hills.Absolutely. Yep.

Rob Pickels  31:46

Lauren, I think it’s really interesting that one of the first issues that you identify as his hip flexion side of things, and I know that that affects me greatly. I spend a lot of days sitting in an office chair, I spend a lot of time riding my bike. And I really struggle with hip extension. When I run my hip flexors are tight, my quads are tight. And I ended up ultimately straining or overworking muscles like my iliacus. And my so as and that oftentimes for me leads to lower back and SI joint pain. So I know for me, personally, it’s hugely important that I spend a lot of time massaging my quads, stretching those hip flexors, because you’re exactly right when I run, especially when I run fast, and especially when I run downhill on a trail, and my leg is trying to carry further behind me it is just wrenching on my lower back that entire time.

Lauren Vallee  32:38

I’m so glad you brought this up. Because this is something that, again, imagine a person who rides their bike all the time, like you, and they want to start running. And they because they have this giant aerobic engine, they’re like, Oh, I’m gonna go out and run for an hour as their first run. And they’re gonna take that first 20 minutes out like a bat out of hell and do so much damage, not only to like, like, not only to their body, but also just like logically like, I should be able to do this. Yes, physiologically, you can ride your bike for six hours, Rob, I’m sure. But going out and running for an hour right out of the gate, that’s gonna set you up for exactly what you’re talking about. And so for a cyclist before you start running, it really makes sense to do some really simple dynamic stretching at the hip joint, trying to get yourself into extension, a really simple thing that I can describe here without having to demonstrate it would be just a single leg bridge. So you’re lying on your back, you pull one knee into your chest, and then you just lift your hips up really trying to squeeze the glute of the leg where the foot is on the ground, just to kind of try and turn on your glutes because you really want to use your glutes when you’re running. And we are very quad centric when you’re on a on a bike. And it depends on what kind of bike and where you are in relationship to the bottom bracket. But But yeah, you can turn your glutes on before you go running that’s helpful. And doing a runner’s stretch, where you’re in like a deep lunge position, you’re kneeling, one leg is bent at 90 degrees and the back leg is on the back, the outstretched leg, that knee is on the ground. So you’re in like a deep lunge position. And if you can actually squeeze the glutes of the quad that is, excuse me of the leg that’s behind you. That will also teach your glute to fire when your leg is in hip extension, which is really simple and easy to do.

Rob Pickels  34:29

Yeah, I think that’s absolutely great advice. And I think that’s something that everyone can be incorporating into their training when they’re trying to move more into the running side of things. Lauren, something that you mentioned that was interesting to me and really resonated was, you’re right, I can go out for a six hour bike ride and an hour long run is really tough. But what’s really interesting with me for running is how quickly things fall apart when I’m out there. It seems like I can be a little bit tired in the middle of a three hour six hour long bike bribe and I’m not that much more tired. By the time I get back 30 minutes into a run, I can be like, Oh, I’m feeling this a little bit. And as I turn around and realize I have that 30 minutes to run back home, by the time I get home, I am dead tired, I can barely move. But I’m also really sore. It’s incredible how quickly running can just flip you upside down.

Trevor Connor  35:22

So I need to very quickly before you answer this share one of my favorite quotes, I asked the chiropractor for the Canadian National cycling team, what was the busiest time of year for him? And he went hands down October. I said, Why is that and he goes, because you get a bunch of cyclists who have the endurance to run a marathon and the knees a neuro muscular structure to run about 10 minutes. They go into a marathon,

Lauren Vallee  35:46

you know that, Trevor? It’s a combination of what you guys talked about when you talk about the physiology and the biomechanical difference between running and cycling. It’s the eccentric load, you need the skill to run efficiently and effectively. And if you are a coach who’s going to prescribe running for a cyclist, it’s your responsibility to make sure you talk to your athletes about proper run technique, talking about cadence, maybe even getting a video of your athlete running. It’s malpractice as a coach just say, yeah, go ahead and go out and run. I trust that you know how to do it, right? Yeah, yes, it is simple. We grew up running in gym class, but a lot of people as adults, adult onset runners can be quite clueless about running.

Rob Pickels  36:27

Yeah, Lauren, I’d love to get your advice on two things here. One, previously, you mentioned counting cadence, and you brought it up again here. How does somebody go about counting their cadence if they don’t have a fancy Garmin watch? And they’re not running with their, you know, head unit in their hand?

