By Doug Katona
Me run? Are you nuts? I am a cyclist—cyclists pedal. Runners run. It’s that simple—at least that’s what I used to think several years ago. But now that I have taken up running, I think to myself, “how can I get my 5K time under 18 minutes?” The cross-training benefits from cycling to running are great and the Spinning program has been the “X factor” in reducing my run times.
Runners Benefit with Spinning
There are more similarities than differences between running and the Spinning program. Cadences are similar. The training approach is mirrored. Power output is a major indicator of performance. And both are extremely functional in their fitness application.
“There is no question the Spinning program makes you stronger without the impact,” says Thomas Miller, multi-sport coach and nine-time Ironman competitor. “I did three TransRockies (a sort of Tour de France on foot) with 30 percent less mileage than the other top-level competitors and I was still climbing with the best of them. The Spinning program has been my secret weapon.”
Spinning classes also provide additional base-building opportunities for runners. You can ride for 45–60 minutes while maintaining a stable heart rate without the obstacles of outdoor terrain change, climate or other non-stabilizing forces. Spinning classes provide the runner with a stable, consistent training environment.
One of the most significant points is the functional component that the Spinning program provides the pavement pounder. Just like in Spinning classes, the more resistance you can handle, the stronger you are. When you run at higher volumes or higher intensities, it often means more impact or more recovery needed. The Spinning program provides structured interval training to increase training loads with shorter recovery windows. Spinning allow you to focus on improving strength without the impact.
In regards to power and cadence, the more efficient you are with pedal cadence, the more powerful you will be in cycling. Running is very similar. The less time your feet spend on the ground, the better. Studies have shown a correlation between pedaling at a high cadence and running at a high cadence. The results show that the shorter your contact time with the ground, the less chance you have for injury.
One of the most undervalued benefits might be the fact that you can improve as a runner without running! You get to enjoy some music, see some different faces and still get a heck of a training session.