Well..Hmm...Let's start here:
The Principle of Specificity, as defined by the American College of Sports Medicine, states, "Sports training must be relevant and appropriate to the particular sport an individual is training for in order to produce a training effect. For an athlete to become better in a specific sport or a specific skill, the athlete must perform that sport or skill."
However, most cyclists are time crunched (Myself included, you may think "Chad you are around cycling all the time!" Well I am// but if I'm commentating for 6 hours and transferring to another stage or race and doing this the entire summer, cycling takes a back seat many times). The best way to stay FIT is well..to run/jog/walk if your time on the bike is severely limited.
If you are a avid cyclist and are wondering if running helps: It does and doesn't. First of all running fitness and cycling fitness are different animals. If you are looking to be just FIT...then you can acknowledge the fact that running helps you stay fit. (I usually drop 5-7 lbs when I pick up running for 2 months)
Research indicates the running requires a greater oxygen uptake so in essence you may be a bit more "Fit" as a runner than a cyclist. The translation however, is a bit more complex. Yes, I believe you can translate some of the fitness over to cycling but to become a better cyclist, you have to be "sport specific". For example, doing hill repeats on the run won't necessarily make you a better climber on the bike. You have to get out and CLIMB on the bike. Recruit the muscles needed to get your arse up that climb. Same with sprinting, pack riding etc. NOTHING can replicate that except...well..cycling.
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"
I am sure Dr. King had so many resounding levels of complexity in his statement, but in essence for all of us..including athletes you must take that first step. Commitment? Dedication?
Fear is common in us. It's the fight or flight mentality. But, to be the best, you have to continously take the next step. The New Year has turned. Your resolutions are being taxed. You have to take that first step to commitment! Once you take that first step you are more inclined to take the second..especially if the first step was made with thoughtful, well planned intentions.
Have the faith to plan it out. Each step will become closer to a succesful journey that will yield results in sport AND out.
Lofty title I know but stay with me. Far from some facile Nietzchean "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger" notion this is a blog about cycling not philosophy (duh) and besides, the good philosopher died at 46, quite possibly of syphilis. Keep that in mind the next time you quote a pop song. Ahem.
On New Year's Day I left my house for a training ride under grey skies and a temperature of 37 degrees (lack of effort on the part of the weather gods, who apparently took the day off as well). Heading into a chilly, windy metric on a mountain bike no less, my brain told me I was probably missing the point of the holiday. Be that as it may I remembered an article passed on by fellow lunatic Mark Drogalis of Toasted Head Racing - http://toastedheadracing.wordpress.com - which is one coach's diatribe on what separates good athletes from the elite: namely one's ability to suffer.