Lauren Vallee  36:43

Yeah, that’s a great question. And the way that you do it is you just count how many times one foot hits the ground and 20 seconds, and then you multiply that by three, and that gives you your single foot strides per minute.

Rob Pickels  36:56

And you’re looking for a range of about 90 Correct,

Lauren Vallee  36:59

about 90 Newer runners typically will be in the 80s, low 80s, sometimes even under that. And so if you are new to running, and you’re finding yourself in this in the high 70s, low 80s. And you really busted at the end of a run, and you’re like God, I feel terrible. Like, like you said, Rob, you come back from your run, and you’re like, I am just destroyed, I’m shattered from this hour run, do an assessment of your cadence about every 10 minutes. If you’re running for an hour, and check in and see does it decrease as the run goes on. And it’s totally fine to shorten your stride in order to keep your cadence higher. It’s when you get into over striding to create your speed or to maintain your speed that that’s where you’re going to do some more damage to your bones and joints. Because either you’re over striding or, again, your cadence is dropping, and you’re just spending a lot of time on the ground, Laura. And

Rob Pickels  37:51

the other question I wanted to ask you, you gave some great advice for stretching for us, you know, hip flexor, individuals that are out there. Are there other maybe prehab exercises, strength training, stretching that cyclists should be considering? Because, you know, the two movements are pretty different. And I think that the load on your body is a little different. So how do we keep people safe?

Lauren Vallee  38:12

Well, there’s two ways that I can answer it. The first is, in general, cyclists should be doing some sort of strength training, particularly masters, athletes, and post and Peri menopausal athletes, huge lifting heavy weights is something that should be incorporated. If you’re not sure where to start with that, hire a strength coach, talk to your coach and get good guidance. Don’t just rely on you know, Oh, I heard this woman on fast talk labs who said I need to strength train. So I’m going to start powerlifting in the gym, get professional guidance. So that’s the first thing and then other prehab activities, things to do any time that you can move a joint through a range of motion and be able to fire the muscles that are associated with the joint that’s moving with awareness. There’s this like neuro muscular activation thing that happens when you think about okay, I’m going to do the runner stretch, and I’m going to think about flexing my glutes while I’m in this stretch. What’ll happen is you’ll actually feel the stretch intensify a little bit. And then eventually the muscle will relax. So any sort of dynamic stretching, there are so many routines that you can find on YouTube for either the hip opening routine, but keep it simple and keep it something that you can do. The thing is, I think a lot of people have these grand plans like Oh, I’m gonna start doing my mobility routine now and it’s, it takes 45 minutes to do and then I’m left with 15 minutes to run and you might be an athlete who needs to do that but even 15 minutes is better than seven minutes. Seven minutes is better than five minutes five, but it’s better than nothing.

Rob Pickels  39:47

Yeah, I know if you know I’m gonna plug you to begin here. YouTube is just so good for finding out how to fix your dishwasher and maybe how to do maybe how to do some exercises to keep yourself safe with running. But I know whenever I am in physical therapy, because I started running, oftentimes they just harp on my, on my hip stability muscles, right that my quads can be really strong, my calves can be really strong, but the little muscles in your hip and doing these banded monster walks, and everything else seemed like they’re really important. So I would direct people, either to a physical therapist or to a knowledgeable coach. And if you don’t have those two than I guess you can, you can stoop to YouTube. But you know, get get some get some good practical advice on some simple exercises alone. And like you’re saying, because if you have to do an hour and a half of strength training, before you go out and do your run, you’re never going to do your strength training. So

Lauren Vallee  40:40

totally agree. Here’s, here’s something really simple to rob that that any any person listening can do. The next time you’re on the phone, just balance on one leg, 10 seconds, one leg, 10 seconds, the other, do some hip adduction, and abduction, just standing there some hip extension, it’s really quite powerful to pair a habit with something you normally do. So if you’re on the phone, just start doing some isometric holds, that really is helpful to oh, what

Trevor Connor  41:06

up? Yeah, I’ve got one of those wobble boards in my kitchen. When I’m cooking, I’ll actually just stand on

Rob Pickels  41:11

  1. I’m going to warn you because I have a million under your desk. I have a rolling balance board under my desk. And sometimes I do it in meetings, and sometimes I fall off of it when I’m in a meeting. So it’s entertainment for everybody. Yeah, that’s amazing.

