On an adventure trip to New Zealand, a group of us backpacked and toured around the south island in what was the most incredible time I’ve ever had in my life. For 3 weeks we slept in tents, huts, and sheep’s quarters and ate a lot of freeze dried food and ham sandwiches.
We did everything from hiking to kayaking to biking. On the hiking and kayaking part I was able to speed to the head of the group. But the day we got on a bike, not only was I at the back of the line, I was really struggling to even keep up. So the answer to the question is that they are just different. And require different muscles.
Running or biking – which is better?
Cross training with biking will probably make you a better runner. Many runners only turn to biking after they’ve been injured. They want to keep up by doing something and aren’t able to run. The muscles you use biking will actually compliment the ones you use running.
With the constant impact of running, your body could use a break now and then. Runners who log in high mileage every week put an awful lot of strain on their knees, hips and ankles. The bodies of marathoners and high mileage every day runners sustain a lot of pounding, which could be substituted with some biking.
Cycling gives you a good workout, but with out the impact. Try a hard bike ride followed by a short and easy run. It will seem harder after the bike ride, but without the constant pounding. I tried this after the NZ bike ride and found that I could barely make a mile.
With anything, it’s good to shake it up occasionally. Try regular biking, mountain biking, stationary biking, regular running, hiking, trail running, etc. Keep it creative!