Running: Hate the Exercise, Love the Fitness

I’m just about to purchase my 4th set of running shoes and so I thought I’d kick off a conversation about running.

Started running because I was tired of dealing with the traffic around my house during my lunchtime rides. The traffic wasn’t aggressive but insanely slow: my area is full of low speed limits and cotton tops who like to go 15km under it. Z2 rides were impossible as you were either coasting behind these cars or hammering to get around them.

The other reason was a term I heard Stephen Seiler use in one of his youtube videos: durability. He used it in the context of being able to hold certain wattages for extended periods but it struck me as a word I want to describe the purpose of my running. I’m getting older and I find if all I do is ride I feel fit but fragile. Running kind of pounds your legs into steel.

This last winter I signed up to the TrainAsOne app and have been doing a variety of long runs or intervals. My overall fitness has certainly been boosted compared to previous years. However, bike specific fitness is quite different: any efforts under 10 mintues are noticeably weaker but everything over 10 minutes is noticeably stronger. I lack that snap and pop but I can grind it out at a much higher power for longer now. That was kind of the aim but now that it is here I’m unsure if I like it.

Anyways, just thought I’d chuck this conversation out there.

Anyone else run?


I run on and off, usually when I’m getting too fat. As you say, it’s great for fitness.

Each time I begin again it’s like someone has smashed my quads with a hammer due to the much higher impact the action has on my body. That’s probably not so good for my joints, but a lot better for my core than cycling alone is. I really need to do some yoga or pilates, but I don’t.

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I probably run more than I ride, though that still doesn’t say much… Yep it smashes your legs, particularly if you haven’t been for a while. Definitely requires a more gradual ramp up than cycling to avoid injury. I got back into it in my late 30s and would regularly injure my knees by going too hard and fast. Backing off the pace and I haven’t hurt myself for a few years now thankfully.


Been running for years. Switched to a forefoot strike around maybe 2012, vastly improved my speed, recovery time, and endurance. I let my mileage vary from year to year, anywhere from 500 to 1000+ miles a year. Definitely a go-to when I need a good workout and only have a half hour.

If anyone hasn’t done it, I highly recommend getting someone like a good running store or a sports PT to do a gait analysis. A good gait makes a big difference.

(Running using a reasonable gait isn’t bad for the joints. It’s not as easy on them as cycling, but a number of studies have shown that runners’ knees are in better shape than people who don’t run. People sometimes have to give it up due to specific injuries, but the idea that running slowly wears out joints is a myth :slight_smile:


There are at least as many “studies” than clearly demonstrate that running can cause as much damage as it can benefit the knee–no myth what so ever. It isn’t necessarily the repetitive motion (but it CAN be) that causes the damage, but things (stones, irregular pavement, inattention) that causes one to stumble, often resulting in sprains, tears and other serious long term injuries. My sister was a marathon runner from high school on up to her forties, at which time her knees were just about shot–she had to have both knee joints replaced–as a direct result of running. I originally was an alpine ski racer, but after several knee injuries (ACL, etc.) have no cartilage left in the left knee–painful to walk, but impossible to run–so, not even an option for me. Rather, most folks would recommend swimming over running in order to strengthen most of the core leg (and arm) muscles, without placing any of the joints in high stress zones, as running does.

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I run easy about twice per week for a hour, which is enough to keep the legs conditioned to run, and is healthy for bone density, health and more well rounded athletic performance. Plus, it enables me to do triathlon which is fun.

Runners who injure themselves run a lot. If you run twice per week, your knees may or may not be worn by the time you reach 250 years old, but you’ll probably be too decomposed to care :wink:

I did run a marathon a two weeks ago which was not funny at all near the end, as my last distance run was a bit before Christmas. However the result wasn’t much worse compared to the time I was actually running, so apparently cycling fitness translates reasonably well.


I ran in school (the alternative was rugby, and I’m not exactly cut out for that), and then spent years of my adult life living in city centres: the thought of running on crowded, smoggy pavements never appealed, so I completely gave it up.

I only took it up again when I got to 35 and moved out to suburbia - I’m on the edge of the moors now, in nw England. I’ll run in any conditions, on any surface, though preferably not tarmac.

In actual fact, I rarely run in good conditions: if Saturday’s forecast is good and Sunday’s is bad, then I’ll ride on Saturday and run on Sunday, and vice versa. It’s essentially become my wet weather training alternative.


Macnmaze, why are you putting “studies” in quotes? Studies are real things.

If you trip over a rock while running, it’s not what I’m talking about when I say that running doesn’t ruin knees. Tripping and falling can injure a knee, sure. You can trip and fall while walking. If you want to say that walking therefore can lead to bad knees, we’re just not talking about the same thing. You can put your bike down and bust up your knee, but cycling isn’t ‘bad for knees’.

One time, in high school on a trip, I went to get off the bed and I stepped on the side of my suitcase and cut my foot on the zipper. Therefore, getting out of bed causes foot injuries :slight_smile:

What I am talking about, and I thought it was fairly clear, is the myth that running itself–not falling, not tripping, not getting bitten by a dog while running, but running itself–leads to bad knees.

Running has proactive effects against knee arthritis: Will continuing to run make my knees wear out faster? - Harvard Health.

Researchers at Stanford (in a “study”) found that “the runners’ knees were no more or less healthy than the nonrunners’ knees. And It didn’t seem to matter how much the runners ran. “We have runners who average 200 miles a year and others who average 2,000 miles a year. Their joints are the same,” says James Fries, a professor emeritus of medicine at Stanford and the leader of the research group. The study also found that runners experienced less physical disability and had a 39% lower mortality rate than the nonrunners.” : Study: Running Not so Bad for Your Joints After All - TIME.