Trevor Connor  41:26

So I want to take us a slightly different direction, because I will say the worst running off season I ever had, I won a set of those barefoot five fingered shoes, oh, boy, in a raffle at the time, the biomechanics lab I was working at we were doing a study on the shoe. So I pulled the classic scientist and said, Oh, I’ll experiment on myself.

Rob Pickels  41:49

Was this like 2003? Maybe just a guess?

Trevor Connor  41:53

You know, 2010? Were like 2010. Man, I was an earliest experience

Trevor Connor  41:58

of my life. So the question I have for you, we have a cyclist who has been convinced by this. They haven’t done a lot of running, what your recommendations on good footwear, what should they be looking for?

Lauren Vallee  42:11

The first thing that I would say is make sure you go to a reputable run store. I’m big on supporting local, we owned run stores. And typically, there are really talented runners that work at these stores. And just be honest with them, like, Hey, I’m getting into running, I don’t know the first thing about what shoe I should get, what you really want to make sure that you do is if you’re a person that needs a stability shoe, which means there’s just a rigid support on the inside of the shoe and the medial part of the shoe that you run in a stability shoe. That doesn’t mean that anything’s wrong with you, I have friends that I’ve trained with forever, who refuse to our stability shoe that clearly need a stability shoe that are injured because they’re not running in a stability shoe. And they’re like, I just think that that’s goofy. And to me, I’m like, don’t you want to be injury free, put on the darn stability shoes, if you need them, I run into stability shoe. And so again, a stability shoe is just going to correct over pronation. And then I really would start with something that is more substantial than less substantial. I would not run in a lightweight trainer. If you’re new to running, I would certainly not buy a performance shoe like the vapor fly or the endorphin Pro. Those are great shoes that are made for racing. And for specific speed workouts if you’re training to perform an a marathon, a 5k, something like that. But if you’re just working on general fitness and you want to stay safe and healthy, a cushioned trainer is fine. And if your local run shoe store employees are taking the time to answer all your questions, that’s a good sign. If they’re pushing you into a shoe versus another one that’s not the best sign and just follow your gut, it should feel the shoe should feel good under foot, you should be able to take them for a little shuffle outside or maybe even in the store. Again, most run shoe stores are really competent at getting runners in the right shoe. But it may take a couple of different tries. You may try a shoe may feel great in the store and it may be terrible. Two or three runs in, take it back get another one.

Rob Pickels  44:16

Yeah, as somebody who used to actually manage a fleet feet sports when I was in grad school and who’s going to who’s going to a boot fitter, ski boot fitter after this, there’s definitely times where you should rely on experts. And this is one of them. For somebody who hasn’t actually been to a running store and been fit by knowledgeable reputable runners. The process is really cool actually how you know they’ll they’ll understand your foot, they’ll probably get you up on the treadmill, maybe in a neutral shoe, they could watch you run they could get insight into what you’re doing. And then they can make individualized recommendations for you. And then beyond that, it becomes about what’s the most comfortable thing for you. If somebody looks at you when you walk in and they pull something off the wall and it’s reading It’s shiny, they hand it to you and say it’s perfect. They’re wrong, you should probably walk out of that store. But the people that take the time to understand you, you’re probably going to get a pretty good recommendation.

Trevor Connor  45:09

That something else I’ll add is we all have different shape foots in every shoe manufacturer has a little bit of a bias towards one shape or another. Which means you might have a friend who says they’re in six ponies and they absolutely love their six ponies. And those shoes might be perfect for them, but they might be miserable for you. So don’t just go out and buy what your friends are buying. Go and see that expert it can make help you find the right shoe for your shape.

Lauren Vallee  45:37

A great comparison to cycling is none of us ride the same saddle.

Trevor Connor  45:41

As I discussed in this next clip with my old coach hushing marry, one of the best reasons for cyclists to run is simply to do something different.

Houshang Amiri  45:50

I big believer of cross training and definitely changing a sport in offseason is very important. There are some sports they’re very identical muscle group, like a cross country skiing is good for cycling. And the athletes who they have a potential to in cross country skiing offseason, definitely, I suggest to do them. And they in general, yes, I’m believer on cross training and moving to different sports than from cycling to develop same energy system or strength component.

