Spin Bike Training for Runners


Many people think that runners will neither benefit from spin biking nor will improve their running performance by working out on indoor bikes. This is not true based from the study made by researchers in the UK.

A group of runners were separated into two groups. The first group underwent rigid spin bike training while the other group continued their regular running routine. Upon several tests including six 10-second all-out running intervals, the two groups have various results. Runners who underwent the spin bike routine have better output than those who didn’t. In other words, it is clear that cross-training on spin bikes will improve your running performance.

The Benefits of Cycling

If you’re a runner and want to use a spinning bike to improve your fitness levels or don’t want to face the cold, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the top benefits of cycling to encourage you to get on the bike.

Protects Your Joints

If you’re an avid runner, you’ve likely experienced some joint pain due to poor technique or an accidental slip. Fortunately, cycling is kind on your joints, so you won’t experience any discomfort when riding the pedals. It’s a low-impact activity, so anyone can give it a try.

Improves Leg Turnover

No matter your fitness level, running involves technique and practice. Cycling improves your cadence so you can boost your leg turnover. By combining cycling and running, you’ll be able to improve your race times while increasing your overall speed.

An Excellent Way to Recover

If you’re sore after running or performed a tough workout, cycling is a great way to recover muscles and prevent a build-up of lactic acid. This low-impact exercise improves your blood flow, reduces stiffness in your joints, and flushes out toxins. As a result, you’ll be hitting the roads again quicker than you think. 

Great For Poor Weather

We appreciate those who don’t let anything stop them from exercising. But your safety should come first. If it’s heavily raining or icy outside, switch to a spin bike for an equally-challenging workout without putting yourself in danger.

Replicating Running on Spin Bikes

Meghan Kennihan, a certified cycling and running coach at Illinois, said that “bike workouts should mimic running workouts”. He meant that the main goal of runners with regards to using spin bikes is to produce the similar quick leg turnover’s cadence when running. For instance, if it takes you 180 steps per minute when running; then you need at least 90 rpm to mimic the same cadence on a spin bike.

Another way to keep your spin bike training exactly at the same level of running is by closely monitoring your heart rate. Take note that you will your heart beat faster when running than cycling. Nevertheless, cycling sprints at quick intervals will also replicate the same heart rate if done properly.

Sample Training

Low section of men and woman on exercise bikes in health club

You will need at least 35 minutes to do this training on a spin bike.

You need to begin by warming up and this requires 10 minutes. With the 10-minute warm-up, you need to dedicate two 30-second high-intensity cycling. I recommend doing it every after 4 minutes and 30 seconds of normal cycling.

After the entire 10-minute warm up, you may now go ahead to the primary training routine which will take 20 minutes. Begin the set with 1 minute of high-intensity cycling followed by another minute of easy cycling to serve as your recovery period. Do this 10 times each which is equivalent to 10 minutes of high-intensity cycling and 10 minutes of easy cycling. In other words, you will perform a 20-minute workout of alternate hard and easy cycling.

After the 20-minute workout, give your body enough time to cool down by normally cycling for another 5 minutes. Hence, this sample spin bike routine for runners gives you a total of 35 minutes.

Keep in mind that cross-training on spin bikes is not only to replicate running. It can also be used to maintain your body condition even when injured. In fact, physicians recommend that injured runners train on spin bikes to maintain their running efficiency.

A typical spin bike training for injured runners may take one to two months. The recovery training includes at least 45 to 60 minutes of cycling intervals and 60 to 120 minutes of endurance cycling every week. In other words, runners have no reason to set aside their training even when injured since they can always train on spin bikes.

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