Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bike Intervals Can Help You Run Faster

Our training machines
Looks like you gotta spend some time riding furiously on your (stationary) bike if you wanna run faster. All you need is 15 minutes to spare.

A recent study showed that with the right kind of high intensity training on a stationary bike, you can run faster.

The researchers tested runners on a treadmill with a 3 km time trial and split them into four groups. Three groups trained on a stationary bike for two weeks in addition to their regular running routine while a control group just maintained their regular running routine.

The runners did six interval sessions on the stationary bikes in all. Each runner completed six 10-seconds all out efforts. Each group varied the amount of rest between intervals. Rest ranged between 30 seconds to 80 seconds to two minutes rest for the runners. Including warm up and cool down, the session took less than fifteen minutes.

The results showed that the group with the shortest period of rest had the best results. The 30 seconds rest group ran about three percent (or about 25 seconds) faster!

Both the 80 seconds and two minute rest groups did not have any significant improvement in the 3 km time trial. There was no change in the control group.

The researchers attributed the improvement in performance to the elevated heart rate in the 30 second rest group. The short rest prevented the runners from recovering fully making each successive interval more difficult. Their muscles had to adapt faster to the increased load which helped them run faster in the subsequent time trial.

The authors recommend this workout as cross training to avoid injuries. Since stationary cycling also reduced training volume, it is a time efficient way of training as well. Runners who are injured can use this to maintain their fitness while recuperating.

When the weather does not permit you to run outside, you can still ride.


Kavaliauskas M et al (2015). High-intensity Cycling Training: The Effect Of Work-to-rest Intervals On Running Performance Measures. J Str Cond Research. 29(8): 2229-2236. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000868.

Pedaling furiously while it was raining outside
My wife pedaling furiously 5 weeks after giving birth

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