Trevor Connor  46:26

What do you feel are the benefits you get from using those other sports is a good way

Houshang Amiri  46:31

to get away from this four digit for maybe 11 months, and to do something different? It’s just different motivation. And especially you remember we were when you added Training Center, we used to go up snowshoeing and hiking. And those are just different ways to get better offseason without question.

Trevor Connor  46:59

So I guess the last question I want to hit you here with we talked a lot about the offseason. But let’s say a cyclist wants to keep running, even when they’re back to regular training on the bike. And I’ll just throw in very quickly here. I would say it’s most important to run in the offseason and during the base season. Because remember, running really helps that cardiovascular system, that’s what you’re trying to work in the base season. And also remember, as you get closer and closer the race season, specificity does become more important. So you don’t necessarily want to be doing a lot of running two weeks before your most important cycling race. But with that in mind, what are your recommendations? If a cyclist says you’ve convinced me I want to keep running even when I’m back to training on the bike? How do they incorporate it into their weekly plan?

Lauren Vallee  47:48

The first thing is to understand where the key workouts are in the athletes cycling program. And being really again intentional and where you put the running because again, the impact and damage that is going to happen to the muscle tissue may impact the cycling that you’re going to do the next day. So if you have, let’s say a hard bike ride scheduled for Tuesday, and then you’ve got another like, say a tempo ride or something on Thursday, you could reasonably scheduled like a 15 to 30 minute Easy, easy, easy shuffle between those two sessions, that shouldn’t be too big of a problem. And this is where if you’re going to incorporate running into your training, you have to have a sense of your own psychology as an athlete Are you the type of person who can hold back and be disciplined and run an aerobic very easy shuffle and be confident that no one is judging you when they drive by you on the street that you are shuffling. And if you can do that, I really think that there’s a way to incorporate running pretty much at any time throughout the week. But you could do it as a second session of the day. If you have a hard workout in the morning, you might do a short shakeout 15 minute run in the afternoon just for variety, and some stretching, if you’re going to do some strength training and you’re weak, you could use the running as warmup for strength training 1015 minutes, it doesn’t need to be a huge long thing. But even 10 minutes of running is going to maintain the eccentric load on on your body, you’re still getting that exposure, and it’s not going to take 10 minutes isn’t going to take much away from you at all. If you’re training, you know, six days a week cycling.

Rob Pickels  49:24

Yeah, I think something that’s important to point out here is it’s best to incorporate the running into the cycle training when you’re accustomed to running because initially when you’re bringing the running into your program in the offseason, it’s going to be okay that your body isn’t used to it, you can ease into it slowly you’re going to have a lot of muscle soreness. If you tried to bring that up when you are actually training on the cycling aside that muscle soreness that you’re going to get from incorporating running is probably going to take away from any bike things that you would do so, you know Lauren, in your experience, how long are we talking to just get used to running is that four weeks or eight weeks? Or is it

Lauren Vallee  50:03

it’s athlete dependent, I would say that anywhere from four to six weeks is probably a good range to expect, like, oh, this could feel terrible for four weeks could feel terrible for six, but you may be an outlier. And you may feel fine and two weeks, or you may feel fine. Never. There’s some people who just never feel good running. And that’s, that’s all right. And so I think the biggest thing to understand early early, early on when you’re starting to incorporate running into your training, is discipline and being very light on intensity is really important. Focusing on a tall posture, focusing on the cadence, if you just had a metronome set it, you know, 180 beats or 90 beats for a single foot strike, and you just tried to match that for 15 minutes. That is very challenging for most new runners. And if you know your psychology that you’re like, No, I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna blast myself for the first 30 minute run that I do ever force yourself to do a run, walk, 20 seconds of running, and then a minute 40 power walking. And again, if you do that either way, however, you end up programming it, give yourself time to kind of feel terrible. As you recover from these things, make sure you’re getting protein, enough protein every day to recover from it. And again, I agree that that incorporating a new sport to your training plan needs to happen at a low risk time in your training year. So post season is a great time to start doing that.

