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The last couple of months I've been doing 400m intervals for running, but haven't done any long runs yet. I have however cycled a lot, and quite intensively. I was waiting til I got some proper running shoes (got them now), but also enjoy cycling a lot.

I figured that a a sustained, high heart rate for 45-60mins - whether that be running or cycling - is going to have a similar effect. Obviously one is less weight bearing and the muscles used and their movement patterns are different, but I was thinking in terms of cardio/lungs, the effects gained are the same? Do the lungs/heart know the difference between running/cycling at X % of your max heart rate?

Like if I kept up this amount of cycling, it should also technically be improving my 5k-10k running times (joint preparation aside) should I ever run those distances, right?

Since I'm quite young, I could probably get away with running a 5k-10k without preparation, not that that's the smartest thing to do for my joints, but was just curious. My plan is mostly to cycle a lot whilst focusing on my 400m-1mile running time, however I'm thinking of testing my 5km in a local Parkrun next spring, hopefully when my 1mile PB is a lot better than it is now. I'll be interested to see how the cardio gained from cycling carries over!
 

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The cycling will no doubt be great for your cardio - as you say I can't see why exercise at the same heart rate whether it's running or cycling would produce different results cardio wise. However with running there is no substitute to time on the feet, and you need to run to build up the muscle strength and endurance needed even for shorter events like 5K and 10K.
 

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I find when cycling my legs have to work a lot harder before my heart rate reaches running levels therefore they are the first thing that gives up, but I think in turn that help with my speed and leg strength off the bike. Get some hill reps in there on the bike , that will definatley improve both cardio and legs strength/stamina.
 

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Generally agree on the above.... ok for cardio & general conditioning, but obviously not great for specificity. I have heard good things about cycling for hills & fell running as it builds the quads.
As you note it's not weight bearing so you will have to work the legs harder to get the same hr (in theory).

It amused me to read in the Furman marathon plan that cycling as cross training may not always be a good idea for runners as they have to work hard to feel the benefit & hence go faster, usually coupled with limited experience and handling skills means they get injured from falling off :p
 
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