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Running in the offseason - cover page story

Just thought I would start a discussion on this as the choices listed in the survey question in the article have no options that fit me.  I was nothing but a cyclist (road, mtn, cross) for 13 years and never ran, though I did have a track background from middle and high school.  When kids came along, and I got sick of just cycling events, I started running and doing triathlons.  I ran an average of 3 times per week with cycling and swimming mixed in for the past 5 years, then I realized how much I hate swimming.  I have done 1/2 marathons, 5k's, and distances in between.  This year I have given up swimming and plan on a summer of trail races, anywhere from 5K to 1/2 marathon, and some mtn bike races thrown in and then cross in the Fall.  I have upped my running to 5 days a week with most of my runs about 4 miles long and one longer run on trails to work up to the 1/2 marathon in July.  I then try to ride 3 times a week right now and will switch the difference between running and biking as mid Agust rolls around.  I know I am the exception, rather than the rule, when it comes to guys doing cross, but I will state that I have no issues with any of the running sections in races and view it as an advantage for me.  My heart rate does not shoot up and I feel comfortable while doing it.  Just wondering how others of you view/plan/structure running into your routine.

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My background is that I was a competitive distance runner from middle school through collegiate cross country and then I converted to bike racing (cyclocross, MT and road).  I more or less quit running entirely but enjoyed the benefits of a huge base for years after quitting. 

While training for running I did a good amount of cross training on the road bike and here is what I found. 

(1) I was always good for an hour of high intensity steady threshold riding, but dropped off like a rock after that, I attributed that too the average time training and never using mid run nutrition. 

(2) When I was running higher mileage with a lot of intervals I got really light and lost peak power for riding.  This is pretty extreme as you are talking about 70+ miles/week running and high intensity.  My racing weight running was high 120's where as cycling it is in the low to mid 140's.

(3) The intensity and continuity of running are way higher than most cycling training with the except of long TT type efforts.  I would say that running 30 minutes at 6:30-7:00 miles has the same effect as riding on the road for an hour at 19-20 mph, at least for me those were recovery/filler paces.

Having the background in technical handling and knowing how to race cross with running base fitness you would be fine at most levels.  The learning curve of handling and tactics was way worse coming from running than fitness.  I think runners are really well cut out for cyclocross if they can learn to handle a bike.  The hard, no hiding and drafting style of racing is most similar to a 10k cross country race than any other discipline. 

From a training perspective I would keep the short to midrange higher intensity running efforts (30-60 min) while getting a longer ride day in (3 hours) and a training race or interval bike workout day.  As long as your shorter runs aren't suffering I would ditch the long run because the long slow distance doesn't do much for cyclocross. 


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