Rob Pickels  51:30

Yeah, I think that it’s interesting, I’m trying to think about how I can incorporate this running into my training. And I think that’s something I might do is try to leverage that increased vo to that increase oxygen consumption that happens during the running. And you know, especially when I start picking up training, again, maybe not when I need to be more specific later in my season. But in the beginning of my cycling season, I might replace some of those four to eight minute vo two MAX type efforts. With some running workouts, it’d be really interesting to kind of push my oxygen consumption that much harder than I probably could do if I was riding the trainer in the garage in the middle of winter,

Lauren Vallee  52:07

certainly. And I think that again, as long as there’s intentionality behind it, and structure and as long as you have time to adjust if anything needs to be adjusted, if you realize, Oh, this isn’t transferring the way that I thought, or wow, I am really adapting. And this really works for you as an athlete, then you can make choices on how the rest of the season looks and and that I think is the really important part that no athlete is the same. And the Exercise Science is so helpful to undergird anybody’s training program and coaching. But it should, it should help inform directions that we take as athletes, but it shouldn’t dictate any direction that we take. So let’s

Trevor Connor  52:47

flip this around and talk about runners and how runners can incorporate cycling into their training. And we talked about this a while ago. But just as a reminder, there are real benefits for runners to get on the bike and the biggest one being, you’re gonna see less muscle damage, less fatigue, less inflammation and a lower risk of injury, which all these are very, very important to runners. And remember that study that Rob pointed out where these female runners that really weren’t able to improve their performance in a 3000 meter run. Because all the run work they were doing was causing so much damage and fatigue. This is a good point to hear from legendary physiologist Ben runestad. And his thoughts on one of the biggest benefits of cycling for athletes and other endurance sports, increasing their volume. Do you feel there is a crossover effect,

Houshang Amiri  53:43

at least there is some theoretical advantages of it by you can be able especially maybe if you are a runner, you can increase the amount the volume of endurance training both by cycling and for instance, cross country skiing. So you can do more hours training and also get slightly different stimuli as well as my when you’re doing cross country skiing, or Nordic walking or you use your arms, the odd data indicating that you might stress the cardiovascular system to a larger extent so so for sure, there is some potential benefits or cross training.

Rob Pickels  54:29

An interesting point to bring up here, Trevor, I know in elite runner back in the day a guy named James Kearney who incorporated cycling training so much into his bike training that if you’re looking at the Strava, like top 10 list for Flagstaff, he is up there because he was like 130 pound runner that could just fall lie uphill on his bike. And so there are elite people who are using this exact structure for their training.

Trevor Connor  54:56

So Lord, let’s throw it to you and how do you recommend a runner or incorporate cycling into their training.

Lauren Vallee  55:03

So the first thing that I’ll start with is you said, Trevor, that there’s a lower risk of injury with cycling. And I tend to agree, however, I have to make it clear that when someone is cycling, you know, there are three points of contact of the body, there’s your undercarriage your feet and your hands. And if you are not properly fitted on a bike, or an indoor spin bike or mountain bike, whatever bike you may be riding on, there is a huge risk for overuse injuries if you’re not fitted correctly. So first and foremost, yes, if you are properly fit on a bike, low risk for injury, there are many people that you’ll see out on the roads who will have terrible compromised bike fit positions. So if you’re going to start riding, and you have a bike and you’re going to go ride outside, make sure that you have somebody who is knowledgeable and trained in bike fitting, take a look at your bike fit. It could be as simple as it there are services online to where you can take a video of you on your bike on a train or send it in and they can, you know, make the adjustments virtually or there are bike fitters nearly everywhere now. But make sure that they come highly recommended and go get fit number one. And as a coach, if you’re coaching someone who’s a runner to start cycling, it is your responsibility to make sure they understand how to set up either a spin bike or their own bike so that it is safe for them to ride. And to incorporate cycling it’s a little bit easier because there’s less damage that’s that’s leftover as opposed to running, you’re gonna have a lot more muscular damage cycling, it’s gonna feel pretty good. For the most part, it might take a little bit of time to get your keep using the word undercarriage used to the saddle. And for anyone who doesn’t know about cycling, do not wear underwear underneath your cycling shorts. And get a good share of could be stylish, very painful. And you want to have a good pair of cycling shorts and also use some shammy cream. So if anyone is that new to cycling, that is an important thing to understand. So incorporating cycling, the first thing to keep in mind is that cycling is a great recovery activity. It’s a great way to incorporate and get more volume in in a week that is not going to pound you to the ground. It’s a good way to work on intensity, particularly if you are a Masters athlete who may only be able to run four days a week, I was actually to this point I was talking to Mark blotches who’s a local physical therapist World Champion marathoner think his best marathon times a 208. And that was pre SuperSU era. And Mark is a great guy. And we were talking that I was coming on this podcast and he, he just chimed in, and he was like cycling was one of the staples of my training. And you know, he had a long run on Tuesdays, and then a tempo run, I think on Friday, something like that. And he said that his second session, each of those days was like a two hour easy spin. And so what that does, not only does it give you more time that you’re asking your mitochondria to do something, you’re like, Hey, guys, let’s get the aerobic system firing here. But you’re also moving around all of that damage, remains of the damage that you did in the run, it’s going to help recovery, you might feel tired, but if you just spinning, that’s not a big deal. That was

