I'm training for the Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back race next month, and I think I need to bump my efforts a little. I don't want to overtrain running, since I've got some lingering trochanteric bursitis in my right hip.

So I was thinking I'd do some rest-day cross training. I'm a cycling enthusiast, but I haven't ridden much yet this year as I've been focusing on running. Would a 15-20 mile (about an hour) bike ride on my non-running days be harmful? Or would it be a good way to stay loose and keep working on my lung capacity?

  • So today was my first morning of Cycling cross-training. It was 40-degrees and raining, so I cut my ride to 20 minutes. My hip feels much less stiff than it usually does on rest days, and I was able to get a good lung workout without feeling like I was going lactic on the legs. :)
    – alesplin
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 17:47

2 Answers 2


This is going to depend on the course you do, what gear you stay in while cycling, how severe your bursitis is, etc. It's impossible to say for sure, particularly if your bursitis was caused by injury.

All that said, my basic suggestion would be "proceed with caution". It will be important to be as light on yourself as possible. The cycling motion is going to involve your hip almost as much as the running motion does, so you'll need to be careful not to overwork the injury. Under normal circumstances I'd very much encourage it, as proper exercise helps the healing process a great deal, but if you are already training on running it's important to consider the other extreme. Rest is needed for all training to take effect. I don't wish to warn you off; if done properly, it will likely help your training regimen a good amount, help keep your injury mobile and healing, and, most importantly, be fun. But nothing is less fun than hurting yourself.

If you have access to a pool, I think a safer way to cross-train would be to swim laps or do water aerobics. This will give you the loosening, aerobic workout you're looking for without absolutely requiring your hips to be in the picture. But if you don't, cycling should be fine as long as you keep in mind that it's a rest day and muscle exhaustion is not the goal.

  • The route is mostly flat (maybe 80-100 feet total elevation change). I ride a single-speed road bike, but thanks to the flat route I never get overly cooked unless I push it.
    – alesplin
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 20:18
  • You'll probably be fine, then, especially since you sound like an experienced cyclist.
    – tmesser
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 20:19

I found the mileage for the Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back race and it doesn't seem to be as punishing as a marathon since there seems to be rest in between each leg of the race.

I know tapering before the race is important to marathoners but since this race isn't a marathon tapering will most likely not be a critical issue. See It's Taper Time for tips on tapering for shorter races.

I could interpret your description of your activity as, I am exercising every day of the week..

If this is the case, I highly suggest that you give your body (and legs!) at least one day of full rest for recovery per week.

It will ultimately fall upon you to learn how your body responds to the rest or lack of rest. Time your results and adjust your training as necessary for future races. Please come back after your race and let us know how you performed with or without the rest day! =)

Best of luck to you!

  • I don't train at all on Sundays, and I may end up doing something even lighter than cycling on Tuesdays, just to make sure I don't overtrain and aggravate my bursitis.
    – alesplin
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 17:45

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