I am a runner. I run half and full marathons along the year. All of the runners know that they should cross train and the best cross training is cycling. After achieving my long term marathon goal I will try to run triathlons.

So I need some bicycle workouts or full programs for training. Are there any specific workout types for cycling as cross training?

  • I'm making this a comment, not an answer because I don't do either kind of training. I think that you would want to do the same bicycle training as cyclists do for long rides, such as a century. Even just joining a local cycling club and doing some group rides would help, especially if you found a somewhat competitive group that likes to race to the next mile marker or otherwise get you to push yourself a bit. Maybe somebody that does centuries can take my comment and add in information about century training programs.
    – freiheit
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 19:27
  • does your winter have snow? If it has, have you tried winter riding? Good for fat-burning and balance-aerodynamic exercises.
    – user652
    Commented Mar 15, 2011 at 8:49
  • You might check out Joe Friel's blog. He writes extensively about tri training and has great info. Just skip the swimming stuff.
    – user313
    Commented May 22, 2012 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


In the same way you train for your running you'll likely want to vary the rides you do on your bike. Bicycles offer you the same options like:

  • Tempo ride: stay just below your lactate threshold
  • Interval training
    • Find a long flat section of road
    • Go above your LT for a bit, then a little below for a bit (stay above 70% of LT)
    • Many times this is 1 minute "on", 2 minutes "off"
    • Eventually you'll want longer intervals of 5 minutes "on", 8 minutes "off".
  • Find some terrain
    • My personal favorite.
    • Bikes cover so much distance while training that you can just pick different routes and go
  • Mountain biking
    • The terrain is constantly forcing you up and down, you're performing dynamic moves
    • You max your HR, then coast, then jump a log, the 5 quick intervals over hills, etc.

Slogging away miles on a bike probably wouldn't translate across sports as well as you'd like so I see your best benefit to come from strengthening and just plain having fun!


I would think that it isn't much that cycling has over running if you already are an accomplished runner but it does have it benefits. cross training would definitely help get over plateaus and would also add an element of fun into your training. hill climb rides would help stretch your endurance and give your quads a good burn. as mentioned, a cycling club would inject some social aspects into it and also some gear envy would add some spice into the mix. of course with cycling, theres always a dash of bike porn rattle it up just that wee bit more :)

  • 2
    Cycling offers aerobic exercise without significant impact so it is good for cross training. By choosing your riding gear intentionally, pedaling can mimic walking/jogging up steep hills no matter the terrain. My feeling, however, is that resistance training (e.g. 1/4 squat) could help more for the strength to run hills because you choose your leg angles, amount of resistance, and speed. Cycling restricts your leg angles but does offer transportation as a fringe benefit. (Also, water jogging -- especially in deep water -- is worth investigating as a training exercise for improving your form.)
    – josh0
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 15:21

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