Trevor Connor  58:23

gonna be my one recommendation, which is an easy bike ride and an easy run or not the same. It easy bike ride, there’s a ton of research showing that it helps recover, it helps him for the immune system, do its job, an easy run, even if you’re going slow, you still have that eccentric motion, you’re still going to be doing some damage, you’re still going to be promoting some inflammation. So doing an easy bike ride after you do some running interval or the day after you do some running intervals, is going to be complimentary do an easy run the next day may actually delay your recovery from that those running intervals.

Rob Pickels  58:59

Certainly a trend that I’m hearing from both of you that I’m noticing on the cyclists choosing to run side we’re talking a lot about that being an offseason, maybe into the beginning of your season type of activity. But on the running side of things, it seems like and Lauren, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like what I’m taking away from this part of the conversation is cycling is something that can be incorporated into a runners training maybe throughout the year and they shouldn’t be looking at it like an offseason activity like we’re just talking about for the cyclist.

Lauren Vallee  59:32

I think that’s pretty spot on to what I’ve been saying. And I think there’s a point that I’m going to add to this and this is that competitive runners may fly to different competitions. And the worst thing a runner can do off of a plane flight is go run, you’re dehydrated, you’ve been sitting your your you know been in hip flexion and your hamstrings are shortened from sitting however long. And so using cycling, doing an easy cycle or A water run or something that’s very low impact is huge, like getting the body mobilized moving blood flow, all of that. And you can do that year round. And again, like you said, Rob, you picked up on the trend that we’re saying cycling is something that can happen at any time in a runners year. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the offseason. But certainly the offseason is the time to figure out your equipment, make sure you’re fit correctly on your bike, establishing what your heart rate zones may be, if you’re going to use heart rate, things like that. And just making sure you have the fine details that you need for cycling that you don’t really need for running, you just need your pair of running shoes for running.

Rob Pickels  1:00:37

Yeah, and thinking about the benefits and the pros and the cons that cycling and running have, you know, we brought up that running has a higher oxygen consumption and I brought up doing vo to max sort of efforts are running as opposed to on the bike. Put the recommendation almost feels like the opposite on the cycling side of things that for a runner, riding their bike is a great way to do active recovery and maybe a great way to increase their training volume without the stress on their body. So focusing more on the lower aerobic efforts as opposed to the anaerobic efforts. They’re

Lauren Vallee  1:01:12

certainly if you think about an athlete who might be injured, or an athlete coming back from injury or an athlete who has rage, McBride is a great example of rage can’t run again, I know this because again, their coach is my partner, but rage doesn’t run as frequently as some of their counterparts in triathlon. But one of the things that that a coach can do or an individual can do is structure if they’re coming back from injury, or if they just can’t tolerate a ton of volume running. But they are competitive runner, you can actually write a bike run workout where there is high intensity on the bike, and then have the athlete go run for 15 minutes off the bike, 20 minutes off the bike, 30 minutes off the bike at race intensity or have intervals that are race intensity. So two things happen. One, the athlete is getting a cardiovascular boost from the fact that there was good work done on the bike before the run. And then if the athlete really can’t tolerate a ton of volume running, you’re still allowing the athlete to get intensity on the run, the stride length that they’re going to need. They’re going to rehearse the stride length and cadence they’re going to need for race day. But they’re they don’t need to go and run for an hour and 15 minutes. So you’re reducing the damage you’re doing from the running. But you’re not necessarily losing out on all of that cardiovascular adaptation.

