Less and More – Become a running cyclist

by Andy Amick on December 13, 2011

in Cycling, Running

The “Less and More” posts break down a problem or goal into two simple actions – one to do less of and one to do more of.  Today’s topic – Staying in shape when you don’t have much time.

Less Cycling

 Less science

More riding

More Running


Coming from a cyclist, this could be considered sacrilege.  Hang with me while I try to explain.


During the second half of this year, I have included running as a secondary exercise to cycling.  Initially, a 2 or 3 mile run was a lot more painful than a 60 mile ride.


So why subject myself to this pain?  It’s simply a function of time.


A 3 hour ride is hard to fit in to my schedule these days, but there is always time for a 20-40 minute run.  For a cyclist, these runs will definitely work your legs and keep you in shape.  You may even find that some time away from the bike will end up making you a stronger rider.


For the first week or two you will have sore quads, but it’s temporary.  Think back to when a multi-hour ride used to be painful.  You built up your body to get through that and you will also get through the initial barrier of running.  Try alternating your running and cycling.  After a few weeks of consistent running, there will be a breakthrough where it won’t be a struggle and the act of running can be enjoyed (kind of).


After this foray into running, I’m considering a marathon sometime in 2012.  Yes, I’m that crazy.  It’s one of those goals that would be nice to focus on and accomplish, just like a first century on the bike.


Anyone else willing to journey into the world of running?  I have friends (Toby Porter) that have made the leap and there are other well known cyclists as well (Jill Homer and Fatty come to mind).  Don’t worry, you’re allowed to keep your “cyclist” badge because a true cyclist knows that running can’t replace the thrill of blasting down a mountain after a long climb.

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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  • Shawn Slade

    As one who swam first, then took up running, then took up cycling and now is full into triathlons I have to say that running will help your cycling immensely. Yes you’ll have sore quads for a while, but what you gain is a more balanced leg (in terms of strength). The cardio from cycling and running carry over to one another.

    Being a veteren of 13 marathons, a few half marathons, several triathlons ranging from sprint to half-iron, century rides, multi day rides and so on, I partly agree with you that you cannot totally replace the thrill of flying down a mountain (especially after the climb, which is my favorite part), but there are some days that the running high is just off the charts. Personally though, swimming is still the creme de la creme for me.

    Long story short, I’m glad that you are getting into running and if you want to do a marathon together let me know. The Platte Half is a good spring tune up and then there is the Rock n Roll in the fall?

  • palespruce

    Shawn, the running certainly helps the cycling. The Platte Half sounds like it would be a good goal for the spring and keep me focused on running through the winter.

  • Toby

    If you have not tried it yet trail running is the way to go at this running thing. Far more enjoyable than any amount of pavement running. Even if it’s just hopping off the sidewalk and finding a dirt path or the joy of at least hitting up a dirt road. Jump into a trail half or even a 10k. Like Shawn says the transition between running and riding will help the other. A great tool for recovering from a hard run session is an easy ride.

    • palespruce

      Toby, the trail running is more fun. I need to build up my running endurance so I can finish a nice trail run loop.

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