Bike Breakdowns Help
Runnersfrom Owen Anderson -
There are some days when runners'
legs are too sore or "heavy" for a normal running workout to be carried out. On
other days, runners may simply need a mental break from running. What should
An obvious answer is "nothing." For
most runners, a rest day is a good thing. Instead of hurting fitness, rest
usually boosts it, giving muscles a chance to do what they have been waiting to
do during periods of hard training - namely, create new energy-producing
enzymes, repair muscle membranes, and make manifest multitudes of new
However, if a mental break is all
that is needed - or if a runner's legs really aren't in bad shape and just need
a break from the hard pounding of running, a bike workout may be just what the
fitness doctor ordered. There are a number of scientific studies which
demonstrate that bicycling sessions can be beneficial for runners.
What would the bike workout be like?
There are an infinite number of possibilities, but a session we particularly
favor is called the "BIKE BREAKDOWN." Nice features of this effort include its
large impact on cardiovascular fitness, lactate threshold, and mental toughness
- plus the fact that you don't need an expensive computerized stationary bike
to complete it.
Here's how to do the BIKE BREAKDOWN:
Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy cycling, and then work at maximal effort
for one minute. To make your effort as specific to running as possible, your
rpm should be about 90 to 95 as you do this (just play with the resistance or
gears to make your effort maximal).
After this scalding minute, you'll be
ready to rest, but instead push ahead - without break - for two more minutes,
working at an intensity which feels tougher than 5-K-race effort. After these
two minutes are up (actually three minutes so far if you count the first max
minute), slide right into three minutes of exertion at what feels like 5-K to
10-K race intensity, again without a break. After these three minutes (six
minutes for the whole interval), you finally get a chance to recover. Pedal
easily for about four to five minutes, and then plunge right into another
bike-breakdown, "1-2-3" interval. After a second recovery, you are ready for a
final six-minute (1-2-3) interval, enough work for your first stab at the
session. Cool down with 15 minutes of light pedaling.
The BIKE BREAKDOWN works on lactate
threshold because lactate levels soar so dramat- ically within each six-minute
interval. It also boosts VO2max, mental and physical stamina, and leg strength
and power (research shows these gains in strength and power can transfer over
Best of all, unlike a hard running
workout, a BIKE-BREAKDOWN session doesn't cast a far-reaching "shadow" which
hurts muscular performance on subsequent days. Normally, most runners are ready
for good-quality running efforts, even on the day right after a BREAK- DOWN.
Over time, progress with the workout
by increasing the number of six-minute work intervals or by extending the
six-minute intervals to eight to 10 minutes. Naturally, as your fitness
improves the intensity of each sub-interval within the overall breakdown work
interval will also tend to spike upward.
Try one BIKE BREAKDOWN workout per
week for a period of about six to eight weeks. You'll be very pleased with the
Thanks to former U-T runner Shane
Smoleny for suggesting this kind of workout for runners and other endurance
athletes. Thanks also for reading this news item!
For more great
articles like this one, go to Running Research News