Rob Pickels  1:02:35

Yeah, I’m glad that you brought up that rage episode and something that I wanted to talk about there in talking with Mateo, who is their coach and your partner, Mateo said that when he’s working with Rach, they’re careful with some of the bike stuff that they’re doing because of the risk of injury. And we talked about the risk of injury, the other way that running could lead to maybe some of these overuse injuries. But when riding the bike, there is the potential for some more catastrophic injuries through crashes, and everything else. And I do think that people who are coming to cycling, oftentimes what I have seen is the runners have really great a robic capacity, and they can sometimes ride a bike pretty darn fast. And especially with the rise of gravel in some mountain biking, an off road riding, sometimes the skills aren’t up to par with the aerobic engine. And I’ve seen some people get themselves into trouble. So I do want everyone to be aware that there is the risk here for some catastrophic injury and to make sure that you’re dialing it back until you’re really comfortable on the bike, you know, and then you can let it fly.

Lauren Vallee  1:03:42

I’m so glad you said that. I think that safety number one on the bike is so important. And I could spend a whole probably another podcast episode talking about cycling safety. But you’re right, the skill to ride defensively to understand what to look for in cars. If you’re out on the road. Like if a car is signaling, they’re going to turn right you better have your head up and make sure that they’re not going to turn in front of you understanding how to corner descend, climb, all of those things are really important. So if you are a runner who’s going to start cycling on the road, it would behoove you to find a skilled coach, or a very skilled friend who would be willing to teach you how to ride safely. I 100% agree with that. Thanks for bringing that up.

Rob Pickels  1:04:25

Lauren, when we started this conversation, something that you mentioned was the cyclist spends a lot of time in hip flexion. And then they switch to running and it’s a hip extension. Are there considerations going the opposite direction for the runner who’s becoming a cyclist?

Lauren Vallee  1:04:39

Yes, there are. And if you look at elite runners, any runner really, one of the things that’s so important to their performance is hip extension and having mobile hips and so one of the things that’s going to happen if you’re starting to cycle is you’re going to be again in hip flexion and It’s really important that after you’re done cycling as a runner that you do some stretches to help maintain your hip extension. So the same stretches that I talked about earlier are going to be important for a runner who’s going to start cycling. So don’t just, if you’re a runner, don’t just pop on the bike ride, and then throw the bike in the garage and go have some snacks, take some time to try and really focus on whether it’s dynamic stretching, or even static stretching is fine after activity, but really take the time, even if it’s five minutes, because that will help maintain the extension that you’re going to need as a runner.

Trevor Connor  1:05:37

So as we start to wrap things up here, I just get to hit you with the big general question. Are there any other reasons that somebody would want to consider cycling or running as part of their training?

Lauren Vallee  1:05:48

The answer I’m going to give you is coming from my perspective as a coach, and why I might incorporate running or cycling in an athletes plan. And it’s not going to be super obvious. And it might, this is like me, pulling the curtain back and showing you behind the scenes look at what I’m thinking about as a coach. And if I have an athlete, whether they’re a cyclist or a runner, who is very anxious on race day, or who is very rigid or inflexible, and has trouble when things pop up in a race or in training that they can’t control, one of the things that I might consider as adding a different discipline in the offseason, so that if that in flexibility, rigid thinking anxiety comes up in the new sport. So if this is a cyclist who’s starting to run, and I start getting reports of, oh, this is so hard, I don’t like this, I feel like I’m really fit on the bike. But I’m not fit here. That’s a really good starting point for a conversation between a coach and an athlete about their psychology, their thought process, their self talk. And what you can do as a coach, and as an individual is examine what’s happening in the sport that isn’t the focus. So if I’m a cyclist, I’m not talking about the anxiety I have when there’s a breakaway. And what do I do? We’re talking about running here, and the anxiety that I’m feeling when, you know, am I doing this, right? I can’t get my cadence to be where it needs to be. I twisted my ankle during this run, and I had to walk home. If we can kind of pull the athletes focus to the other sport, it’s going to be less confronting for the athlete to hear the coaching about like, Oh, this is where let’s think about different cells talk, what what do you imagine I would coach you to do in that situation. And that will transfer to the primary sport. But it’s a way of kind of working around the direct line to the quote unquote, problem or resistance that the athlete is having. So it’s not obvious, but I do think a very reasonable reason to ask somebody to try a new discipline.

