I have previously described what cyclists can learn from marathon runners. Effective use of training planning, goal setting, and tapering protocols make marathon runners look more serious in my eyes than many road cyclists. However, there are more lessons that cyclists have to learn from runners, so keep reading!
In my recent posts about VO2 max training, I have written about how well-trained athletes can benefit from strenuous VO2 max workouts. If you haven’t read the arguments yet, look at why VO2 max is crucial in road cycling.
Runners train less but have a comparable high VO2 max
The best runners and cyclists are athletes with the highest VO2 max. Thus, you would expect them to have equally high training amounts, but that is not the case for different reasons.
Runners train significantly fewer hours per week than cyclists. I guess that professional runners spend less than half the time training compared to professional cyclists competing at a similar level.
I want to emphasize that both runners and cyclists train very hard and push their bodies to the limit of what they are capable of. However, the bottom line is that runners train significantly less but still manage to perform VO2 max results similar to cyclists. Thus, runners’ training is more time effective, which is quite interesting.
What are the secrets we can learn from these time-effective runners?
It is well accepted among scientists that well-trained athletes need training intensity close to their VO2 max to secure further progress. That will say an intensity from 80% up to 100%. Most runners do a lot of intervals, speed sessions, or races at this high intensity. It should be clear to everyone that these high-intensity workouts compensate for many hours of long slow distance training (Read more about LSD Training). It is also apparent that runners train with a relatively higher intensity than cyclists on average.
I believe cyclists like runners can achieve great results with less training if they spend more time on intervals and speed sessions close to their VO2 max.