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ab aeterno
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I'm a college cross country runner. Right now I'm just putting in base miles for the season. Usually run 12 miles a day. I want to add a daily bike ride to this routine. What kind of bike workout will benefit me the most? Just long rides or short hard routes?
 

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If you want to run, run...

Basically, specificity of training is the key to performing well in your chosen sport whether that's running, cycling, or something else. If you want to run fast, you're going to have to do as much of your training as running as possible. Of course, there's a balance between volume (miles), intensity (speed work), and risk of injury (which higher volume and intensity both make you more susceptible too). If you find that you need more volume, but your legs won't take the pounding, you can compensate with another activity.

If you do a lot of cycling, you may find that your hamstrings become tighter because you've trained them through a shorter range of motion.

All of this being said, if you find that you need a break from running (either because your body won't take the pounding 7 days a week or you just as a mental break), cycling 1 to 2 days a week should be fine.

If you do go that route, get a computer with a cadence function so you can concentrate on keeping your cadence high (100 - 110 rpm). That will keep the load on your cardiovascular system (which is what you're going for) and keep most of the load off your legs.

Good Luck next fall.
 
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