Trevor Connor  1:07:46

Good point. I think that’s a good place to end it. So it is time for how we normally end our episodes, which is our take home. So this is your first time doing it. So to give you the rules, you’ve got one minute to tell us. What do you think is the most salient point, or the thing that you really want the listeners to leave this episode with? Lauren, we’ll start with

Lauren Vallee  1:08:08

you. That is a lot of pressure. One minute. Okay, timer. 55 seconds now. Oh, god, okay. The thing to take away, cyclists and runners, you guys will have big aerobic engines. When you take on a new discipline, whether that’s cycling or running, be patient, be super disciplined, and do not bite off more than you can chew, get the help you need from professionals, whether that’s bike fitting, getting the correct bike shoes, take the time to do it, right, because it would be a travesty to try and cut a quarter go out and run in your converse and have a no for his injury from day one. So that’s my take away.

Trevor Connor  1:08:45

Great. Rob, you want to go next? Yeah, Trevor, I’ll

Rob Pickels  1:08:48

hop in here next prior to this episode and researching for it, I never really considered cycling or running to be beneficial to the opposite sport. And opposite might not be the best word. But you know what I mean, I had always viewed it as just something to do differently. Or if you’re a runner that was injured, you could ride your bike so that you’re able to do something, if it’s snowing outside, I can go for a run. But I’m beginning to look at it a little bit differently, that you can actually incorporate these different sports to improve your performance. And you know, it’s something that everyone ought to be considering. I know for me, if anyone wants to check in I’m actually going to go for a run after this episode. So if anyone wants to check my Strava on Friday, October 21 and hold me to it. As soon as we’re done here. I’m

Trevor Connor  1:09:35

gonna go for a quick run. gonna roll in my office chair alongside you.

Rob Pickels  1:09:40

If you want, you know, you could do we could tie a rope around my waist and I could tow you it would really it would double the training effect.

Trevor Connor  1:09:48

I like this.

Rob Pickels  1:09:49

I told you in the sprint workout video as it was so now I can tell you in an office chair to

Trevor Connor  1:09:53

Yeah, Thanks for the reminder.

Lauren Vallee  1:09:55

There is actually a Bobby McGee who’s a famous run coach. There’s a there’s a drill He asked for runners where you drag a tire behind you. So this could be great for your for Rob. Yeah, I

Trevor Connor  1:10:06

love it. Okay, we’re doing it. All right. So before I dive into vibe, one minute, I actually got to preemptively do a quick correction. I kept talking about that study of the the female runners that Rob sided and said they did a 3000 meter run. They didn’t their test was actually a 10k run. The study that had a 3000 meter run was a 2017 study by Dr. Paquette that looked at high school runners. We never mentioned this one. But I think it’s it’s a good one to quickly bring up because they had these high school runners replaced to other easy runs with various other types of cross training. So cycling, elliptical running, or just continue to do nothing but running. And the really interesting thing that I got out of this study was those high school runners that replaced their two easy runs with cycling, saw greater improvements than the the high school runners who just ran. So it goes back to what we were talking about with performance. And I think that’s my take home. I have always promoted with my athletes, do some cross training. So you know, I haven’t worked with many runners, but with the cyclists I work with, I’m always telling them, you need to do some running. And I’ve always said it’s for health reasons. But what I’ve gotten out of all this is I think there’s actually performance gains to be gotten as well, from incorporating into your training. So that’s, that’s my one minute.

Rob Pickels  1:11:32

I love it. Well, hey, thanks, everybody, for getting together and talking about this. I think for Trevor and I, it’s one of the more eye opening episodes that we’ve done, and hopefully it’s the same for all our listeners, too.

Lauren Vallee  1:11:42

Thanks for having me on, guys. I really appreciate it.

Rob Pickels  1:11:45

That was another episode of fast talk. Subscribe to fast talk. Wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on fast talk are those of the individual. As always, we love your feedback. Join the conversation at forums dot fast talk to discuss each and every episode. Become a member of fast doc laboratories that fast talk To become a part of our education and coaching community. For Lauren Valley Neil Henderson Brent book Walter who Xiang Emiri, Dr. Ben Branstad, and Trevor Connor. I’m Rob pickles. Thanks for listening.

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