I agree with a lot of what you all have said.

Running is work. I still don’t necesarily enjoy it (especially when compared to riding) but I like the fitness it provides given the amount of time I have and this fitness has really contributed to fun on the bike.

I started out as a heel striker, switched to forefront, but now I mix it up depending on the type of run or terrain. The thought is to build up all the muscles throughout the leg and I noticed different strikes seem to focus more on calves or quads. I’ve done some light reading to confirm this but I don’t want to take it too seriously.

At the moment I’m doing about 4 hours per week or 30 to 40km depending on what kind of sessions the app recommends. Most of it is relaxed endurance pace.

I took 3 weeks off when one of my sons brought the RSV virus home from daycare. At that point I was slapping out 14km runs at a time but started back up with 5km runs. The fitness came back quickly but I couldn’t believe how much it hurt with only 3 weeks off. So the plan is to always do a run or two to maintain the running legs.

I’ve been a periodically enthusiastic runner throughout my adult life, usually because how economical it is time-wise. I would always rather go for a ride, but life gets in the way much more easily and I don’t enjoy riding in poor conditions, whereas I’ll run in anything so long as it’s above 0°F

After not running basically since the start of the pandemic, I started easing our year and a half old puppy into runs with me last autumn. She doesn’t like to go at more than a trot and stops to sniff things a lot, but the enforced moderation is probably good for me

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I haven’t done as much running during the pandemic either, and particularly not during winters. Where in the past, like cycling, just put on more clothes and head out :slight_smile: I’m starting to get back to it seriously now, including twice weekly track workouts while the weather has been horrible. I had almost forgotten A) how much I love running intervals, and B) how much they suck, lol.

I find that running is great for for keeping your hip flexors open, since it allows your feet to move behind your hips.

Also agree that it helps with steady state fitness on the bike, the only way to really get anaerobic with running to is to run up steep hills.

Although it doesn’t train top end bike power out put specifically, I find the overall leg strength gains do help me achieve higher max output once that becomes my bike training focus.

With spring around the corner here I’ve been thinking about doing some micro bursts on the bike to get that part of the power curve back up.

With the running app I use I recently realized I need to put a race in or it puts me in a sort of maintenance mode. I just entered a 5km race and it has given me a bunch of micro intervals which should be interesting.

I’ll probably still do a bunch of these on the bike for the whole specificity thing.

As a CX racer, I normally run 2x/week from August to February. While I do get sore joints for the first few weeks (usually feet and toes), I do think a 45 minute trail run is a very good form of cross training. I don’t like running on pavement or in significant heat, though, and rarely run in the summer. I also don’t find that cycling fitness translates that well to running. Of the 3 guys I ride with semi-regularly, I can drop pretty much all of them at 90%. 2 of them run, and can drop me at more like 80%.


There is this wirey guy that shows up to my usual group ride every once in a while. He rides this beat up green aluminum Kona road bike. Super nice guy.

He doesn’t have any jump to him so when the attacks start flying he is typically dropped. However, when he decides to start pushing on the pedals he has this way of riding up to and then through the attacking group before grinding everyone on his wheel to dust.

I was chatting with him during one of the slower moments on one of these rides and he said he only rides the bike to take a break from the pounding of the running. I always thing of this guy at some point during my long slow runs as I have suffered on his wheel before watching him ride away.

Hopefully I can dish a bit of that out this year.

I’m glad you brought this up and I’ve become less cycling specific as I’ve gotten older (42 now) to improve my strength, durability, flexibility, etc. I know a number of very, very fast 40 to 50 year old’s that look and walk like a frail person unless they are on a bike. In the last few years I’ve gotten more into backcountry skiing, XC skiing, CrossFit/weights, and trail/mtn running.

Sure, I’m not as “fast” on a bike but I can do other things without worrying whether or not my muscles and bones will hold up (or just be crazy sore). And, most importantly, my posture isn’t wrecked from hunching over a bike and I know my bone density is good.


I try to run 1-2x per week 20-40 minutes per run, at a fairly steady, slow pace. I hate running, have a family history of dodgy knees, and prefer just about any other form of aerobic cross-training (erging, XC skiing, etc). When there is no immediate prospect of racing CX I often let it slide and pay for it in DOMS the next week. I think I might hate it so much because of a lifetime of hearing my running friends talking about the minutiae of their workouts (and now that I’ve started running more, lecturing me about how to do it right)… But I think there is something to be said for doing a moderate amount of it for bone density, general robustness, etc, and nothing beats it for an activity you can do with minimal time and equipment.

I’ve got some new balance extra wide shoes for running, for me running is like someone grabbing hold of your body and holding your legs and twisting them around, I also agree with other posters’ comments about what effects running does to your body, I work with some older guy who’s body/legs are deteriorating cause of it, hate it cept it’s good for 20min or less of exercise time every so often! Anything more is total masochism ;/

I had not run more than 100m for a Le Mans start at a MTB race for well over 15 years when I got invited to Parkrun. For the uninitiated, Parkrun is a weekly free 5Km community run event - held every Saturday around the world. Over the 5 years since I started doing Parkrun, I’ve spiraled into running faster 5Ks, then 10Ks and now half marathons!

I find running fast helps with holding max effort for longer periods when cycling - perhaps an element of mental and physical toughness. My legs feel tougher but unless I keep training hard on the bike too then my riding starts to slow down.

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To me it’s “hate the exercise, never do it”. If I’m late, I walk faster, but I need to run to be on time, then I’ll be late. It’s how much I dislike it (and I used to run 20 to 40 minutes every week at school, hated that already even though I wasn’t that bad ^^)