By Jessica Girdwain on June 12, 2014 Featured Article -SPRY LIVING
Without a doubt, both running and cycling are great heart-pumping, calorie-scorching workouts. And as long as you’re getting your body moving on most days of the week—whether that’s hopping on a spin bike, lacing up your sneakers, or even taking your dog out for a walk—that’s a win. But which activity is better for fat loss—biking or running? For bones? For injury prevention? The answer: It depends. Both biking or running deliver unique health benefits, studies suggest. Find out how they stack up in four key areas:
When done at the same intensity, running burns more fat compared to cycling, according to a small study in people who were well trained in the respective sports, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Running may recruit larger muscle groups and more muscle fibers to use up fat for energy.
Researchers at Appalachian State University compared intense cycling and running workouts, finding that long-distance runners experience more post-exercise muscle damage and inflammation compared to cyclists. One reason: cycling is a lower-impact exercise that’s easier on your body—and may be the better choice for newbies.
To keep bones strong, hoofing it on pavement might be your best option. In a group of healthy adult men, cyclists were 7 times more likely to have osteopenia of the spine (a condition that increases fracture risk) than runners, found a 2007 study from University of Missouri, Columbia researchers. Running creates a load on bones that strengthens them in the process.
Does working out make you hungrier? Turns out, it actually decreases your appetite, according to a 2012 UK study. Researchers looked at the hunger hormone concentrations of men after cycling or running. Hunger levels didn’t differ between the two sports—in fact, exercising lowered appetite in both.
It’s a tie! Though it looks like running has the edge, both have their perks. Beginners new to a fitness routine might want to start out with biking, whereas running might be more effective if you’re looking to lose weight. The best option, though, is to fit both into your workout routine. You’ll slim down and reduce your risk of injury at the same time. Now get out there!
A very nice and essentially free amenity is to offer pace groups. Your runners will initially (let me explain later why I say initially) love this. It shows that you are not just some stingy race director, focused on collecting a big entry fee and not re-investing into a quality event.
But it will also help you manage your starting line. First, you can place the pace groups strategically at the starting area. Using signage, bright shirts on the pacers and other means of identification, participants will line up accordingly. Even if someone is not looking to follow the 8:15 pace group, they will also not want to go out to fast (or to slow).
So they will likely line up within that group, knowing that after a mile or two, they will run their own race. This will greatly help reduce congestion at the start. And equally important, it will keep slower runners towards the back and not clog up the faster runners.
Now let me explain why I said your runners will love this initially. The key is finding good pace groups. Someone who says they can run a 40 minute five mile race should not necessarily qualify as the 8:00 pace group leader. What if they run 8:30 pace for the first four miles, then hammer the final mile coming in at 40 minutes exactly? That's not 8:00 pace. For pace groups, pace is measured by mile, not the overall average.
So where do you find such people? Try local running clubs, or even better some local semi-elite clubs. And ask them to lead a group below their personal best. Don't ask a runner with a 35 minute personal best for 5 miles to lead the 7 minute pace group. Instead offer them the 8:00 pace group for example.
And make sure they are given the tools during the event to be successful. Give them bright colored shirts, bright numbers, big hats, something that is easily identified during the event. Make sure they know where mile markers are located. If you don't have course clocks on each mile, then make sure they are wearing watches. And don't rely on a Garmin or some other device. A certified course will "be longer" than what a GPS device will measure.
So do some research, invest a little time, and even less money and find the right people. Your runners will love this additional and very thoughtful amenity.
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