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Incorporating biking into marathon training

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Incorporating biking into marathon training

Post  mul21 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:16 am

I've managed to get myself a pretty decent road bike courtesy of my brother who hasn't been riding it and let me borrow it for a while to see if I enjoy it.

The question I have is how have those of you who both run and bike incorporated biking into marathon training?  Do you use it as a recovery day workout or as a supplemental thing where you're doing up tempo stuff as well?

Are there any good places online or in print to get some ideas for how to do it?

Also, even with a free bike, holy crap is the sport expensive!  I spent $250 just to get the essentials so I could ride the thing.
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Re: Incorporating biking into marathon training

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:27 am

Yes, cycling is expensive as a start-up cost.  Once you get everything, though, running is more expensive.  Think shoes vs. a tube every couple months.  

I've used cycling as early base miles/hours (3hr on a bike is a lot less wear and tear than 3hr on a run), as an "easy" day, and as a recovery tool.  It's great for spinning out your legs after a hard effort (if you do a tempo run in the morning, 30min with a high cadence in an easy gear that night will help), but didn't find that long rides prepared me for long runs.  

If speedwork causes you problems running, finding a short steep hill and doing 30sec out-of-the-saddle sprint repeats will help with lactate clearance, VO2max, etc.  

Overall, I find that cycling gives me a lot more muscle mass on my quads than running, since it's mostly about your legs whereas running is whole-body.  Could come in handy for muscular endurance and the later phases of a marathon...  But that'd require a lot of cycling to get any significant benefits.
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Re: Incorporating biking into marathon training

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:36 pm

I really only get to ride in the summer months due to where I live and the car traffic; however, I do ride frequently in the summer.  I use the rides as recovery, xtraining, and sometimes as a replacement for an easy run day if I am feeling real beat up or if it is just too hot and humid and I can't get my lazy butt out of bed.  I don't do crazy mileage like Mike, but I will often do a leisurely longer ride (3 hrs+) on a Sunday morning (breakfast is the reward) and I find that it helps me stay injury free through the summer.  It has helped my quad strength in that I have not felt beat up after a downhill marathon (Boston, Steamboat Springs) in years.

I don't ride or take spin classes in the winter although maybe I should.  I am intimidated by spin classes with all the tri guys arriving with/in mega gear.  To me, they are worse than the meathead lifters in the gym because the lifters give me some respect.
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Re: Incorporating biking into marathon training

Post  Jerry on Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:58 pm

Dude, nothing is free. I think your brother owes you $125.
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Re: Incorporating biking into marathon training

Post  Julie on Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:41 pm

The times I've used biking was on the day after my long run as kind of a recovery although I'd go out for several hours or if my knee needed a break and I still wanted to exercise.
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Re: Incorporating biking into marathon training

Post  nkrichards on Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:58 pm

Sorry to weigh in so late...

Make sure you get a professional fitting for your bike.  I was cheap and thought I could make my own adjustments.  It's amazing what a few minor tweaks by a professional can do.  It will be a more comfortable, more efficient ride and you'll also be less likely to get injured.

I just use my bike for cross training and easy days.  It's also handy when it's hot.  I don't mind riding when it's to hot to run. 

Have fun...I think you'll enjoy it.
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