3 Ways Cycling Can Help You Recover From an Injury

A year and a half ago, I couldn’t run a mile.

But that all changed when I fell in love with running – in 2014 alone, I completed 12 races, including two-half marathons and two-triathlons.

I definitely found the “running high” that you hear about. There were weeks when I would get on a running kick and hit the pavement every day for weeks on end, going further and longer than I ever had before. As you can imagine, I was overdoing it – especially for someone’s body that wasn’t accustomed to running.

Of course, this soon turned sour for my half-marathon training, turning into weeks of chiropractic and physical therapy visits. I was frustrated, but I soon learned was that fitness can actually help you recover.

What I was missing amidst the running plan was “active rest days,” where you incorporate other sports and movements that work different parts of your body and are often lower-impact, allowing your body to rest from running.

Turns out, cycling—specifically spin—is one of the best forms of cross training (and active resting!) for runners, since it works different muscles than you use out on the trail. Here are a few great reasons why you should hop on a bike before you hit the possibility of getting injured:

Low-impact cardio
While you’re still getting an intense workout, you’re working different muscles in your legs than you usually use while running. Spinning also balances the impact from running and gives your knees a break.

Your workout, your pace
Whether you’re on the trail or in a spin class, you have complete control over the resistance and pace you go. You can push yourself as hard as you can or go for an easier ride –it’s completely up to you.


If you head to a local studio, you’ll get an insane amount of support from the instructor and fellow spinners. With the excitement in the room, loud music, and changing lights, it’s easy to give it your all and still have a successful workout. 

If you’re in San Francisco, I recommend trying out Wheel House for a fun and different workout. I recently attended their Smart Rhythm class and oh man, was it an intense workout! It’s the only spin class I’ve ever taken where we worked our arms for the entire duration of the class, not just for one song. Be prepared to be sore the next day, that’s for sure. They also have a really nice staff who gave me a tour of the facility, helped me adjust my bike. Oh, and they have free snacks available! Perfect for your post-class refueling.

Whether you’re training or recovering, try incorporating cycling into your routine when possible!



Lauren is the blogger behind Lauren Lives Healthy, an athlete’s guide to healthy living in the Bay Area – from where to eat, half marathons and triathlons to try, and delicious recipes to try at home. She’s a triathlete, half marathoner, and certified Fitness Nutrition Coach. Follow her on Instagram.